ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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