by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean

Revised - November 21, 2000


EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.




INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?



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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.


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3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3


delicate and blond. No response.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. a ranger. pale-eyed. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. OFFICE . Indians in the swamp. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. 7 INT. Nothing.MID-MORNING Tony. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. Tony waits for a response. and come to rest on a woman typing. 8 INT. Tony clears his throat into the radio. Mosquitoes land on his neck.S. whispers into his C. his nose.. watches the vehicles through binoculars.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker. his lips. ORLEAN (V.O. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. RANGER'S TRUCK . slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. gets out of the truck. they are in there for a reason. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead.. If there are Indians in the swamp. It's Susan Orlean: pale. It was after reading a small article about a white man and three Seminole men arrested with rare orchids they'd stolen out of a place called. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford. TONY We got Seminoles. TONY Barry. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. Indians do not go on swamp walks.B. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. Nothing. . in the He straightens his cap. He pulls over down the road. skinny as a stick. Tony glowers.

Uncomfortable She looks up at him.A. She looks at her salad. KAUFMAN That's. He quickly swabs. He blanches. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. it is. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. She thinks I'm fat. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . (CONTINUED) . her hair. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. looks down. We are. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. Boy. sits with Valerie. They are. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. I appreciate that. wow. She sees him seeing her watching it. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. That's nice to hear. KAUFMAN Oh. thanks. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice..MIDDAY Kaufman. 4 9 INT. Kaufman sees her watching it. She -VALERIE We think you're great. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. her breasts. Valerie watches it. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it.. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. L. She thinks I'm old. it's no fun. They pick at salads. Thank you.

I think it's a great book. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. an orchid heist movie or something.. isn't he? Kaufman nods.. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. His brow is dripping again. I'm intrigued.. great. That sounds interesting. stalling. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. KAUFMAN Oh. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. VALERIE Oh. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. I'd want to remain true to that. and also not force it into a typical movie form. Well.. sprawling New Yorker stuff. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. Like. too.. great. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. what you're saying. Plus her musings on Florida. KAUFMAN First. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of. I like to let my work evolve. VALERIE pretends not to notice. Great. I mean. Indians. flips through the book. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . orchid poaching. So. KAUFMAN Absolutely. In one motion. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character.. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means.

it didn't happen. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. It wouldn't happen. I don't want to cram in sex. or guns. It just isn't. Margaret.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. unpack boxes. Margaret turns. Valerie is quiet. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running.. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Or characters learning profound life lessons. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. fake. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. but we can't make out the words. a soulful development executive. but to me -. Audubon posters.. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. OFFICE . or car chases. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. CALIFORNIA. Life isn't like that. Y'know? The book isn't like that. I feel very strongly about this. lots of books. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. KAUFMAN Knock knock. 10 INT. I Kaufman appears in the open doorway. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. Definitely.

such an awful picture.. just wanted to say hello. Pretty fancy office. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . about flowers. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. KAUFMAN It's great. Kaufman laughs. So what's with you? man. sits on the couch. thanks. congratulate you on the promotion. KAUFMAN (smiles. Mostly with Robert? Oooh. KAUFMAN You looked great. Kaufman enters. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. God. nods) So. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. Very very cool. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. MARGARET Anyway. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. There's one you might like. Margaret sits down next to him. Take a load off. covers by talking. Come in. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. It's all so stupid. MARGARET Oh.. Margie! MARGARET Well. at the closeness.

yelling) I don't care. Cool.. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. KAUFMAN Susan MARGARET I'll read it. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. sex and drug deals and violence. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. Thanks. somebody needs to save us all. And it sounds exciting. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. You're all the recommendation I need. About orchids. MARGARET I don't care. (looking up. MARGARET Susan Orlean. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. it would be you. I dunno. Jesus. Robert. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. MARGARET You should definitely do it. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. man. (hangs up. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. . Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey.. he's scored. (presses button on phone) Andy.

12 EXT. RESTAURANT . THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. He stops. you can teach me. Russell. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. A ghost. Soon there are millions of them. Although. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. closer.MORNING Hot. a dull green root wrapped around a tree.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie.DAY SUBTITLE: THE 11 EXT. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. His eyes widen in reverent awe. begins sawing through the tree. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. miserable. MURKY POOL OF WATER . KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. dirty. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. maybe you fellas specifically. tenderly caresses the petals. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. circles the tree. The Indians ignore him. 13 INT. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. He points out a turtle on a rock. Laroche spots something else. They trudge. closer. 13 (CONTINUED) . Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. That I can't speak to. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. SWAMP . Then.

who is sitting with a frail. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. studying the inhabitants. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. He turns to his frumpy mother. I want to think differently. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. at a small turtle in an aquarium.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI.. That's nice to hear. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. show people heaven in a wildflower. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. This one. The boy returns to his search. KAUFMAN Thanks. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. ma? She nods sweetly. As Blake The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I don't want to get by on quirkiness.. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. 14 I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. It's like. But I'm ready to challenge myself. BOY Any animal at all. My stuff tends to be weird. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . anemic-looking little girl. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. listless. KAUFMAN Yeah. PET STORE (1972) .

MORNING As Laroche supervises. All I do is tell him how great you are. I'm just so pleased you liked it. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. clicks glasses. He probably hates you Randy. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. would enjoy it. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. this guy I'm seeing. KAUFMAN God. Kaufman. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. Sure. man. too. (He takes a breath) Hey. (CONTINUED) * * * . Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. 16 INT.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. I think David. of course. thrilled. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. The book is just amazing. He's a naturalist. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. SWAMP . Russell. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . Margaret raises a glass.

and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct... 16 Oh. so. anyway.. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. (to Kaufman) . then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know.. KAUFMAN He sounds great. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. right? KAUFMAN Um.. okay. He's just honest and smart.. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . kind of post-coital dreamy. I mean. MARGARET So I was lying there. He can no longer look up at Margaret. Uh-huh. (to waiter) Thanks. A bit. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel.. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business... Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. long time ago. MARGARET Well. MARGARET (cont'd) . MARGARET You'll like him. Y'know... You've read that. I'm sure you know.. a long time ago. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come The entrees arrive..

DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. recoil. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . building upon itself.NIGHT Orlean types.O. ORLEAN (V. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. the way she looks at him. her lips. small blind jellyfish collide. Her eyes.. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. 19 EXT. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . Tony tenses.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. So whereas human history spirals forward. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . but rather cyclically..MORNING Tony waits. With every fiber of his being. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. 18 INT. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER carries them to the register. 17 EXT. The radio crackles. the body language. As she rings him up. and hover. who haul the pillowcases. TROPICAL RIVER . BARNES AND NOBLE . he studies their interaction. sweaty and mosquito bitten. 20 INT.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. She pulls down her sleeve. OCEAN .. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. she expresses no interest in him.. that nature doesn't exist historically. nature. 21 EXT.

22 Schroeder fell to his death.O. you absolutely may. 23 24 OMITTED EXT.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. pleurisy..O. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. sir. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. ORLEAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff.. clutching a flower. ORLEAN (V.O. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. docks his boat. 25 EXT.. RIVER . ORLEAN (V. (CONTINUED) .) (cont'd) . Someone steps from behind a bush.) (cont'd) Laroche loved orchids but I came to believe he loved the difficulty and fatality of getting them almost as much as he loved the orchids themselves. steals his boat. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. stabs him. Laroche smiles warmly. limping.) Augustus Margary survived toothache.. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.O. CLIFF .O. rheumatism. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. The murderer sails down river.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. and dysentery.

I'm asking then. TONY You're aware that it's illegal to remove plants or animals from state owned land? LAROCHE And don't forget these plants are all endangered. nine orchid varieties. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. They give it. that's exactly the issue. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. Well. Billie. it is. Florida v.. Because he's an Indian and it's his right.. TONY Okay. TONY Exactly. This is a state But -TONY (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. one peperomia. (afterthought) Oh. what. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. LAROCHE Oh. Did I mention that? You're familiar. one of. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. sir. even though he has no idea. sir. Every one of them. Tony nods. Okay then! Let's see. LAROCHE Yes. James E. I'm sure.

they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. which. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT. ORLEAN (V. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile.O. That's exactly what we use them for. Yeah.. RENTAL CAR . RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah.. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation.. but I don't.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. the wilderness disappears before your Orlean drives past endless swampland. Yeah. ORLEAN (V. Just hold on while I. * 26 * . (into radio) Hey.. Barry. At the same time. I can't let you fellas go yet.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot.) (cont'd) . She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks. Yeah..O..) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. everything is always growing or expanding. I believe. ORLEAN (V. RUSSELL He's right. Tony looks at the Indians. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds.O.. Chickee huts..

Charles. 17 27 INT. * (CONTINUED) . I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. KAUFMAN (V.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. his identical twin brother. EMPTY HOUSE . In a time lapse sequence.O. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. die.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. I am repulsive. Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. whither. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. RIVER'S EDGE . 28 EXT." The girls giggle. my own reflection. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process.) I am 30 INT. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. then starts to weep inconsolably. you'll be glad. 29 EXT. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. regards himself glumly. DONALD (cont'd) Hey. HOTEL ROOM . and climbs the stairs. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. Two teenage girls walk by. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. the plants grow. continues down the hall.

