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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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