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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaufman waits.pg. NYC STREET . leaning against the building.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Mr. right. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. tired Kaufman approaches him. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. you'll bore your audience to tears. 191 EXT. McKee emerges. Nice to see you. carrying his brown leather bag. thanks. A shaky. MCKEE Oh. then you. 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. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. okay. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. 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. (CONTINUED) .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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