ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a mic clipped to his lapel. and always the imperative is too tell a story. I am a loser.O. glowing in the sun. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman.. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. LOBBY . Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. Kaufman waits in line. except for Kaufman who looks pained. 85 180 EXT.) I have failed. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. I am fat. walks toward it.O. * * MCKEE So. I am worthless. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. I. 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.pg. I have sold out.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. KAUFMAN (V. last. (CONTINUED) * . 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. KAUFMAN (V. 182 INT.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. I am fat. I am panicked. The audience laughs.. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze.. First.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. NYC STREET . He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar.. AUDITORIUM .) I am pathetic.

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

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

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

okay. carrying his brown leather bag.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. (CONTINUED) . for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. Kaufman waits. thanks. A shaky. my friend.pg. 191 EXT. tired Kaufman approaches him. you'll bore your audience to tears. 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. leaning against the building. Mr. Nice to see you. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. right. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. then you. MCKEE Oh. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. McKee emerges. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. NYC STREET .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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