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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN I've got to write it first.DAY 127 * * Laroche. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. wearing a Cleveland Indians the nursery lot. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. um.DAY 128 * * * EXT. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. These things mostly never get made. (CONTINUED) . So I'll be doing that. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. Orlean holds on. ORLEAN More John. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. Orlean is charmed. Florida Seminole reservation. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. more orchids. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. VAN . we'd really like to option this. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. 127 INT. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . but seems to be enjoying herself now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and how it forever scars the little girl. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. The phone rings. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . EMPTY LIVING ROOM . 151 * * * * 152 INT. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. 73 151 INT. It now looks warm and inviting. get to merge our thoughts. sits on young Susan's bed and I love that. like a marriage. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. her mother's disappointment at life. Kaufman is immensely pleased. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. KITCHEN . 152 153 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM .MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. It's intimate. I'm finding you.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. 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. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. She kisses him on the cheek. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. We see the loneliness of her childhood. Her drunken mother enters. He smiles at Orlean's photo. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you... KAUFMAN I think really good now. Just bugging you again. All color drains from Kaufman's face. Okay? * (CONTINUED) .. As she sees fit. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. well.. Okay. for me it's distracting to. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. It's Valerie. How's everything going? Good. Tell her I said that. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. Good. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. I'll let her know. KAUFMAN Um. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. Say I think she's a great writer.. Charlie. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. So. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday.. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. before I finish. y'know. Great...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

glowing in the sun.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. I am fat. a mic clipped to his lapel.. I. I am panicked. 182 INT. I have sold out. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. except for Kaufman who looks pained..O. walks toward it. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her.. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take The lobby of an auditorium. * * MCKEE So. First. Kaufman waits in line. LOBBY . Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. (CONTINUED) * .) I have failed.O. I am a loser. I am fat. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough.) I am pathetic. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. 85 180 EXT. KAUFMAN (V. NYC STREET . The audience laughs.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. KAUFMAN (V. last. 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 always the imperative is too tell a story. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. I am worthless. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under.. AUDITORIUM . (deadpan) Well. McKee seems to watching him. AUDITORIUM . And here I am. Easy answers. "Flaccid.) It is my weakness... sloppy writing.." writes the guy on the other side. 183 INT. "Any idiot.O. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. Kaufman looks up. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . just look around you. KAUFMAN (V. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. my friends. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement." writes the guy on one side of him.. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. The audience members take copious notes.. Kaufman sweats.. the result is decadence. (CONTINUED) . MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. I should leave here right now.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. Aristotle said. when storytelling goes bad in a society. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. Well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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