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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCKEE Oh. Nice to see you. McKee emerges. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. then you. right. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. NYC STREET . you'll bore your audience to tears. 191 EXT. 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. tired Kaufman approaches him. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. carrying his brown leather bag.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Mr. 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. okay. leaning against the building. A shaky. Kaufman waits. 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. (CONTINUED) .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

Logging road twelve. Kaufman starts to sing. who is conscious. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C.. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. KAUFMAN Donald. She follows. I do. but fading fast. it's gonna be okay. It's only right. 221 EXT. Just don't go to sleep. He angles in to cut him off. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. she looks You're gonna be okay. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. Her mouth is open. sees Kaufman running into the woods. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. sees the two Kaufmans. To think about the one you love. Donald's eyes close. running from two different directions. Orlean and Laroche arrive. fascinated. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. He slumps to the ground. heave. MIKE OWEN We need help here. approaching from down the road.B. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. Kaufman must be next. (CONTINUED) . There's nowhere to go. He bolts into the swamp. Donald is dead. Bad car accident. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. at the body of Donald.. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. The three stare at each other. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. Kaufman stares at the body. is confused. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. A battered-looking. Alligators swim in it. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. stop. SWAMP . She can't look down at Owen. I think it can touch people. maybe. drops her gun. suddenly feeling so much for this person. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. Everything's over. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. shooting crazily until it's dead. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. I did everything wrong. Everything is a lie. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. Kaufman watches.An alligator: it awakens. It helped me. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. I want to be new. Laroche is dead. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . that helps other people feel not so lonely. sobbing. dude. Orlean collapses into a heap. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. His rifle fires at nothing. I'm not a killer. Let me be a baby again. then looks to Kaufman. Kaufman watches. old. The sun is rising. Orlean looks at his body. I want it back before it got all fucked up. KAUFMAN Your writing. startled and angry. She glows. KAUFMAN No. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. I want to be new. desperate. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. Orlean screams. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. I want my life back.

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

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

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

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

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