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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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