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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

) I got married. John. ORLEAN'S STUDY . One guy pulls Laroche aside. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. NURSERY . then types. LAROCHE (V. my wife.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. 47 76 INT. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. Through an open door.) People started coming out of the woodwork. browse. We opened a nursery. too. She was beautiful. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. sits sadly for a moment. Laura was such a class act. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. From Peru. to admire my plants. Say.O. to ask me stuff. CUSTOMER #1 John. LAROCHE (V.O. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. to admire me. stare into space. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

then you. right. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. my friend. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Kaufman waits. 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. 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. tired Kaufman approaches him. 191 EXT. (CONTINUED) . A shaky. Mr. leaning against the building. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. MCKEE Nice to see you. NYC STREET . KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. you'll bore your audience to tears. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. carrying his brown leather bag. McKee emerges. okay. thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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