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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


pg. 2
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. Randy. thrilled. (He takes a breath) Hey. would enjoy it. SWAMP . He's a naturalist. I'm just so pleased you liked it. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. He probably hates you already. this guy I'm seeing. man. Margaret raises a glass. The book is just amazing. Russell. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . (CONTINUED) * * * . All I do is tell him how great you Kaufman eats with Margaret. KAUFMAN God. Kaufman. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. of course. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. 16 INT. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. too. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. Sure. clicks glasses. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. I think David.MORNING As Laroche supervises. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uh-huh. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. There's Vinson's phone number. okay.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list.. After a few moments. ORLEAN Um. Yeah. 137C INT. anxiously gets ready to go out. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. honey. Work good? Good. HOTEL ROOM . So. He saunters over and sits. what was it like for you. eyes herself in the mirror. Yeah. it might be late. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. all the Native American aspects and. Let me call you in the morning. 137B INT. After a long beat she dials the phone. dolled-up. I was just fascinated with this story and. I'll speak to you in the morning. ORLEAN Yeah. She picks up. Not really.. how. This should be really helpful. plays with her hair. y'know. Okay. She sips a glass of champagne. It must've been crazy! Boy. Hey. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. HOTEL BAR . her trembly fingers. Um.. large the scope was and. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. (CONTINUED) . VINSON I don't know.. She waves.. thanks for coming. VINSON Sure thing. The phone rings. Vinson enters. y'know.LATER 137B Orlean. hon. There's a silence. okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

thanks. my friend. okay. 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. Mr. tired Kaufman approaches him.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. right. leaning against the building. A shaky. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee 191 EXT. 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. (CONTINUED) . then you. MCKEE Oh. Nice to see you. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. NYC STREET . Kaufman waits. you'll bore your audience to tears. carrying his brown leather bag. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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