Adaptation, November 2000 | Nature

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.

(CONTINUED)

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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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. She was beautiful. NURSERY .) People started coming out of the woodwork. John. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.) I got married. my wife. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. then types. browse. From Peru. Laura was such a class act. to admire my plants. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. 47 76 INT. LAROCHE (V. CUSTOMER #1 John. to ask me stuff.O. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. Say. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. ORLEAN'S STUDY . LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. too. LAROCHE (V. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? .pg. Through an open door.O. One guy pulls Laroche aside. stare into space.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. to admire me. sits sadly for a moment.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. We opened a nursery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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