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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

The new girl I'm obsessed with. 56 57 OMITTED INT. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. profoundly in love with tropical fish. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. Holacanthus ciliaris. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. Chaetodon capistratus. Different woman.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. You name it. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. Then one day I say. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. fuck fish. * * (CONTINUED) . That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. THERAPIST Uh-huh. THERAPIST Red hair. I renounce fish. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . that's how much fuck fish. (beat) No. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? Anisotremus virginicus. I once fell deeply. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. Kaufman nods. not a lot a lot. Anyway. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. He's handsome... Hi.. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. His eyes are gentle. I'm using a new conditioner and. His longblack hair is braided. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls... I washed it this morning. Thank you. right? I saw you at the courthouse. A few Indians are hauling plants.. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. Hi.. VINSON John's not here today. He gently reaches out and touches it. Yes.. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. is how I know. SEMINOLE NURSERY ..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. so.. She's taken. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. ORLEAN Oh. My * * * * * * .. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. VINSON I can see your sadness. heart holds yours. Orlean approaches. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. Oh. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse..

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

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

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

a shared look. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. He does it fast and unintentionally. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. He quickly shifts back to her face. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . The way I like them. We see murder and procreation. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. We see the history of architecture. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. smiling at customers. We see old age and birth. love them madly. We see Alice serving food. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. an arm slipped through an arm. * 63 * * * . 63 INT. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. Those love them. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid eating meat. war. I don't need to know them at all.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. I don't need to know what their jobs is. The entire sequence takes two minutes. A million women walking down the street. religion. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. commerce. We see it again and again at dizzying speed.O.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. admiring a view.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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