Dangerous Company: Dark Tales from Tinseltown

Overview

In Hollywood, reality always teeters on the verge of ction. Outlandish paydays encounter outsize egos; fading beauties ght desperately to retain an illusion of youth; moguls plot and feud while bitter enemies air-kiss over lunch at the Ivy. The stakes are higher than anywhere else, and the dreams are crazier. No one else can capture the insanity like Peter Bart, the editor-in-chief of the showbiz bible, Variety. Bart has presided over the follies and iniquities of the business for many years, observing the ups ...
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Overview

In Hollywood, reality always teeters on the verge of ction. Outlandish paydays encounter outsize egos; fading beauties ght desperately to retain an illusion of youth; moguls plot and feud while bitter enemies air-kiss over lunch at the Ivy. The stakes are higher than anywhere else, and the dreams are crazier. No one else can capture the insanity like Peter Bart, the editor-in-chief of the showbiz bible, Variety. Bart has presided over the follies and iniquities of the business for many years, observing the ups and downs of the players with detached, knowing amusement. As Cindy Adams recently proclaimed in the New York Post, 'If Peter doesn't know it, it never happened.' Dangerous Company resonates as though it came from some of Hollywood's best and juiciest behind-the-scenes gossip. A literary agent covers up a surreal screenwriting scandal in order to close on a commission. A studio lawyer tries to reconcile a director-producer rift using an unspeakable secret about their children as leverage. And a stranger brokers a suspicious deal that lands him facedown in his own pool. Fascinating and pitch-perfect, full of masterfully crafted twists, Dangerous Company reads like Nathanael West crossed with Roald Dahl. And just to keep us on our toes, Bart throws in a few clues that may lead us to believe that what we're reading is, well, maybe not ction after all.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Hollywood always prefers its fiction a clef, so if there's a vaguely gossipy quality to Dangerous Company, Peter Bart's collection of interrelated short stories, that just means the author knows his target demo. — Jeff Turrentine
Publishers Weekly
Unless Bart, editor in chief of Variety and author of several books about the movie biz (The Gross; Shoot Out; etc.), plans to put out a companion volume of "Light Tales," the 13 interconnected stories in this entertaining, cutting collection will stand as consummate cautionary tales about why not to work in Hollywood. Many of the men and women Bart observes here with a clear eye are venal and vain, nearly monstrous but for the foibles, frailties and pettinesses that reveal their deep, flawed humanity. The connective tissue is provided in the first story, "The Founder," in which a real estate agent explains how she transformed a neglected residential corner of Hollywood into Starlight Terrace; the following tales feature residents of that gated community, and two of the stories bring many of them together for neighborhood association meetings. In the longest entry, "The Ghostwriter," a young female William Morris agent learns that the new screenplay by her up-and-coming writer was in fact penned by his arrogant father, who plans to use the son as his face for youth-obsessed Hollywood; the agent decides to endorse the deception. In the next tale, "The Makeover," a 52-year-old actress whose visage has been frozen by Botox injections is about to lose a starring gig until her manager proves that she can still emote by driving her into a towering rage and videotaping her fit. And so it goes, as Tinseltown types maneuver, backstab, manipulate and cajole, some with compassion, many not, in stories that are brisk, smartly told, penetrating and, at times, clever enough to seduce the reader into schadenfreude, as in "Power Play," in which an Ovitz-like entrepreneur gets his comeuppance. Bart knows Hollywood like nobody's business, and he exposes it here in all its glorious bizarreness. (Nov. 26) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this collection of interconnected tales, Bart, editor in chief of moviedom's bible, Variety, chronicles events in the fictional hilltop enclave of Starlight Terrace, Los Angeles. The homeowners' association is a who's who of actors, attorneys, producers, directors, financiers, and agents, and the stories serve as a microcosm of their tightly linked, roller-coaster lives. Included are a surreal screenwriting scandal, a mysterious late-night filming on the gated drive, a dark secret surrounding questionable adoptions, an agent's painful attempt to reveal his homosexuality, and a death reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard. Bart's job has, no doubt, provided him with rich material. Following recent works by other Hollywood insiders (e.g., Robert Cort's Action! and Steven Bochco's Death by Hollywood), this book should appeal to audiences eager for Tinseltown tell-alls. Recommended for popular fiction collections.-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Variety editor Bart's first foray into self-identified fiction is a cycle of stories featuring the residents and hangers-on at Hollywood's fashionable Starlight Terrace. "This is Hollywood . . . everything's a little on the bogus side," says Zsa Zsa Gabor-inspired realtor Evan Vaine, née Vajna, inventor and promoter of Starlight Terrace. And indeed nothing could be more bogus than the screenwriting talents of Sidney Garman, the former golden child who's fronting for a surprising collaborator, or the Botox-inhibited facial expressions of Denise Turley, whose 52-year-old face has lost more than its lines in her latest desperate bid for a role. Todd Plover, coming out to the production company he serves as co-president, is greeted by sympathy as shallow as it is widespread; Tom Patch, the heartthrob who's trying to bury his dread approach to the big Four-O by flirting with still another flight attendant, is ludicrously insincere; a son of Middle America gets a trendy ethnic makeover only to be rejected as "too ethnic"; and every drink scalawag agent Justin Braun shares with his ex-partner only sinks him deeper into trouble. Occasionally, Bart touches deeper chords, as with the conflicted censor determined to take an indiscreet shot out of an indie film that moved her or the two adopted teens who share more than a sex life and a congenital medical problem. For the most part, though, he hugs the surface so resolutely that the stories' main hook is their teasing intimation of real-world models from Kevin Costner to Lew Wasserman. Only "Hard Bargain," in which a producer's theft of a down-and-out film doctor's lover conceals a twist dangerous to all hands, stands on its own as a successfulstory. Proof that truth must indeed be stranger than fiction, since tales like these, for all their brisk, sad veneer, couldn't stand on their own for a minute without the tabloid promise of real-life prototypes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401351908
  • Publisher: Miramax Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Pages: 208

Table of Contents

The Founder 1
The Ghostwriter 7
The Makeover 41
Day of Reckoning 57
The Neighbors I 73
The Arbiter 81
Second Coming 107
Friend of the Family 121
The Neighbors II 141
Dangerous Company 149
Power Play 161
Hard Bargain 175
The Neighbors III 191
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