ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

*

(CONTINUED)

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 *

(CONTINUED)

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

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

53

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

53

54

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A shaky. McKee emerges. 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. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. leaning against the building. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. you'll bore your audience to tears. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. tired Kaufman approaches him. Kaufman waits.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Mr. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. right. 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. thanks. my friend.pg. 191 EXT. NYC STREET . Nice to see you. 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. okay. MCKEE Oh. then you. carrying his brown leather bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAROCHE They will be. Do you like socks. LAROCHE ORLEAN I 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 Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. I do. Okay. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy.pg. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. ORLEAN Huh. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. too? Yes. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. 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. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. I think toes should be with their fellows. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when.

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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