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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SWAMP . He probably hates you already. All I do is tell him how great you are. of course. man. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. clicks glasses. KAUFMAN God. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. I think David. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. Russell. The book is just amazing.MORNING As Laroche supervises. Kaufman. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. He's a naturalist. Sure. Randy.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. 16 INT. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. would enjoy it. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. (He takes a breath) (CONTINUED) * * * . 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. too. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. this guy I'm seeing. Margaret raises a glass. I'm just so pleased you liked it. thrilled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

Kaufman nods. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. 56 57 OMITTED INT.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. Chaetodon capistratus. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. Anisotremus virginicus. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. that's how much fuck fish. The new girl I'm obsessed with. Different woman. profoundly in love with tropical fish. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. You name it. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. (beat) No. I once fell deeply. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. I renounce fish. fuck fish. THERAPIST Uh-huh. 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 * * (CONTINUED) . I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. Holacanthus ciliaris. Then one day I say. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mixed genres. I got a song! "Happy Together.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. Donald. It's 3:32. smiles. Good night. slept in a week. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Kaufman disappears upstairs. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. EMPTY BEDROOM . one of the greatest screenplays ever written. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. sweating. did exactly that. then:) Oh. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . Donald breaks the tension. 140 INT. (types. EMPTY BEDROOM . his eyes darting back and forth. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. DONALD Cool. but Bob says Casablanca. (lies down on floor) Hey. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. He looks over at the clock. Okay. DONALD I've posted one over both our work areas. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. They look at each other. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. 141 142 OMITTED INT. it's just good writing technique.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A shaky. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. okay. Mr. right. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee emerges. tired Kaufman approaches him. MCKEE Oh. then you. (CONTINUED) . thanks. NYC STREET . 191 EXT. 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. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. you'll bore your audience to tears. Kaufman my friend. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. Nice to see you. leaning against the building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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