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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

where people don't change. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. giggles a little. A violent fight ensues. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. That's it for tonight. with dark circles under his eyes. Kaufman can't get out of the way.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. Aristotle rises to stretch. He turns. they don't have any epiphanies. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . He walks around the table. collapsing it. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. Kaufman. sits in the back. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. HOTEL . DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. sips his coffee. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. 190 Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. 188 INT. Remember.MORNING Kaufman. It's silent and tense. Out of nowhere. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. AUDITORIUM . then. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. bleary-eyed. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. The last of the students are filing out. NYC STREET . carrying his brown leather bag. tired Kaufman approaches him. (CONTINUED) . leaning against the building. okay. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. MCKEE Oh. Nice to see you. Mr. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. then you. 191 EXT. you'll bore your audience to tears. A shaky. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. thanks. 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. Kaufman waits. McKee emerges. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. my friend. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. Do you like socks. I do. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. LAROCHE They will be. I think toes should be with their fellows. too? Yes. . 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. Okay. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. ORLEAN Huh. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong.

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

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

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

We see the lovely Coke can.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. gun on him. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . SWAMP . blocking him in.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. 215 EXT. searching for flashlights. please. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. on the floor in the back. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. wild-eyed. 218 EXT. As Orlean goes to meet Laroche parks behind. hitting her and sending her flying. Kaufman does. Laroche is in the rear of his van. trip over unseen vines. 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. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. LOGGING ROAD . As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. ORLEAN Come around. 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. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. getting some equipment. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. We call it "Passion." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. he sees Donald. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp.

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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