I'll pay you back. from under his pillow. DONALD (O. I forgot. (CONTINUED) * . don't say "industry. Charles.) In theory I agree with you. okay. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. this guy knows screenwriting. DONALD (cont'd) Okay." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. buddy. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. DONALD (O.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. People come from all over to study his method. enters his bedroom. DONALD Yeah. But I'm doing it right this time.S. He gets lost in the picture. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . KAUFMAN Donald.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. clipped from a trade paper. paper back under his 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan.S. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll.

okay. you must do it this way. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .. Donald. Sorry." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. Okay. this works. There was a book -DONALD Oh. Sorry. There's definitely a flower in that. and has through all remembered time. principle says. Okay. KAUFMAN Look. my point is. I apologize. Go. I never saw it. principles. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. Getting no response. And it's not a movie. fuming. is just -DONALD Not rules. it's about flowers. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. stares at ceiling) Okay. Kaufman waits. there're no guidelines. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. and anybody who says there are.. Hey. go ahead. keep going. McKee writes: "A rule says. not building a model airplane. Donald stares at the ceiling. And a writer should always have that goal. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. Writing is a journey into the unknown. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. (lies what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. So.

a conditional and conditioning. 32A INT. He puts the book down.. The Indians lean against their car... 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. 32 INT.. Kaufman's head is spinning. my friend. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. and what we have here. LIBRARY . Lots of sweating. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. GIRL Bye. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . bored and smoking.. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. LAROCHE . Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. He says good-bye and walks happily away. puffs out her cheeks. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch. an opposited. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. because posited. The pillowcases have been emptied. Are you a former Fulbright scholar. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. sheriff..) (CONT'D) Each being SWAMP .O. They seem to be enjoying Donald. is . A guy sprinkles water on them. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window.DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers...LATE MORNING Ranger. uniformed people. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 .

DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. you really know your plants. So. Bug spray. I do. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. What I really came for. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. (CONTINUED) . Mr. KAUFMAN Yeah.S. the ghost KAUFMAN Hi. EMPTY KITCHEN . Tem-pen-sis. y'know. KAUFMAN I can do that. Laroche. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. Two Catopsi Floribunda. A very good haul. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. except in your swamp. 35A INT. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. let's see. LAROCHE Yeah. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful.

so you won't be able to see the snakes.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. You'll be trudging through acidic.O. So a strong boot. looks over at Donald. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. ancient family of perennial plants with. With Deet. gray could. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. thighhigh water. And the water's black. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. Donald. heavy pants. EMPTY DINING ROOM . fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. Long sleeves. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. DONALD (V. Mosquito netting. Donald lies on the floor. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. Heavy. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find.. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. buzzing.. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators.) The most memorable. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . Okay. Kaufman. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. something they won't easily bite through.

) Do not proliferate characters. And. And you'll see.. mom's paying for the seminar.O.. he's Charlie's twin.O. space." KAUFMAN Hey. I hear she's really good with structure." DONALD Sorry. RENTAL CAR .. Charles. she loved my. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah. past prefab housing.) The Orchidaceae is a large.. Rather than hopscotching through time. okay? The two glare at each other. you 37 * * * * * . and.O. Anyway. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way.. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch. I'm really gonna write this. DONALD (V... THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation. ORLEAN (V. DONALD You think you're so superior. maybe you and mom could collaborate. do not multiply locations. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. Well. telling of my story to her. and people. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world.. They go back to their books. ancient family of perennial plants with. Anyway. 37 INT..

pg. This is John Laroche. and a Hawaiian shirt. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. is on the stand. He turns to his typewriter. (stops.) We open on State Road 29. COURT ROOM . the tribe's lawyer. Thank you. This is laboratory work. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. 24 38 INT. (stops. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. EMPTY BEDROOM . questions him. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. sits in the back. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. Alan Lerner. Laroche. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. I have extensive experience with orchids. KAUFMAN (V. Mr. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. 39 INT. I'm a published author.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay.DAY The proceedings are in progress. not at all like your nursery work.O. I'm a professional plant lecturer. Orlean hurries in. . Laroche. both in magazine and book form. LERNER Finally. thinks. types) A white van appears from around a curve.

looks up at the closed door. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Kaufman. EMPTY BEDROOM . there's this serial killer. Even though he's never even met her. 41 INT. KAUFMAN God damn it. She becomes. like the Holy Grail. the unattainable. (flicks on light.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. She catches him and smiles with red. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. wet. What?! The door opens. I'm just trying to do something. you wanna hear my pitch. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. Cool. then in pitch mode:) Okay. BARNES AND NOBLE . She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. 25 40 INT. Kaufman squints at his brother. And he's taunting the cop. and in the process he falls in love with her. man. right -Kaufman groans. he's being hunted by a cop. stares at the ceiling. thanks a lot. like. sits up. wait. DONALD (lost) Y'know. in bed masturbating. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. See. pierced lips. 41 DONALD Look. or what? Go away. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. lies down. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. DONALD (CONT'D) No. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows.

is multiple personality. (CONTINUED) * . Okay? See. how could you have someone held prisoner in a basement and working in a police station at the same time? DONALD Trick photography? KAUFMAN Okay. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut.. I really liked Dressed to Kill. Sybil meets... Okay? How could you. Donald waits blankly. See.. DONALD (calling after) Cool.. I dunno.) That's not how it's pronounced. in the reality of this movie. that's not what I'm asking. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. Listen he's really also the cop and the girl. KAUFMAN (O.. Very taut. right?.. there's no way to write this.. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom.. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits.. if there's only one character.. What exactly would the. Did you consider that? I mean. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay. gets out of bed. proud. until the third act denouement. but there's a twist. Kaufman gives up. KAUFMAN The other thing is. Kaufman dresses and exits. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder.S. what I'm asking is. Dressed to Kill.

Laroche cracks his neck. yes. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. smokes furiously. EXT. Vinson shrugs. follows Buster. and Buster Baxley. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. 42 * 41 Oh. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. the New Yorker. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. I handled it. Laroche scowls. stubs his cigarette. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. I swear to God. Vinson. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. Laroche? Orlean smiles. COURTHOUSE . Orlean tries some more. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. ORLEAN Mr. Right? ORLEAN Right. 42 Okay. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . for crying out loud. Lerner walks off. walks away. They're all smoking intently. apologetic for the intrusion. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. LERNER Buster. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. The New Yorker. we'll deal with all this at

pg. 28
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42

pg. 29
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44

He flinches at his lameness.

ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45

* * * *

It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.



pg. 30
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47

* * * * *

LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *


ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. posture of al dente spaghetti. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. yeah. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. pulls out a notebook. that he might want to watch the road. Florida can't touch us. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. And that's the ghost. with a small jerk of the head. As long as I don't touch the plants. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. Orlean smiles back." Uh-huh. Orlean writes. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. LAROCHE The plan was. I researched it. steers with knees as he lights another. Collectors covet what is not available. and make the Seminoles a shitload of sell 'em. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. Uh-huh. He doesn't take the hint." * (CONTINUED) . Laroche clams up. She's writing: "skinny as a stick." Laroche looks over and smiles. Orlean tries to figure a way in.

pg. 32
49 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE (cont'd) And I stop future poaching by making the flowers readily available in stores. Then I give a big speech at the trial about how the legislature should get rid of loopholes smart people like me can find. I'm a hero. The flowers are saved. Laroche and nature win. Orlean writes: "guy is priceless." LAROCHE (cont'd) Did you get that last part? ORLEAN Yes, of course. 50-52 OMITTED 52A INT. 7 1/2 FLOOR SET - MORNING 50-52 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They nod * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) 49

The set from Being John Malkovich. Crew people bustle about, bending down as they enter the squat set. No one pays any attention to Kaufman, who stands by himself to the side. Donald is at the craft service table, picking at food. Caroline, a pretty, young make-up woman, stops by the table. Kaufman watches nervously as Donald eyes her. Finally Donald says something to her. She looks over, says something back. It's too far away to hear the conversation. Donald says something else and Caroline laughs. The conversation warms up. Kaufman can't believe his eyes. The assistant director appears in the hall. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Scene 23 up next! All keys to set! Catherine Keener and John Cusack pass Kaufman. perfunctorily. Hey. KAUFMAN

Cusack enters the hallway set. I'm fat. KAUFMAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I'm old --

Keener sees Caroline, who's still chatting with Donald. KEENER (playfully) Caroline, c'mon, jeez. movie here. Let's go!

We're shooting a Let's go!

pg. 33
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

KAUFMAN Please don't hit on crew members, Donald. DONALD No, Caroline's a really nice girl. KAUFMAN Just don't embarrass me. Okay? to work with these people. I have

DONALD I won't. Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry! For my script! Ha ha! KAUFMAN I really don't write that kind of stuff. DONALD Oh, man, please. You're the genius. Kaufman stares at Donald, rubs his eyes, sighs. KAUFMAN Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks of his victims' bodies until they die. He calls him "The Deconstructionist." DONALD That's kinda good. I like that.

KAUFMAN See, I was kidding, Donald. DONALD Oh, okay. Sorry. You got me! Ha-ha. Do you mind if I use it, though?


pg. 34


INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead



INT. LIVING ROOM (1972) - CONTINUOUS The boy comes downstairs. His father, in a backbrace, watches TV; his sister lies on the couch, semi-conscious, more pale than before. His mother pats the girl's head with a damp cloth. There's a little Hindu altar with candles. MOTHER Therefore over the inevitable/Thou shouldst not grieve. (beat) Sweet, sweet Diane. The boy surveys the sad scene. His mother looks up, smiles.

