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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. war.O.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. smiling at customers. commerce. We see the history of architecture. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . love them madly. A million women walking down the street. The way I like Those love them. He does it fast and unintentionally. We see murder and procreation. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. The entire sequence takes two minutes. * 63 * * * . eating meat. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. I don't need to know what their jobs is. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. We see Alice serving food. an arm slipped through an arm. admiring a view.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. a shared look. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see old age and birth. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. He quickly shifts back to her face. 63 INT. religion. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. I don't need to know them at all. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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