ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. okay. 191 EXT. you'll bore your audience to tears. NYC STREET . Kaufman waits. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. my friend.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. carrying his brown leather bag. leaning against the building. tired Kaufman approaches him. then you. Nice to see you. (CONTINUED) . right. MCKEE Oh. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. McKee emerges. thanks. 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. Mr. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. A shaky.pg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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