54 *

MOTHER (CONT'D) A slice of pie for my turtle expert? The boy beams with pride, then gets solemn. BOY Mom, there's something I feel I have to do. I don't know how to do this, but I feel in my stomach that I have to. MOTHER What do you have to do, honey? BOY Collect one of every turtle in the world. (beat) It's a long list, ma. Cuora galbinifrons, Graptemys versa, Callagur borneoensis, all the Galapagos species, people think there's only one, but that's not true. Cycloderma frenatum, Cuora pani... (sighs) I don't think my life is worth living if I can't do this. The boy and his mother look at each other. (CONTINUED)

. Collected the shit out of 'em. 55 INT. ORLEAN So. Orlean studies him for a moment. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. They drive in silence. ORLEAN Wow. that's some story. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. huh. She underlines it. VAN . her sad eyes wet and glistening. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. I lost interest right after that. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. Oh. The tape recorder is on between them.. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. baby? The boy nods his head Laroche drives. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . solemnly nodding his head. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. Perhaps you read about us. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. Orlean watches a flying heron. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. we'd better get started. * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors.

I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. I once fell KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. (beat) No.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. Kaufman nods. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. Chaetodon capistratus. * * (CONTINUED) . The new girl I'm obsessed with. THERAPIST Uh-huh. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. profoundly in love with tropical fish. Anisotremus virginicus. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. that's how much fuck fish. 56 57 OMITTED INT. Holacanthus ciliaris. fuck fish. Then one day I say. I renounce fish. not a lot a lot. THERAPIST Red hair. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. Different woman. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. You name it.

. I washed it this morning.. Oh.... Oy. Yes. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola... ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. Orlean approaches. heart holds yours. He gently reaches out and touches it. VINSON John's not here today. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. is how I know. I'm using a new conditioner and. A few Indians are hauling plants. He's handsome. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to.DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. She's taken.. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. SEMINOLE NURSERY . Hi.. My * * * * * * . Hi. VINSON I can see your sadness. His eyes are gentle. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. His longblack hair is Anyway. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. ORLEAN Oh. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. Thank you. so... She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. right? I saw you at the courthouse.

Preferred customer. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . It cuts right through her. He's so in love. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. That sounds CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . I hope. I'm just a sweetie. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. watching Alice. 58 INT. ALICE Well. grows right on a tree branch. ain't I.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. KAUFMAN Yes. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. She winks at him. Still * Thank you. She smiles warmly. reading about orchids. It's the Indian way. hair combed. yeah. He touches her hand and heads back to work. completely present. Vinson smiles. She just stands there. Just like that. She watches him haul potted plants. immersed in the activity. muscles straining against his shirt. I am. He tenses as she comes up to him. It's not personal. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. sits nervously in a booth.

KAUFMAN I apologize. I'm impressed. so. She smiles and turns to leave. huh? Yeah. ALICE Wow. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. I'm just learning. but they're not parasites. Her warmth dissipates. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. Awkward pause. I'm sorry. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. ALICE Oh. um. Alice turns back. ALICE Well. anyway. (CONTINUED) .. KAUFMAN That's great. still smiling. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. I was also wondering. well -I'm Epiphytes grow on trees.. that's a lot. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. He beams.

NEW YORKER . watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. 60 EXT. KAUFMAN (V. The other waitress brings his pie. some in garish clothing.. like a school teacher. One species looks like a German shepherd. who pay him no mind. They are dull.MORNING Orlean.. I am old. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . copies something from her notebook onto the computer. He is sick with adoration for the women.. I have to get out of here right now. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) .. 59 INT.. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) . He forces himself to look. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign.) I am fat. ORLEAN (V. all glowing. one looks like an onion. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen.. He sweats. one looks like a gymnast.DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts.O.. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. One has eyes that dance.O. one looks like an octopus. One looks. some in subtle clothing. The other waitress looks over at him.) .) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species. He nods. Fuck the One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. ORLEAN (V. obligingly eats. personalities.O. colors. He tries to study the flowers. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. at her desk.O.

KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. a shared look. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. We see the history of architecture. admiring a view. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. religion. eating meat. We see Alice serving food. We see old age and birth. * 63 * * * .O. We see murder and procreation. He quickly shifts back to her face. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. I don't need to know them at all.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. commerce. The entire sequence takes two minutes. He does it fast and unintentionally. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. A million women walking down the street. love them madly. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. war. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . I don't need to know what their jobs is. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. 63 INT. The way I like them. Those love them. an arm slipped through an arm. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. smiling at

EMPTY BEDROOM . fish. Look at me. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. He finds The Portable Darwin. SHOW HALL . 42 64 INT. plastic clowns. it takes over your life. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. etc. Uh-huh. fondles its petals. DARWIN (V. 66 INT.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. BOOK-LINED STUDY . ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. It's all I think about. mirror resilvering. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. into which life was first breathed. ORLEAN I don't know. Kaufman paces and reads. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. You'll see. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. 66 . LAROCHE Once you get the sickness.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. 65 INT. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel.O.) Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form. Noisy chatter and calliope music.

It finds an orchid which it resembles. EMPTY BEDROOM .NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. This isn't a pissing contest. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. LAROCHE ( LAROCHE (V. Silence.O. thinking.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. The flower insists.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. the world lives.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. Then.. Neither understands the significance of this interaction.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. 67 * 68 68 EXT. Think about it. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. sure enough. by the way -. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. KAUFMAN We start before life. SHOW HALL . MEADOW . Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. this passion. Suddenly. But because of it. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. 69 EXT. All is silent. Everyone thought he was a loon. Crowds. 43 67 INT. like a lover. is so much larger than either of them.DAY Blasting music. And this attraction.proboscis means nose. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it.

you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. Once you learn anything about orchids. FEMALE GUEST Oh. flies away. It's unexpected.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. Right. You're supposed to.O.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. She is detached here as well. Orlean looks at Laroche. SHOW HALL . It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. (CONTINUED) . buzzing around flowers. jabber passionately. One of those trailer guys. stare deep into nectaries. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. 70 INT. carry boxes of plants. carries it off. You have to. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. that's a great detail. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. covered in pollen. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT. HUSBAND He's a great character. Orlean nods. covered with pollen. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. not too educated. APARTMENT .) (cont'd) The insect. No front

but there's a terrible distance between them. ORLEAN (V. but his voice goes under. who get obsessed with these.) . but it isn't part of my constitution. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So. Susie gets to do a natural history thing.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion.O. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM . As the words appear on her screen. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) .O. NEW YORKER OFFICES . HUSBAND (O... Orlean cries and types.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking. They smile at each other. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking..O. which she BATHROOM ..O.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder.) What is it about people who collect.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants. ORLEAN (V. He's a sweaty mess.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. we hear them in voice-over. 74 INT. ORLEAN (V. 72 INT..EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk. 73 INT.S. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom.

46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . so we must find our originality within that genre.. hunting. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. presses "play. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. And the movie begins. farming. then. too. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. lust. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. No response from Kaufman. Charles. we have to realize we all write in a genre. into the night. evolved. after the history of life on the planet. heaving with excitement. Yearning. adapted. we see the whole of human history: tool-making.. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. Then. religion. in the last seconds of the montage. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. just like you! But he says." As he listens. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. He's all for originality. He rewinds the recorder. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . Donald waits for a response. This has never been attempted in a movie before. See. It breaks every rule. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. You'd love him. war. All is

EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. stare into space. to admire my plants. She was beautiful. CUSTOMER #1 John. LAROCHE (V. From Peru. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . browse. then types. sits sadly for a moment. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. Laura was such a class act. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. LAROCHE (V. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter.O. Through an open door. One guy pulls Laroche aside. We opened a nursery.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions.) People started coming out of the woodwork. NURSERY . CUSTOMER #1 It's a Say. to admire me.O. ORLEAN'S STUDY . John. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum.) I got married. too. 47 76 INT. to ask me stuff. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. my wife.

For a person.NIGHT Laroche drives. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. She waves it's easier for plants.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. ORLEAN Well. People can't sometimes. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. AGENT'S OFFICE . (CONTINUED) . his full head of hair. maybe I can help. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. Marty smiles at him. 88 INT. they have no memory. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. Hey. Orlean looks at him. Kaufman looks at Marty. VAN . keeps walking. it's almost shameful to adapt. It's like running away. Adaptation is a profound process. After a long silence. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. Orlean looks out at the dark night. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. 89 INT. They just move on to what's next. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. I should've just stuck with my own stuff.

I can't structure this. No one in town can make up a crazy story like KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time. I wanted to grow as a writer. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -.. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. The book has no story. MARTY Look. The book's a jumping off point.. MARTY Make one up. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. He's funny. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. It's someone else's material. You're the king. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * .. I have a responsibility. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers." Blah blah blah. Oh man." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know. Show people how amazing flowers are. do something profound and simple.. Anyway. (uncertain) I think they are. "No narrative really unites these passages." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review.

After a few moments. smoking and ranting at Orlean. He reads the page.." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. I think it would be a terrible career move.DAY A crowd of people. Reporters talk to video cameras. The judge is a moron. alone in bed. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. He lies there. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. at the end of the day. 89B The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. at his car. Buster. EMPTY BEDROOM . talks to reporters. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. KAUFMAN (V. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. 89A INT. ejaculates. (CONTINUED) ..DAY Kaufman. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. MARTY Charlie. COURTHOUSE .

Orlean. So that's what we got 'em on. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. I love to mutate plants. what with the protection the Native Americans have. Okay. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. who I found so maddening. we open with Laroche. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. he says. They were nailed on a technicality. 89C INT. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary Indians.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. The rapid fire click-click of typing. especially Laroche. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . He's funny. It was all so maddening. ORLEAN Hence the branches.O. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. A park official is being interviewed. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. KAUFMAN (V. RESTAURANT .) Okay. not even the goddamned Indians. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. flowers. goddamned Indians. the trial. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. She sips iced tea. Please don't put in I said. Nobody's allowed to take those.

