Backstory 5: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1990s / Edition 1

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Patrick McGilligan continues his celebrated interviews with exceptional screenwriters in Backstory 5, focusing on the 1990s. The thirteen featured writers—Albert Brooks, Jean-Claude Carrière, Nora Ephron, Ronald Harwood, John Hughes, David Koepp, Richard LaGravenese, Barry Levinson, Eric Roth, John Sayles, Tom Stoppard, Barbara Turner, and Rudy Wurlitzer—are not confined to the 1990s, but their engrossing, detailed, and richly personal stories create, in McGilligan’s words, “a snapshot of a profession in motion.” Emphasizing the craft of writing and the process of collaboration, this new volume looks at how Hollywood is changing to meet new economic and creative challenges. Backstory 5 explores how these writers come up with their ideas, how they go about adapting a stage play or work of fiction, how they organize and structure their work, and much more.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"McGilligan has done a great service by compiling . . . interviews with screenwriters. . . . Their thoughts on the filmmaking process, and their candid stories about experiences in the trenches, make for good reading and valuable reference."--Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy

"Illuminating . . . I've long found Pat's Backstory volumes a treasury of information about Hollywood's craft practices. Every conversation yields ideas about structure, style, and working methods."--David Bordwell Blog

"Intelligent talk on writing, filmmaking and the movie industry."

Library Journal
A premier writer of historical thrillers, Atkins (Devil's Garden; Wicked City) takes his readers back to the 1930s in this mad romp through the South and Midwest following George "Machine Gun" Kelly (1900–54) as he plans and executes his ultimate caper. A moonshine runner-turned-bank robber, Kelly plans a final job: the kidnapping and ransom of Oklahoma oil magnate Charles Urshel. Neither the meanest nor the cleverest of gangsters, Kelly nevertheless pulls off the perfect abduction, only to see it fall apart at the seams as his gangster friends manipulate to cut themselves into the action, his wife undercuts him for her own ends, and a persistent FBI agent stalks him relentlessly, closing the net ever tighter. It is a precocious 12-year-old who ultimately provides the key to Kelly's capture and conviction. VERDICT This tough, boisterous, lustful tale of a would-be playboy miscast as villain compares to the best of Max Allan Collins or Elmore Leonard and will appeal to adult readers who like their gangster stories based on fact.—Thomas L. Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Libs., Carbondale
Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy - Leonard Maltin

“McGilligan has done a great service by compiling . . . interviews with screenwriters. . . . Their thoughts on the filmmaking process, and their candid stories about experiences in the trenches, make for good reading and valuable reference.”
David Bordwell Blog

“Illuminating . . . I’ve long found Pat’s Backstory volumes a treasury of information about Hollywood’s craft practices. Every conversation yields ideas about structure, style, and working methods.” - Dave Luhrssen

“Intelligent talk on writing, filmmaking and the movie industry.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520260399
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick McGilligan, who teaches film at Marquette University, edited the previous four volumes of Backstory, all published by UC Press. He is the author of many books about film, including Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light and the New York Times Notable Book, George Cukor: A Double Life.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Me Generation Everyman Albert Brooks Gavin Smith 5

Breaking the Rules Jean-Claude Carrière Mikael Colville-Andersen 21

Feminist with A Funny Bone Nora Ephron Patrick McGilligan 34

Imagination Ronald Harwood Patrick McGilligan 44

Straight Outta Shermer John Hughes William Ham 60

Sincerity David Koepp Patrick McGilligan 71

A Writer Under the Influence Richard Lagravenese Tom Matthews 90

The Journey Barry Levinson Patrick McGilligan 113

Pride Of Authorship Eric Roth Patrick McGilligan 134

The Nonconformist John Sayles Nick Dawson 169

Adventures in Movies Tom Stoppard Vincent Lobrutto 189

Free Spirit Barbara Turner Patrick McGilligan 205

Questing Rudy Wurlitzer Lee Hill 221

About the Contributors 235

General Index 237

Index of Films, Plays, and Books 247

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