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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. He probably hates you already. (He takes a breath) Hey. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. SWAMP .MORNING As Laroche supervises. I think David. thrilled. All I do is tell him how great you are. Sure. I'm just so pleased you liked it. man. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . (CONTINUED) * * * . I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. Margaret raises a glass. clicks glasses. Kaufman. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. 16 INT. would enjoy it. He's a naturalist. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. too. this guy I'm seeing. Randy. The book is just amazing. Russell. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. KAUFMAN God. of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it's just good writing technique." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. sweating. EMPTY BEDROOM . They look at each other. It's 3:32. 141 142 OMITTED INT. I got a song! "Happy Together. then:) Oh. slept in a week. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. (lies down on floor) Hey. smiles. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . his eyes darting back and forth. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. but Bob says Casablanca. DONALD I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. He looks over at the clock. did exactly that. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. Mixed genres. Donald. DONALD Cool. (types. I've posted one over both our work areas. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Donald breaks the tension. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. 140 INT. Okay.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. EMPTY BEDROOM . Good night. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. Kaufman disappears upstairs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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