Enthusiastic off-screen typing. Just thought I could get some more info. (CONTINUED) . opens it.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem.O. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. reads. we have the court case. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. okay. EMPTY BEDROOM .O.. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. They had to confront what a dark.. ORLEAN Oh. Okay. that's why I'm so smart. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .pg. we show flowers. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. he says. overabundant place might have hidden in it. ORLEAN Ah. 92 93 OMITTED INT. papers coffee cups.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. I don't mean to bother you. Orlean is silent for a moment. dense.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. okay -91 INT.. How about you? Nothing. ORLEAN (V. Okay we open at the beginning of time. We show Laroche. David's out of town. He picks up The Orchid Thief. He peers through the darkness at the I'm just hanging out. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. I was mutated as baby..that's funny. John.... 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .

Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. his mother and uncle in back. Orlean starts to tear up. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. and uncle out of the house. mother. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. Vishnu. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. Darkness descends. And all the rest of 'em. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. his front teeth fly in all directions. 94 INT. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . 95 INT. His father watches TV. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. LAROCHE It was going well. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. (CONTINUED) 95 * . ORLEAN So. This last year's been a dream. Uncle Jim. Laroche pulls into traffic. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. honey. LAROCHE'S CAR . We're finally pulling out of debt. but sometimes bad things Praise Allah. I'm telling you.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. MOTHER Amen.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. his wife in front.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. Laroche smiles back at his mother. dad? His father doesn't respond. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . then gets professional to cover. Buddha. tell me.

and the green pulp that was once plant life. adding insult to injury. 98B EXT. 96 EXT. 97 INT.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. CEMETERY .DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. LAROCHE'S STOOP . 98 EXT. 98A INT.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. I think I'd leave my She regains control and flips it down to talk. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. HOSPITAL ROOM . LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. It's like a free pass. No one can judge you if you almost died.DAY Laroche. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. in his mourning suit. too. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. Laroche. wood. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. STREET . ORLEAN If I almost died. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. (CONTINUED) . She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. stares out at the street where the accident took place. And then. on the cordless phone. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. sits by his comatose wife.

LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. She runs over and hugs him. sit. Oh. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. I wanted to do something amazing. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. sit. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. I know. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. I'm full of shit. I don't know.O. John. MARGARET (beat) Well. I understand. I knew it would break my heart to start another MARGARET You hate me. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. MARGARET (cont'd) So. an expert. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. (CONTINUED) . I can't figure out how to make it work. how's the script. beer in hand. 99 INT. I was gonna give them something amazing. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . PARTY HOUSE .) Everything. She's drunk. You don't call me no more. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. Hey. He tries to duck but she spots him. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. 98C INT. Margaret.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. I took the job. There's no story. to get their nursery going.

but. (to Kaufman) Charlie. Charlie. we should head. Boy. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. Davey. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. MARGARET Hey you. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. Cool.. this is my friend David.. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. MARGARET No.. Oh. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. Hey. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. (CONTINUED) . God bless you for trying. Man. Kaufman and David shake hands. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. A young man approaches.. Marg. DAVID No? I was fascinated. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Hey. I'll get Marg to send it to you. KAUFMAN That'd be great. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. story. It is a challenging one.

as dense as steel wool. I'm banned. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . 102 INT. but. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. hand on Margaret's ass. She kisses his ear. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. I don't know if it'll kill me. Susie-Q! LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * ORLEAN So I was thinking it'd be good for the article for me to go into the Fakahatchee to see a ghost. EMPTY BEDROOM . man. Hey. hey. dangerous. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. 100 INT. Yeah. You're the best. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. I'll have something honest to give the world.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. sits there. I'd like you to take me. but if it doesn't. put that in the article! 101 INT. Hey. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. Goddamn crucified me. And you are amazing. NEW YORKER OFFICE . 'Course. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. She dials the phone." Orlean closes the book.

DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. SWAMP .) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. I'm putting a song in. Hey. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension.O. 105 INT. alligators.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. Full of monstrous Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. AIRPLANE . Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. DONALD Charles. impracticable.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. try to think of a song about multiple personality. sweetie. ORLEAN (V. 104B INT.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. So. I'm so glad to be home. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. STUDIO APARTMENT . ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook." Donald looks up from his work. God. counted fifty and stopped. 104A EXT. AIRPLANE .

adjusts himself. Kaufman.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. probably in the world. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. SWAMP . She sighs contentedly. then goes back to her conversation. and exits the bathroom. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. The stewardess slips out of her blazer. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp.. Okay.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. 106 INT. unbuttons her blouse. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. Five or six. which is completely dry. He takes notes. RENTAL CAR . He tenses. He heads up the aisle. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT.O.. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. AIRPLANE .NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. ORLEAN (V. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. One of the stewardesses laughs. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. takes his seat. Five to six thousand years old. stands. She regards Kaufman blankly.) The swampy part of the Fakahatchee is hot and wet and buggy and full of cottonmouth snakes and diamond back rattlers and alligators and snapping turtles and poisonous plants and wild hogs and. About that. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess pulls up his pants. 107 INT.

It's about twenty miles long. it's twenty miles long. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . continues typing. HOTEL ROOM . She sighs. MIKE OWEN Well. there's usually water. four and a half. I called Laroche. We've been going through a bit of a drought. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. So. and right here it's about five miles wide.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand black water. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face. holds a phone to her ear. 120 . And I had this thought.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots.O. KAUFMAN Um. There were snakes and alligators. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. nineteen to twenty. She glances at her husband.NIGHT Orlean types.. five.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. ORLEAN (V. again.O..) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. three to five miles wide. nineteen. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. It was sweltering. ORLEAN (V. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. Good for us today. or nineteen. across the room reading a book. 120 INT.

NIGHT Orlean. Really unique. ORLEAN Thanks very much.clears throat) Jesus Christ.. * VALERIE We're big fans. PLANE . Thank you. And sad in a way. John's a character all right. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ". is on the phone. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. Laroche is such a fun character. ORLEAN Yeah.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd.) .C. KAUFMAN (V. Thank you.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief..O. 124 INT. dirty from the swamp. PULL BACK TO: 126 HOTEL ROOM . a cleared throat) You should have gone with me. thanks. VALERIE It's funny and fresh. RESTAURANT . He hi-lites the passage.'" VALERIE (O. He finds himself lost in it.) Beautifully written. fleeting and out of reach. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean.. ORLEAN Well.. (CONTINUED) . 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT.

* 126 VALERIE Y'know. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . a real affection for Laroche in her manner. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. Orlean holds on. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. (CONTINUED) . um.DAY 127 * * Laroche. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. Florida Seminole reservation. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. the nursery lot. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. VAN . ORLEAN I've got to write it first. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. ORLEAN More John. but seems to be enjoying herself now. Orlean is LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character.DAY 128 * * * EXT. we'd really like to option this. more orchids. So I'll be doing that. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. These things mostly never get made. 127 INT.

John. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. I'll study the shit out of While you write. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. Back! (hangs up) Hey. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. I'll take acting classes. yes! Yeah. TRAILER . Buster. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. shares the seat with it. Now it's "Crazy White Man. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . He waits. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number." That's a good title for the movie. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. looks at some papers on his desk. Orlean moves the junk over. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. 129 INT. Before Orlean can respond.

There are tears welling in her eyes. Laroche looks back at Buster. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. But I got it fixed. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. No. So if it's a question of productivity -. I been meaning to talk to you about that. The sprinklers were busted for a while.I got lot's of ideas.. BUSTER Listen. all they do is smoke weed all day. Her heart is breaking for him. BUSTER No kidding. I'm really excited about. Buster stares back.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. Orlean holds on. turn 'em into big ones. so all the dead shrubs. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. the guys on my crew here. humiliated in front of her. VAN He glances over at Orlean. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. sell 'em at a profit. we're not closing shop. BUSTER John. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. what she can to make herself invisible. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. Laroche stops short. Buy little ones. Buster. It's fixed.

Don't just abandon me down here.. We don't see Laroche at all. I'll sue. and anonymous. I already did some legal research on this. Look.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. Crazy.. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. empty. It rings for a long time. PHONE BOOTH .) ORLEAN . (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn.) I'm no longer interested in orchids. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT.. If they fire me. LAROCHE (O. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics.C. I'm pursuing other avenues. There is nothing on the walls. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence. Orlean dials the phone. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. Crazy White Man's bad publicity.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. The room looks sad. * . LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . And I ain't going to quit.C. it's Susan. 131 132 OMITTED INT. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. LAROCHE (O. crazy white man. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some Oooh.C.. They can't fire me.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone.

attends orchid shows. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. TEENAGE GIRL (V. so present. PHONE BOOTH . her journalist persona on. On the walls are posters of Dylan. 66 134 INT. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. 137A INT. She is bored and distracted. OHIO. how perfect. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. ORLEAN Goddamnit. There is no one to call. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. so beautiful. it's starting already. On the dresser. a tampax box. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. And I thought. She is so pure. on the floor are records and books. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. Susan. a NOW button. Orlean stands there for a moment. A blonde. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. HOTEL ROOM . sits in lecture halls. At one point. GIRL'S BEDROOM . but it's a teenager's room now. Then I cried. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. infant eyes. make-up. (CONTINUED) .O. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. lonely and She flips through her address book.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. I couldn't stop. visits nurseries. Laroche hangs up. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo.

