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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. 183 INT. I should leave here right now. Easy answers. startled..) It is my weakness. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. McKee seems to watching him. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work.. "Any idiot. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me Well. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. (deadpan) Well. 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. "Flaccid. my friends. Kaufman sweats. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. AUDITORIUM .. And here I am. Rules to short-cut yourself to success." writes the guy on the other side. the result is decadence.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector.. sloppy writing. Kaufman looks up. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE ." writes the guy on one side of him. just look around you.. Aristotle said. when storytelling goes bad in a society. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. The audience members take copious notes.. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (V.O.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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