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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. John. LAROCHE (V. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . 47 76 INT. then types.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. too. We opened a nursery. to ask me stuff. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. Say.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions.O. LAROCHE (V. sits sadly for a moment. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. to admire me. CUSTOMER #1 John. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. Through an open door. 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. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. browse. From Peru. NURSERY . LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey.) I got married. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. Laura was such a class ORLEAN'S STUDY . stare into space. to admire my plants. my wife. She was beautiful.O.) People started coming out of the woodwork.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After a long beat she dials the phone. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. dolled-up. This should be really helpful. Hey.. Yeah. Uh-huh. Work good? Good. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. (CONTINUED) . eyes herself in the mirror. honey. VINSON Sure thing. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. VINSON I don't know. There's a silence. There's Vinson's phone number.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. y'know. I was just fascinated with this story and. It must've been crazy! Boy. Let me call you in the morning. thanks for coming. ORLEAN Um. She picks up. ORLEAN Yeah. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. okay.. y'know. anxiously gets ready to go out.. HOTEL BAR . Not really.LATER 137B Orlean. Yeah. After a few moments.. her trembly fingers. The phone rings. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. She waves. HOTEL ROOM . Um.. I'll speak to you in the morning. all the Native American aspects and. So. it might be late. um. Okay. She sips a glass of 137C INT. large the scope was and. He saunters over and sits. how. Vinson enters. what was it like for you. 137B INT.. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. hon. okay. plays with her hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tired Kaufman approaches him. MCKEE Oh. okay. 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. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. then you. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. McKee emerges. leaning against the building. right. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. A shaky. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. my friend.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. (CONTINUED) . Nice to see you. Mr. NYC STREET . you'll bore your audience to tears. thanks. Kaufman 191 EXT. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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