No. 137C INT. all the Native American aspects and. Uh-huh. HOTEL BAR .A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. Vinson enters. honey. He saunters over and ORLEAN Yeah. After a long beat she dials the phone. Um. thanks for coming. how. Hey. her trembly fingers. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. anxiously gets ready to go out. The phone rings.LATER 137B Orlean. plays with her hair.. VINSON Sure thing. y'know. Y'know? Vinson watches Just.. There's Vinson's phone number. I was just fascinated with this story and. 137B INT. y'know. Yeah. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. After a few moments. um. It must've been crazy! Boy. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. She waves. HOTEL ROOM . large the scope was and. dolled-up. I'll speak to you in the morning. This should be really helpful. it might be late. eyes herself in the mirror. She sips a glass of champagne. (CONTINUED) .. Yeah. okay. what was it like for you. VINSON I don't know. hon... 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. Okay. She picks up. ORLEAN Um.. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. So. There's a silence. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. Work good? Good. Not really. Let me call you in the morning. okay.

Gosh.. look.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. typing furiously at his desk. 138 139 OMITTED INT. he seems bored and impatient. I apologize. fuck. She's shaking. He barely looks at her. no.. No. Orlean just sits there. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. if -Ah. Um. EMPTY HOUSE . to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. I just -.. ORLEAN (cont'd) . so I thought it would be helpful. Native American. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back.this seems fine. Donald. do you want to get laid or not...Did I -communicate something? No. ORLEAN Oh. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. DONALD How was Florida. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. um. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. we can talk here. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. I think we can -. Y'know.. um. ORLEAN Oh. here. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . No. for me. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there.. Orlean is at a loss. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. looks up. I just wanted to get some. She finishes her DONALD Hey.

one of the greatest screenplays ever written. 141 142 OMITTED INT." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. Kaufman disappears upstairs. his eyes darting back and forth. did exactly that. it's just good writing technique. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Okay. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. I've posted one over both our work areas. EMPTY BEDROOM . (lies down on floor) Hey. I got a song! "Happy Together. slept in a week. but Bob says Casablanca. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. Donald breaks the tension. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. Donald. smiles. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . sweating. Good night. (types. then:) Oh. EMPTY BEDROOM . He looks over at the clock. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. It's 3:32. Mixed genres. They look at each other. 140 INT. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the DONALD Cool. DONALD No.

ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. The photo smiles warmly at him. He stares at the photo. He looks at the still smiling photo. KAUFMAN (V. Focus on one thing in the story. smiling author photo.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. So true. Charlie. too. You're not. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. sad insights. Donald is no longer in the room. heaving. too many directions to go. making love. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. Kaufman flips to the glowing. begins to jerk off. flips through it.O. It seems somehow sleepy now. She smiles at him He's in love. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. Its smile broadens. (CONTINUED) . He reads one. Whittle it down. Kaufman studies her delicate. melancholy face. It talks. They finish. Kaufman switches on a lamp. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Kaufman closes his eyes. You've written a beautiful book. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. I'm losing my hair. I can't sleep.

. typing at her desk. I'm good. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. beautiful.. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now.. Morning. smiles.." Donald. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. haunted by loneliness. The killer flees on horseback with the girl.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. CAROLINE Really. delicate. really good ones. in his underwear. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. It's like a * CAROLINE God. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. skinny as a stick. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. KITCHEN . KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. hey. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. enters with Caroline. 143 INT. We hear her voice-over. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. too. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. sees Caroline with Donald. fragile. Hey. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .pg. this morning.

L.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. peasant blouse. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. She thinks. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. Bergman's Persona. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. KAUFMAN (V.A. women snicker. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. distraught. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. why am I here? She thinks. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties." 149 EXT.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. who is this man? She thinks. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . DONALD Thanks. Like technology versus horses. EMPTY BEDROOM . KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses.O. it sounds exciting. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. that's the big pay-off. EMPTY BEDROOM . STREET .pg. At him? 150 INT. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. Thanks.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. NOW button. man. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. right? DONALD Hey. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband.

73 151 INT. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. He smiles at Orlean's photo. The phone rings. and how it forever scars the little girl. It's intimate. They kiss and fall onto the new couch.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. like a marriage.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. Her drunken mother enters. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. ORLEAN Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. EMPTY BEDROOM . her mother's disappointment at life. I love that. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. It now looks warm and inviting. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. get to merge our thoughts.DAY Kaufman paces with his Kaufman is immensely pleased. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. 152 153 INT. We see the loneliness of her childhood. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. 151 * * * * 152 INT. KITCHEN . sits on young Susan's bed and cries. She kisses him on the cheek. I'm finding you. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .

. uh-huh. for me it's distracting to. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's well.... Okay? * (CONTINUED) . VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script.. KAUFMAN I think really good now. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. All color drains from Kaufman's face. before I finish. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. Great. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. So.. I'll let her know. Okay. y'know. KAUFMAN Um. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. Say I think she's a great writer. Just bugging you again. Tell her I said that. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. Good. It's Valerie.. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow.. Charlie. As she sees fit. How's everything going? Good.

155 INT. She thinks. holding his stomach. Kaufman paces frantically.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. Okay.O. Caroline. KAUFMAN (V. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. 156 INT. He smiles. mocking the seriousness of what I do.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. Kaufman storms in. It's not glowing. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. Just keep us posted.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. EMERGENCY ROOM . KAUFMAN Nice talking to you.) She thinks I'm repulsive. on the floor.O. KAUFMAN (V. Maybe it's even smirking. She looks through him. 154 INT. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. It's still smiling. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. EMPTY BEDROOM . but not at Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. sips coffee and skims a magazine. She glances over in his direction. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. doubles over. Charlie. I'm completely selfinvolved.

Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. paces. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. how's it going? 161A INT. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. It's fascinating. I am fat. Oh. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. fat. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. And I was hoping.O. Charlie Kaufman.) Movie opens. naked women adorn the walls. I'm doing pornography. HOTEL ROOM . His voice-over carpets the scene. John! . old. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. bald. I know. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM .NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. but I still haven't seen a ghost. yeah. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. I'll take you in." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. "I am old.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment.

The cassette player plays. ridiculous. DONALD I don't know what that means. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. I changed it a little. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. I wanted to thank you for your idea. EMPTY BEDROOM . But. anyway. doesn't say anything. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. Because at the end when he forces the woman. 77 162 INT. DONALD I finished my script. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. Also. who's really him. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. repugnant. like. It's. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. DONALD I don't think so. Donald appears in the doorway with a script. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. It was very helpful.NIGHT Kaufman types. he's also eating himself to DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. to eat herself. (CONTINUED) * * * . it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done.

paying little attention to the road. Because I have no idea how to write. It looks hot. The car veers onto the shoulder. Charles. CAR . Because I can't make flowers fascinating. I'm eating myself. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. That's So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. It's pathetic. That's what I have to do. It's eating itself. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. Charles. I'm pathetic. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. Orlean is tense.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. 163 164 OMITTED INT. I'm Ourobouros. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. DONALD I don't know what that word means. Because I'm pathetic. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. It's narcissistic. DONALD Hey. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. Because I suck. Oh. DONALD That's kinda weird. I'll meet her. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . I'm fat and pathetic. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. It's solipsistic. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. he lazily corrects it. You're an artist.

Laroche lights a cigarette. I never thought many people in the world were like John. LAROCHE Here we go. We couldn't find one. Laroche points to a yellow flower. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. Birds screech. y'know. Things slither past in the water. Encyclia past hopelessness. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. sun blasted. not an aberration -.most for something exceptional. Something big runs by in the distance. there it'll be. if you keep searching for something past doubt. The ground is soft. walks along. Bees. 164A EXT. rather than abide an ordinary life. I wanted to turn back. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. They sink to their knees. sweaty and anxious. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. something to pursue.DAY Kaufman. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT.O. and dragonflies hover. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. the hopeful journey through darkness into light. We walked for hours. Gnats and mosquitoes bite.) He made it sound like a Bible story. They drive in silence for a little while. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . desolate. Frogs croak. (CONTINUED) . John. even at their peril. But my mom said. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. SWAMP . So we walked. ORLEAN (V. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii.

The doors close. SWAMP . I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. Kaufman hates himself. and faces front. I'll show you every orchid you want 169 170 OMITTED INT. Not just pretty ones. studies the back of her head. scraped. Uh-huh. ELEVATOR . Kaufman is panicked. isn't it? Orlean examines it. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. NEW YORK CITY STREET . LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. Orlean looks at him blankly. 172 171 * * EXT. Orlean laughs appreciatively. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. It stops a few times. But I'm no snob. You know that. That's an ugly-ass orchid. Kaufman sweats. The doors open. The elevator arrives at the lobby. 172 Kaufman follows her. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. . I found you two already. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. Kaufman hesitates. Just follow me. Kaufman sweats. presses "lobby".DAY Orlean walks along. dirty.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. frizzed hair. Orlean gets out. I'm interested in all orchids. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. Orlean is a sweaty mess. anxious. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. This time Orlean gets on. 171 EXT. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. Nobody gets off or on. people get off and on. The elevator continues up.

Kaufman sits a few tables away. swings them wildly. 175 INT. Thanks. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. KAUFMAN (V. The waitress nods and leaves. stop.O. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. HOTEL ROOM . yanks the sheets from the bed. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. Interesting! 174 EXT.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. reading Vanity 173 Orlean sits by herself.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon.O. tries to tear them. He's frustrated. She watches him start off in one direction. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . then go in another direction. hysterical.) Reads Vanity Fair.O. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. KAUFMAN (V.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. LAROCHE We're not lost.O. 81 173 INT. He scribbles in his notebook. KAUFMAN (V. RESTAURANT . KAUFMAN (V. drinks iced tea. SWAMP . Good character details. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. He paces.

heaves. I mean. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. edgy thriller. still holding the glass. (CONTINUED) . He answers it. It's been okay. fair enough. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. Y'know. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. Um. The phone rings. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just KAUFMAN Marty. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. it's Marty. bends to pick up the broken glass. Best script I've read this year. buddy. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. Good. I have an appointment. Oh. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. KAUFMAN I gotta go. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. Two fucking talented guys in one family. don't say that.

LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. He pokes around on the ground for something. She looks at Laroche. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. I'll just set this up. He looks up at Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. We want to be heading southeast. Orlean takes a cracker. Laroche looks down at it. This relaxes Laroche. He won't look at her. amigo. Rage and panic sweep across her face. knocks over the twig. She stares at him. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. comes up with a straight twig. he puts the twig back. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. It is so. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. (CONTINUED) . 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. LAROCHE Well. Without looking at Orlean. sees her staring at him. He stretches his legs. SWAMP . Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. stares at it. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. wait a few minutes. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. her fists clench into balls.

MORNING Kaufman wanders. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. some dark fantasy plays out in her I am repulsive. fuck the sundial.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. balding. Out of here. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. look.) I am fat.O. I am old. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. Whenever everything's killing me. He eyes other sad-looking. screw it. Orlean is stony. fat. I just say to myself. . KAUFMAN (V. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. I am just one more old. overweight men wandering the streets also. SWAMP . The thing I like is that I'm immersed in it but it's not a living thing that's going to leave or die or something. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. Laroche seems unaware. There's a sadness. and go straight ahead. 179 EXT. can't write. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . I mean. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. bald man on the street. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. logically. They rise. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal.

O. 85 180 EXT. a mic clipped to his lapel. I am worthless. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. (CONTINUED) * . First.. walks toward it. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. I have sold out. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. Kaufman waits in line. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. KAUFMAN (V. last. I am panicked. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. LOBBY . I am fat.) I have failed. NYC STREET . The audience what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. * * MCKEE So. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. except for Kaufman who looks pained.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. and always the imperative is too tell a story. I. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. I am fat.. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. KAUFMAN (V. 182 INT.) I am pathetic. 182 McKee paces the stage with MCKEE Years from now you'll be standing around a posh cocktail party congratulating yourself on how you spent an entire weekend locked in a room with an asshole from Hollywood for your art.O. I am a loser. glowing in the sun. AUDITORIUM ..

* * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid." writes the guy on the other side. Kaufman sweats.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . (CONTINUED) . and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. I should leave here right now. Easy answers.O. my friends. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing.. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new.) It is my weakness. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told.. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. "Flaccid. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. sloppy writing. Well. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. The audience members take copious notes.. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. 183 INT. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. Kaufman looks up. And here I am. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. Aristotle said. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a the result is decadence. AUDITORIUM . "Any idiot." writes the guy on one side of him.. (deadpan) Well. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. KAUFMAN (V... startled. McKee seems to watching him. when storytelling goes bad in a society. just look around you. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here.

A long speech in a script. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. Look at the second hand on your watch as it makes one complete rotation around the clock face and you'll get an idea of how intolerable that would be for an audience. Writers are not tape recorders. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. AUDITORIUM .who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. AUDITORIUM . We are not recreating life on the screen. energetic as ever. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid.the rapid exchange of Now Kaufman takes serious notes. say a page long. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. There's not a person in this world -. 184 EXT. NYC STREET . His face is troubled. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. Real people are not interesting. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. Kaufman wanders by himself. There is no sound.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. one hour for lunch.and I include myself in this -. holding a cup of coffee.LATER 185 186 * It's late. And that's an important point. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. McKee. but still attentive. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . The audience is tired. 185 186 OMITTED INT. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience.

HOTEL . Aristotle rises to stretch.MORNING he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. where people don't change. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. He walks around the table. He turns. collapsing it. then. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. Kaufman. sits in the back. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. AUDITORIUM . The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . bleary-eyed. with dark circles under his eyes. That's it for tonight. sips his coffee. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. giggles a little. Kaufman can't get out of the way. 190 INT. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. Remember. Out of nowhere. A violent fight ensues. It's silent and tense. they don't have any epiphanies. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. 188 INT. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. Darwin flies face forward into the card table.

okay.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. carrying his brown leather bag. then Nice to see you. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. leaning against the building. right. thanks. you'll bore your audience to tears. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. 191 EXT. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. A shaky. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. tired Kaufman approaches him. McKee emerges. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. Mr. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. MCKEE Oh. (CONTINUED) . Kaufman waits. NYC STREET .

I don't meet people well. Please. 192 EXT. 193 INT.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. MCKEE I'm sorry. all the way to the road. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. BAR .O. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. my friend. There's a pause. It's about my choices as a human being. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't SWAMP . far down the diagonal of the levee. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . MCKEE I could use a drink.O. my even standing here is very scary. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. ORLEAN (V. McKee. Soon there is silence.. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. KAUFMAN Mr..) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. McKee hesitates for a moment. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices... ORLEAN (V. we could see the gleam of a fender. Kaufman closes the book. and there.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon.O. looking only straight ahead. ORLEAN (V. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. KAUFMAN .

but wow them at the end. Do that and you'll be fine. McKee sips his beer. (CONTINUED) . I wanted to present it simply. I can't go back. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. My twin brother Donald. You can have an uninvolving. (beat) That's not a movie. The last act makes the film. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. It's about disappointment. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. acts. He's the one who got me to come. tedious * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. McKee recognizes his bulk. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. Kaufman hugs him. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. eyes Kaufman. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. and you've got a hit. I'm way past my deadline. Find an ending. MCKEE (disappointed) I see.

As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. Caroline giggles in the background. 195 INT. dials the phone. sits at his desk and writes. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written.NIGHT McKee. Listen. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. like Darwin before him. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. MCKEE (V. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall.O. He rubs his temples.who wrote Casablanca were twins. 196A Julius and Philip Epstein.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. tries to read Story. 196 INT.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. (CONTINUED) . how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. HOTEL ROOM . 194 INT. HOTEL ROOM .) Climax. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. Donald. MCKEE'S OFFICE . KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class.

maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. taking this all in. (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. Donald. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. Donald.. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. It's been a wild ride. HOTEL ROOM . KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. and Donald laugh. please. KAUFMAN Yeah. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. You should hang out with her. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. I've been thinking. long moment. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. tipsy) Oh. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. DONALD C'mon. Caroline. KEENER (O.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. Um. (CONTINUED) . high-sixes against a mill-five. 196B INT. We're playing Boggle. look. please.C. like. She's great..

Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. Just for fun. KAUFMAN Good. Okay. The great Donald. Charles. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . if you like. like. Kaufman paces. So. We're different talents. I -- DONALD Hey. I'm thinking. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. subtext. KAUFMAN I was trying something. Y'know. KAUFMAN So.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. Y'know. Like what? DONALD I don't know. It's funny. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. is quiet. man. too. HOTEL ROOM . I don't mind. huh? Sorry. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. Donald finishes. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. Maybe you could read it. KAUFMAN I

KAUFMAN I don't know. KAUFMAN Really. (CONTINUED) .. but. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. I have a reputation to maintain. KAUFMAN For God's sake. it's just a DONALD Is she? I mean. You're reaching. yes. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. You can't be an asshole. DONALD Pretend I'm you. You can't be a goofball. To know her. DONALD Maybe. look. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. and the flower is so marvelous you can't believe there was a time all you saw in front of you was a paper ball and a glass of water. she said she didn't care about flowers. I can't.." (looks up) First of all. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. Someone's got to talk to her. (picks up Orchid Thief. of course she's that. I'll go. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. That's inconsistent. Charles.

"You know. 198 INT. In the subtext. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . He said. mumbles under his breath. But the relationship ends when the book ends. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. I get to have people think I'm you. Don't laugh how you laugh. (CONTINUED) * * * * ." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. I was very interested in everything he had to say. sits across from her. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. DONALD So. you could become a pretty good writer. Thanks. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. if you write a couple more books. No bad jokes. I mean. doing his best serious writer impression. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to By definition. dressed as Charlie. Donald scribbles. No flirting. Donald. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. You spend a lot of time together.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. It's an honor. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now.

I have an idea. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage.. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. Okay. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. ORLEAN I'd have to say. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Very good.. Too right. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. dressed as Charlie. HOTEL ROOM . She's That's a prepackaged answer. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. enters. 199 Donald * * * INT. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. Charles.DAY Kaufman paces. stares out the window. living or dead. She said all the right things. watches TV. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. just one more question. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. Einstein or Jesus. DONALD She was nervous.

KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. I do. Let's go. KAUFMAN Well. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. (CONTINUED) 201 . A conversation ensues. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. want to be doing this. and sings and dances around Kaufman. who just stares at him. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. Orlean waits as the phone rings. window with binoculars. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES .pg.S. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer.) She's upset.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. picks up a pen. DONALD (O. She closes her office door. Leave. holds it like a microphone. Sadly. (talking) C'mon. becoming more and more agitated.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . KAUFMAN Let's go.

Leave her alone. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. who watches through binoculars.S. my friend. DONALD Anyway. I'm gonna look at it. Research." 203 INT. DONALD United to Miami. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. Tomorrow morning. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. She hung up the phone. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. Orlean looks out her window. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. She's at her computer. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. HOTEL ROOM . Heh I thought she was done with Laroche. 202 She starts to cry. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. Don't tell my old lady.) Stop watching her. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . 202 * 201 INT. DONALD She's crying. DONALD That was no parent phone call. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. Donald.

