ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. They give it. nine orchid varieties.pg. Well. sir. what. Tony nods. Every one of them. Did I mention that? You're familiar. This is a state preserve. James E. I'm sure. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. Billie. I'm asking then. TONY Okay. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE Oh. LAROCHE Yes. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. it is. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. (afterthought) Oh. one of. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. 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. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. Florida v. sir.. one peperomia.. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. even though he has no idea. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. that's exactly the issue. TONY Exactly. Okay then! Let's see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. to ask me stuff. my wife. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. then types. Through an open door. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. sits sadly for a moment. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. too. From Peru. 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. She was beautiful.) I got married.pg. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . 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. NURSERY . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. LAROCHE (V. browse. We opened a nursery.O. CUSTOMER #1 John. One guy pulls Laroche aside. to admire my plants. stare into space. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. Laura was such a class act. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. ORLEAN'S STUDY . John. LAROCHE (V. Say. to admire me. 47 76 INT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCKEE Oh. okay. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. then you. you'll bore your audience to tears. A shaky. my friend. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. carrying his brown leather bag. thanks. tired Kaufman approaches him. 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.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. McKee emerges. NYC STREET . 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. Mr. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. Kaufman waits. leaning against the building. right.pg. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. (CONTINUED) . 191 EXT. Nice to see you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg. ORLEAN Huh. I do. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. I think toes should be with their fellows. . My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. Do you like socks. 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. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. too? Yes. Okay. LAROCHE They will be. 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. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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