ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCKEE Oh. McKee emerges.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. then you. A shaky. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. okay. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. my friend. 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. NYC STREET . Mr. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. (CONTINUED) . 191 EXT. carrying his brown leather bag. leaning against the building. thanks. Kaufman waits. 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.pg. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. Nice to see you. right. you'll bore your audience to tears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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