CAR . in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. no. goes over to the computer. Forget it. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. incredulously at it.LATER 206 Donald follows.A BIT LATER Donald drives. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. SUBURBAN STREET . Donald behind the wheel. baby. gets out. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. The beat-up white van pulls up. middle-class house. 204 INT. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. guess what? We're going to Miami. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. DONALD I'll get a closer look. (CONTINUED) * . keeping up with the van. Orlean gets in. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. 206 EXT. the van speeds off. Told ya. posed but awkward. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. which speeds and swerves through traffic. naked photo of Orlean.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. KAUFMAN I said. No. DONALD I said. C'mere. oh yeah. Kaufman and Donald drive by. Hey. You wait here. 205 INT. Kaufman is sweaty. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. Donald parks up the street. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. RENTAL CAR .

drags him into the house. bro. DONALD Go for it. looks in. You the man. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. oblivious.. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row I should go. Wrong house. Donald gets Kaufman's script. Laroche glances at the window. undressing each other. peruses house. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . in..CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. Orlean. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. The chair slides across the floor. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. Orlean studies Kaufman. kissing. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. HOUSE . tips over. snorts some lines of green powder.. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth.. Kaufman gets out of the car.. right? I mean. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. How did he find me. I mean. ORLEAN Who's that. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house.S. He adjusts them. He slinks around back. Orlean pulls away giggling. 207 INT. nobody. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. locks eyes with Kaufman. There's movement in a window in ducks. crawls to the coffee table. have slipped. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. it should be me. it's my.. continues to rub herself.) Darlin'. Laroche waits patiently. Laroche cuts him off. I'm just. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed.

don't let him leave. Kaufman rises. ORLEAN I'm freaking.I don't know that. Orlean tries to ORLEAN Shit. 'kay? Kaufman does. Let me give you my number. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. Well. LAROCHE Okay. Laroche begins to write his phone number. dude. Laroche looks at Susan. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Did you follow me? I should go. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. it was nice to meet you. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. (CONTINUED) . of course not. Orlean rises. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. John. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me.

(screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . Suze. I don't know. She looks up. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. I'm almost done. LAROCHE Oh. I was just -. I'm pretty clear on the structure. he's researching his script. right? LAROCHE Good point. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. Well. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. gestures to Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why.I'm just down here to see the swamp. Kaufman rises. anyway. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. LAROCHE I believe him. Orlean massages her temples. She talks to herself for a while. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. Hold him.

He listens. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. CLOSET . I have to think. okay. Charlie. LAROCHE Yeah. INT. we can't kill anyone. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay. 208 Laroche closes the door. You're getting a little emotional and you -ORLEAN Don't talk to me like I'm a mental patient! I hate when you do that! I'm not. I can't have people -. deliberate) Susie. Kaufman gets in. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. I understand. LAROCHE I'm sorry.S. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. LAROCHE (O. you need to calm down.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked. Thank you.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me.) Susie. * (CONTINUED) . 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow.

The bartender shakes a drink. Please. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O.S. 209 INT. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. chews her fingernail and cries. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . Johnny.S. his face lights up red.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the I think you just stick them in. LAROCHE (O.S. holes here.) Protect me.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. descends the basement stairs. a little hysterically. Laroche and Orlean.) Then what? Everyone will find out.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. in close-up.S. 208B INT. BASEMENT . large. pacing foreground figures. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. in close-up. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . occasionally pass between Donald and the camera.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. Laroche turns it off. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb. Donald watches the goings-on.S. He sifts through a cardboard box. his pants fall down. 208A INT.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. ORLEAN (O. turns it on. blurry. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . in close-up. There's a long sweaty silence. Kaufman inhales sharply. She glances down at his off-screen hand. He passes behind her.S.

like he was doing research. She skims Kaufman's screenplay. ORLEAN Hey. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. ORLEAN (O. 210 INT. KAUFMAN It's a story.) You have a car. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . KAUFMAN Look.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. They drive in I." Jesus. holding a gun.) Of course he does. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. I didn't really do it. I'm really just interested in orchids. KAUFMAN (O.) Okay. no. there's an image I could do without. RENTAL CAR .S.S. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. LAROCHE (O.S. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. That sounds like a real thing that could happen.S. I don't care what you're doing. that's sort of creepy. Orlean sits next to him.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. suburban Miami neighborhood. I -ORLEAN (O.S. God. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O. um.S. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned.

Charlie-boy. Bully for you. I do. ORLEAN (considers) No. It was orchids. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. Can we do that? We can talk this out. you don't have to kill me. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. if you don't tell me. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. KAUFMAN Look. From a weirdo with no teeth. Get a cup of coffee. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. I know. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. KAUFMAN We can turn around. I'll sign anything. ORLEAN Yeah. That's a quote from your book. We can do whatever you want. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. I'm laughing at who I used to be. this isn't easy for me either. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. Chill. I'll tell you the truth now. KAUFMAN You can laugh. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. We can forget I ever came here. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * .pg. ORLEAN Listen." Orlean laughs derisively. It's sad. but I didn't make that up.

circles it. I think this might help you... ORLEAN It's a flower.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. No reaction. They drive in silence. 108 211 EXT. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee.O.. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag. long as I'm here. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan.. I want to tell you. my porn site is gonna be big. stands there awestruck. I want you to know this. It wasn't my thing. Orlean stares out the window. He spots something on a tree. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. It's just a flower.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. LAROCHE (V. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. LAROCHE Might as well grab it. can't.. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. I went back one night to pick up something. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . . SWAMP . something I didn't tell you. but some of the Indians. About the ghost. 211B EXT. okay? I know you're going through some shit.DAY Laroche drives. VAN ..) I'd just started up the 211A INT.

LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. Susie. too. they ran out.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. LAROCHE It does that. I watched. fascinated. your sadness is fascinating to me. VAN . As I said. Two of the men make out. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. That's what I wanted to tell you. One sings to himself.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. Some stare off.O. I want to do this. It had been a ceremonial thing. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. . Laroche. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. they liked to get stoned. 109 211C INT. A bunch of young. Jesus. My sadness. My hair. I think you'd like it. like I told you. It seems to help people be. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. but the young guys. but -Vinson. Y'know.. stoned Indian men. TRAILER BACK ROOM .. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. 211D INT. Vinson lived on that shit. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. I know how.DAY Orlean seems interested now. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you.

ORLEAN I was so sad that night. a little tipsy.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed.NIGHT So drained. 211I INT. trying to remember her room All right then. The place is empty. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. He needs to hear how you feel. He's pasty white with fear. Orlean hangs up. rolls it up. you should. Okay. 211G INT. picks up the baggie. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. HOTEL ROOM . Friday. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. RENTAL CAR . I didn't know.NIGHT 211H Orlean. paces. hovers over the green powder. He's barely listening. ORLEAN (V. you should. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. stares at it. Her name is written on it. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. Please. talks on the phone. Yeah. if you're not going to let me go. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. sniffs inside. HOTEL ROOM . puts it down. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. 211H INT. reviews some notes. hon. picks it up. let me be. This must be her room. 211F INT. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. There's a small package outside one door.) I went down to the bar.NIGHT Kaufman drives. HOTEL BAR . (CONTINUED) .O. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. Maybe I could get laid. 110 211E INT. Something.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. HOTEL HALLWAY . You too.

) (CONT'D) I figured. holding the phone to her ear. I figured. She snorts a small amount. She giggles. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. sucks it. what the fuck.O. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. tries to feel something. who really cares about anything anymore. 211M INT.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. How exquisite! She cries. stands.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. It's so beautiful. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. dully watches herself in the mirror. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. discovers it does not open. HOTEL ROOM . but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. listening to the dial tone. She tries to open the window for a better look. 211J INT.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. She snorts the rest. She watches her grinning face with love. Ms. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. 211L INT. stands again. sniffs it. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. She feels nothing. on the scrubbing sound. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. 211K INT. HOTEL ROOM . HOTEL BATHROOM . She tries to sing along with it. doesn' the colors. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . rolls it around in her fingers." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. what the hell. She's never seen anything more beautiful. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. I figured. She tugs at a strand. HOTEL ROOM . 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. She sighs. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth.

would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) .. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. ORLEAN Well. Operator. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. eight to five-thirty. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. It's so pretty. ma'am. Orlean dials again. Okay. to you. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in ma'am.. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. ma'am. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. ORLEAN Good night.

LAROCHE She studies her feet. forgets to pick up the phone. The phone rings. pitch. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. I'm very happy now. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. ORLEAN John. ORLEAN Johnny. . ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. She imitates a dial tone. that would be so helpful. John. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. There's a pause. Hello? Hi. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. She listens to it. Finally she remembers. all the time. There's a pause. stares at the ceiling. I'm glad. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh.

(pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. LAROCHE They will be. Do you like socks. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. ORLEAN Huh. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. Okay. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. I think toes should be with their fellows. I do. too? Yes. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. . Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy.

