ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. stare into space. to admire my plants. LAROCHE (V.O. 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. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. Say. then types.O. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. to ask me stuff.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. sits sadly for a moment. She was beautiful. From Peru. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. too. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. LAROCHE (V.) People started coming out of the woodwork.pg. Through an open door. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. browse. John. Laura was such a class act. to admire me. NURSERY . We opened a nursery. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . 47 76 INT.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. ORLEAN'S STUDY . CUSTOMER #1 John. my wife.) I got married.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McKee emerges. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. carrying his brown leather bag. Kaufman waits. tired Kaufman approaches him.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. 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. 191 EXT. (CONTINUED) . you'll bore your audience to tears. A shaky. thanks.pg. right. Nice to see you. Mr. okay. MCKEE Oh. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. my friend. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. leaning against the building. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. then you. NYC STREET .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

*

*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful