What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Front Line


Art Linson has produced a lot of movies, starting back in the 70s, and his hits include Car Wash, The Untouchables, Heat and Fight Club amongst others, as well a number of films that won’t appear in anyone’s top ten favourites, for good reason. It gives him a wealth of experience of draw on, so I was interested in his tales of Hollywood. In fact he even produced a movie loosely based on the book, which stars Robert De Niro, ironically, as he features in the book a few times.

I’ve read a number of film-related books over the years, including the legendary Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. As such, the book didn’t contain as many insights into the business as it would for other people, I’d read similar stories and knew the horror stories of studio executive decision making and how arbitrary it seems. It has long been proven that Goldman’s maxim of ‘Nobody knows anything’ is very true. Not that I blame studio execs for trying, they’re gambling with millions of dollars and, in some cases, the very existence of the studio. Their investors want to be assured decision are made using some sort of thought process with an eye to delivering a hit. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee.

The book does a good job of highlighting the fickle nature of the many different players in Hollywood, from studio execs to agents, from actors to directors. It provides some interesting insights to some big names. It’s worth a read, but if you’ve not read something like this before, I’d recommend taking a look at Goldman’s two books about the screen trade.

Browse books related by genre:

Reviewed: 31st August 2009