Monster:Living Off The Big Screen

by John Gregory Dunne
5/5 This is the cautionary tale of how 8 years and 27 draft scripts turned Golden Girl, the biography of TV anchorwoman Jessica Savitch into Up Close And Personal the 1996 Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle.

Humourous, documentary-accurate, this is the screenwriters’ revenge. John Gregory Donne tells how screenwriters, in this particular case he and his wife Joan Didion, are at one and the same time primary and fundamental to the Hollywood system while being regarded as a curse to be borne, hacks for hire. Monster is the inside story of the directors, producers, agents, lawyers, et al.  who make the writer’s life a misery. It’s not a tell-all in the salacious sense but it does tell it like it is. I was going to say forget the glamour but there’s plenty of name-dropping, the Dunnes being writers of note in Hollywood and literary and journalistic circles.

This is pretty much autobiographical of the eight years of writing. If you want to get a Hollywood inside story this is equally enlightening and entertaining. Highly recommended.

Into radio and books, even better when they come together in BBC radio drama adaptations. Mostly thrillers and crime drama from Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie to Kathy Reichs and many others.

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Posted in culture, Film

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