ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. The book is just amazing. 16 INT. this guy I'm seeing. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. man. too. of course. (He takes a breath) Hey. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. All I do is tell him how great you are. Kaufman. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. He probably hates you already. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. Sure. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. KAUFMAN God. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . would enjoy it.MORNING As Laroche supervises. SWAMP . He's a naturalist. Randy. I'm just so pleased you liked it. Margaret raises a glass. (CONTINUED) * * * . Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. Russell.pg.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. I think David. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. thrilled. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. clicks glasses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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