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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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