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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. We show Laroche. overabundant place might have hidden in it. dense. 92 93 OMITTED INT.O. He picks up The Orchid Thief. I was mutated as baby. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . into a place as dark and dense as steel wool.. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. okay -91 INT. I'm just hanging out. we have the court case. ORLEAN Ah. opens it. I don't mean to bother you.O. He peers through the darkness at the books.. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. How about you? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. okay. Orlean is silent for a moment.. we show flowers. ORLEAN Oh.that's funny. David's out of town. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. They had to confront what a dark.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her Okay we open at the beginning of time.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. EMPTY BEDROOM . Okay.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun..NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. John. he says... papers coffee cups. reads. that's why I'm so smart. Just thought I could get some more info. (CONTINUED) . okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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