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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

He quickly shifts back to her face. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles.O. a shared look. THERAPIST'S OFFICE .) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. admiring a view. religion. The way I like them. The entire sequence takes two minutes. We see murder and procreation. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. * 63 * * * . eating meat. commerce. Those love them. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. We see old age and birth. I don't need to know what their jobs is. We see the history of architecture. 63 INT. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. an arm slipped through an arm.pg. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. love them madly. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. smiling at customers. war. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. I don't need to know them at all. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. A million women walking down the street. He does it fast and unintentionally. We see Alice serving food. We see man interacting with his environment: farming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. Mr. okay. (CONTINUED) . Kaufman waits. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. leaning against the building. A shaky. carrying his brown leather bag.pg. my friend. Nice to see you.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. thanks. you'll bore your audience to tears. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. MCKEE Oh. right. NYC STREET . then you. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. McKee emerges. tired Kaufman approaches him. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. 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. 191 EXT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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