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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


pg. 2
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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. 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. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. I think toes should be with their fellows. too? Yes. I do. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. . LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. LAROCHE They will be. ORLEAN Huh. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. Do you like socks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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