Kaufman stares straight ahead. I'm a person. She stares out the window at the early morning light. RENTAL CAR . on the phone. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. Like my mom. Here. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Johnny. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. (beat) Are you lonely too. just like you. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. We're twins.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. Please think about what you're doing. 212B INT. understand me. except someone else. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Nobody liked me. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. y'know. HOTEL ROOM . someone would come around and just. ORLEAN We spoke all night. but not talking.

a bag of soil. They pass very few cars now. Not like that.NIGHT Kaufman drives. lost in her The junk is pushed to the sides. It'd send someone. Adapting. 212D INT. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. She pulls him to her and kisses him. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. she'd look at me. You will not take this away. ORLEAN Back in New York. Orlean looks with love at these items. I was just there. I couldn't care. RENTAL CAR . KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. Orlean smiles. VAN . anyway. I won't go back. She glances past Laroche at the moon. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. pale and sweaty. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. John. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. back on the book. Orlean is flabbergasted. and quietly say. Laroche starts to cry. then at Laroche's straining face. Alive. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. "yes". who stares straight ahead. Back. . just like that. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. The back doors are open.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. Laroche seems clumsy. She remains silent. I couldn't focus. Or fantasizing about someone else. 212C INT.

if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. but we should introduce this to the general public. all the way to the road. LAROCHE Well. hi. Suze. Make a shitload of change. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. 214 INT. A Laroche kind of LAROCHE'S BACKYARD .. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . I need a ticket to Miami. Done. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. it ain't controlled. if I do say. They're very shiny.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. (back to business) The cool part is. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. The sun is warm on her skin. 117 212E INT. She types at the computer standing up. is why. darlin'.. Orlean lies on the grass outside. (dials phone) Yeah... (MORE) (CONTINUED) .DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids.. ORLEAN So. I like you.NIGHT Orlean paces. like a beacon. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. RENTAL CAR . Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene... 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. transfixed by a colony of ants.. and we followed it. There are no other cars.

215 EXT. gun on Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . Laroche is in the rear of his van. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. he sees Donald. keeping the 216 217 * * Orlean pulls herself up and drags herself over to the van as Laroche is throwing things around in the messy back. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. on the floor in the back." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. getting some equipment. ORLEAN Come around. Kaufman does. We call it "Passion. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. We see the lovely Coke can.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. blocking him in. wild-eyed. 218 EXT. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. trip over unseen vines. SWAMP . searching for flashlights. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. hitting her and sending her flying. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. Laroche parks behind. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. please. LOGGING ROAD .

ORLEAN (O. I've wasted it.C. LAROCHE (O. KAUFMAN I don't want to die.) We need to split up. I get that. * Laroche and Orlean move off.C. * * * Thanks. Donald. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. breathing hard. Their voices get far The beams search the darkness near the brothers. All right. (CONTINUED) . John. God. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance.C. KAUFMAN They're going to find us.) It was a guy? Fat. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees.) I know. DONALD You did not. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake.C. I've wasted my life. ORLEAN (O.) That's all I could tell. LAROCHE (O. DONALD I don't think so. * LAROCHE (O. I couldn't move. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. They sit and wait in silence.) This really complicates things. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. And you're not gonna die.

pg. 120
218 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN it. I admire you, Donald, I spend my whole life paralyzed what people think of me and you just oblivious. 218

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

DONALD I'm not oblivious. KAUFMAN No, you don't understand. I say that as a compliment. I really do. (beat) There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh. DONALD Oh, God. I was so in love with her. KAUFMAN I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you. DONALD I remember that. KAUFMAN Then when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were laughing at me. You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy. I knew. DONALD I heard them. * * *

KAUFMAN How come you looked so happy? DONALD I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. can love whoever I want. KAUFMAN She thought you were pathetic. DONALD That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago. (CONTINUED)




pg. 121
218 CONTINUED: (3) Kaufman and Donald sit there for a long while in silence. Kaufman starts to cry softly. What's up? Thank you. For what? DONALD (cont'd) KAUFMAN DONALD 218

Slogging sounds. Orlean and Laroche are getting close again. Flashlight beams miss Kaufman and Donald by inches. ORLEAN (O.C.) We looked here already. No. LAROCHE (O.C.)


ORLEAN (O.C.) I recognize this tree. LAROCHE (O.C.) Suzy, I know every tree in here. ORLEAN (O.C.) I'm thinking this is a bad idea, John. On Orlean and Laroche. LAROCHE What do you mean? ORLEAN It was the Pash. My head is clearing now and suddenly this whole idea seems completely fucked up. LAROCHE Well, y'know, I said that. I said this was crazy. I tried to reason with -I know. ORLEAN I'm sorry. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED)

LAROCHE Yeah, anyway, what do we do now? ORLEAN Maybe we talk to the guy. killing people. We can't go

pg. 122
218 CONTINUED: (4) LAROCHE If you recall, that's what I said before. ORLEAN I made a mistake. want from me? Jesus. What do you 218 * * * * * * * * * * Donald * * * * *

Laroche shakes his head, mutters, then: LAROCHE (calling) Charlie! We're not going to hurt you. We just want to talk! On Kaufman and Donald. shakes his head "no." They look at each other.

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

The flashlights shine elsewhere and the voices go far away. DISSOLVE TO: 219 EXT. SWAMP - EARLY MORNING 219

The light is gray, pre-dawn, murky. Donald and Kaufman are asleep. Donald awakens, looks around. The rental car is still there, but there's no van. Donald nudges Kaufman. He wakes, looks at Donald, who indicates the missing van. They gone? KAUFMAN

DONALD I don't know. Maybe. They quietly slog toward the road. There's no sign of Laroche or Orlean. Donald looks back and smiles at Kaufman. They're getting out of here. Kaufman feels a new, profound affection for his brother. He pats Donald on the back. It's an awkward tap, something never attempted before. Donald gives a cheerful thumbs-up without looking back. They arrive at the car. Donald is heading around to the passenger side and stops dead in his tracks. Kaufman looks over to see what's caught Donald's eye: there, sitting propped against a tree, sleeps Laroche, his rifle on the ground next to him. Kaufman and Donald are momentarily frozen. Then: ORLEAN (O.S.) (in the distance) John! (CONTINUED)

Kaufman finds the keys. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. (CONTINUED) * * .pg. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. Donald yelps. the front of his body a bloody mess. To everyone's surprise it fires. John! ORLEAN (O. Donald is hit in the arm. Laroche approaches the car.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. The driver's side airbag deploys. Give me some of that shit. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car.S. starts the car. doesn't know what to do. They pass Orlean next to the van. RENTAL CAR . She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. Then. 220 INT. Donald flies through the windshield. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. from around a curve. Kaufman gets in behind him. spaced on pash. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. a ranger truck comes barreling. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. looks nice. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys. The vehicles collide and spin violently around.

it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. running from two different directions. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. sees the two Kaufmans. To think about the one you love.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. at the body of Donald. heave. approaching from down the road. SWAMP . 221 EXT. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. Alligators swim in it. MIKE OWEN We need help here. It's only right. The three stare at each other. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. it's gonna be okay. She follows. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. A battered-looking. Kaufman must be next. she looks horrified. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. sees Kaufman running into the woods. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. but fading fast. He bolts into the swamp. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Donald's eyes close. who is conscious. Kaufman starts to sing. fascinated.. (CONTINUED) . I do. Orlean and Laroche arrive. KAUFMAN Donald. Kaufman stares at the body. stop. Just don't go to sleep. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. Logging road twelve. Donald is dead. He angles in to cut him off. is confused. You're gonna be okay.. He slumps to the ground.B. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. She can't look down at dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. Bad car accident. Her mouth is open. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. There's nowhere to go. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other.

The sun is KAUFMAN No. that helps other people feel not so lonely. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. suddenly feeling so much for this person. desperate. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. startled and angry. Everything's over. I'm not a killer. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. stunned. sobbing. I think it can touch people. I want it back before it got all fucked up. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. Everything is a lie. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely.An alligator: it awakens. I want my life back. maybe. Laroche is dead. dude. KAUFMAN Your writing. Orlean screams. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. old. Orlean collapses into a heap. Kaufman watches. I want to be new. I want to be new. drops her gun. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. I did everything wrong. shooting crazily until it's dead. Orlean looks at his body. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. His rifle fires at nothing. then looks to Kaufman. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Kaufman watches. It helped me. She glows. Let me be a baby again.

MOTHER You should get some furniture. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. KAUFMAN I know. Charles. That's all.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. I'm going to get a couch. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. Susan. mom. They look at each other from across the room. Yeah. I just wanted. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. some overstuffed * (CONTINUED) . That's a good thing. There's a silence. I think. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that.. * * MOTHER I worry about you. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself.. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. I just wanted. a coffee table. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. Make it really comfortable in here. both crying. Wordlessly. they meet in the middle and hug. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living.

Margaret looks up. Thanks. KAUFMAN No. * She look compassionately into his face. Margaret. really. (deep breath. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. MARGARET'S They sit. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. but -I don't know. I understand. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. I'm just stupid. MARGARET You able to work at all. KAUFMAN That sounds good. KAUFMAN Knock knock. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I came by for a reason. hugs him. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . He meets her gaze. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. KAUFMAN Thank you. 225 INT. I'm almost done! Great! ready.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door.

embarrassed) So. being honest. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. y'know.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. looking a little pale. Charlie. nervously kisses him. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. 226 INT. I don't have to get anything back. (laughing. gets up. MARGARET That sounds good. MARGARET Wow. CAR . so he plows on. I'm glad you're in the world. Stupid job. I'm not saying that at all. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. I mean. I can love you. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. in the parking garage. Margaret appears in front of his car. Hey. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. Hey. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. Kaufman smiles. That's really great. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . I'll send you the script when it's I'm glad I know you is all. thanks for being in the world. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . Okay then. I'm just saying. thanks for telling me. anyway. waits in line with his validated ticket. can't. Kaufman rolls down his window. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. Wow. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. say.

hooky before. Lieutenant. Like cells in a body. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. FADE TO BLACK.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . runs around the front of the car. both staring The way fish can't see the ocean." . And so we envy each other. that sounds good. Hurt each other. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. Hate each other. That's what I've come to realize. 'Cept we can't see the body. and hops in the passenger side. They drive off.

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