ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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