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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yes! Yeah. I'll take acting classes. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. Before Orlean can respond. I'll study the shit out of acting. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Back! (hangs up) Hey. TRAILER . looks at some papers on his desk. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number. 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. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. Buster. Orlean moves the junk over. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. While you write. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . 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. 129 INT. He waits. shares the seat with it. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche." That's a good title for the movie. John.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. Do you like socks. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Okay. I think toes should be with their fellows. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. ORLEAN Huh. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. . I do. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. LAROCHE They will be. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. too? Yes. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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