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2 Burnside Film and Television- Production Biographies

The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks

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The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks Cover

ISBN13: 9780547134703
ISBN10: 0547134703
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

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For sixty years, through Oscars and earthquakes, the lineup of Hollywoods majors varied little, with Universal, Warner Bros., Fox, and Paramount heading the list. Then came the circus maximus created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg (who gave us The Lion King). Nothing in decades had approached the excitement surrounding the empire called DreamWorks, where hype, glory, and investors vying to kick in billions gave way to blowups, battles, and betrayals worthy of The Godfather.

 Nicole LaPorte reveals for the first time the delicious truth of what happened behind the scenes. From a previously unequaled vantage, we see the slightly otherworldly Spielberg, so rich and famous that the borders of reality, much less his admiring new partners, can barely contain him. As Steven spends, offers lucrative contracts to friends, and makes blockbusters for other companies, Katzenberg attempts to create an animation kingdom that will become the new companys cash cow and annihilate his old rivals at Disney. (His shock comes when the one movie he does not micromanage — the tale of a green ogre called Shrek — becomes a four-billion-dollar franchise while his own projects tank one by one.) After hes charmed investors (including Microsofts Paul Allen), Geffen hovers above the fray in his Gulfstream IV, occasionally jetting in to zap enemies who violate his rules of business, a code less flexible than omerta.[add accent grave to a]

There are clashes between Spielbergs blue-jeaned troops and Katzenbergs steely, Disney-trained warriors, and the seduction of stars such as George Clooney and Nicole Kidman (who cant believe the mess made of DreamWorks first movie, The Peacemaker). LaPorte shows us the making of Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan, American Beauty, and Gladiator, a box-office crowd pleaser whose star, Russell Crowe, threatened homicide in bizarre late-night phone tirades. Behind the high jinks, however, is the very serious business of producing films, among Americas biggest exports. Yet we watch as the partners alternately obsess and ignore their company as it burns through billions. We see Geffen showing his mettle against superagent Michael Ovitz, and staging a fireworks display during the negotiations that ultimately took DreamWorks to Paramount and then to Disney.

Here are three larger-than-life personalities, moguls that hark back to the days of Mayer and Goldwyn, making moves that remind us that in Hollywood, big business calls for memorable performances.

Synopsis:

LaPorte goes behind the hype to reveal how Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg joined forces to create DreamWorks.

Synopsis:

The cinematic saga of DreamWorks where three Hollywood legends — alternately friends and rivals, brilliant and savage - created a studio which proved that in Hollywood business is always a grand performance.

Synopsis:

Former Variety reporter Nicole LaPorte draws from years of inside-the-filmmakers-studio access to spin a smart, gritty tell-all about a clash of industry titans in The Men Who Would Be King.

 

DreamWorks—the mega-million-dollar brainchild of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen—heralded a new age of entertainment empires when it launched in 1994, and their competitive strategy was fierce. For avid business readers, among others, seeing David Geffen in action as he seduces investors like Microsoft's Paul Allen and takes on CAA's Michael Ovitz is worth the price of admission. Their creative battles cost them untold billions on the way to the box office, but this is no rags-to-riches story: in fact, as they grow DreamWorks into one of the most influential film brands operating today, these rich men get richer, even as the stakes get higher.

Synopsis:

For sixty years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged.Then came Hollywoods Circus Maximuscreated by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion Kingan entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte,who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened.

Readers will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPortes fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywoods bizarre rules of business.We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielbergs troops and Katzenbergs warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan.We watch as the studio burns through billions, its rich owners get richer, and everybody else suffers.We see Geffen seducing investors likeMicrosofts Paul Allen, showing his steel against CAAs Michael Ovitz, and staging fireworks during negotiations with Paramount and Disney. Here is Hollywood, up close, glamorous, and gritty.

 

About the Author

NICOLE LAPORTE is a former reporter for Variety, where she covered the Hollywood movie industry for several years. She wrote "The Rules of Hollywood" column for the Los Angeles Times Magazine and has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Observer, and W Magazine. She is currently a West Coast reporter for the Daily Beast.

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Lynne Perednia, July 18, 2010 (view all comments by Lynne Perednia)
Once upon a time, three boy-men thought they were pretty good at what they did and pretty important. So did the rest of the world. Then they joined forces, formed DreamWorks SKG and it all fell apart.

Putting the story of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen together in an easily understood format, despite a huge cast, special effects and multiple storylines, is former Variety reporter Nicole LaPorte. Her book is as detailed as the great entertainment biz reporting of the 80's and 90's by Connie Bruck, Bryan Burrough and Ken Auletta in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

All the background noise fades, though, in making clear that the broken promise of this would-be indepedent Hollywood live film, animation, TV, music and game behemoth came down to the personal stories of its founders.

LaPorte shows through carefully documented reporting that Spielberg and Katzenberg, creative and successful, were dependent on father figures in their careers and floundered without them. Katzenberg and Geffen were motivated by the desire for revenge. Katzenberg went to court for millions after Disney head Michael Eisner kicked him out even after he shepherded in the great animated film renaissance. Geffen was determined to destroy uber agent Michael Ovitz, who destroyed his own career when he went to Disney and ended up with the ultimate golden parachute of $140 million for trying to run the company into the ground. (And, yes, it's easy to see how rewarding this kind of behavior has led to all kinds of messes in business far beyond Hollywood.)

It's the cult of personal relationships, who is close to the big three -- especially Spielberg -- and the problems of putting ego and being right ahead of everything else that sunk DreamWorks. From the beginning, the enterprise was probably doomed when people were not named to specific jobs, but were supposed to drift toward the jobs that suited them best. As a single creative person that may work, but when works of art that are collaborative projects are at stake, confusion reigned.

That LaPorte can spell out how this happened without condemning the big three, or their principal employees, makes this book valuable as the first draft of the latest chapter of Hollywood history. This is old-fashioned journalism that chronicles what happened without the spin. The who, what and why of how individual films came to be made or not, and the fates of the other divisions of DreamWorks, build into a coherent whole. Putting together the technical and political stories of how the first Shrek film came to be made is a prime example of how well LaPorte weaves together complex maneuverings.

The story of what happened to DreamWorks doesn't chronicle only the hubris, talent and mistakes of Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen. It also shows what Hollywood was like during its last heyday before it was completely taken over by multinational corporations interested only in bigger and better profits. This is the story of Hollywood excess as the 20th century closed and a new age began. It's doubtful we'll see its like again.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780547134703
Subtitle:
An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
Author:
Laporte, Nicole
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
Film & Video - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Spielberg, Steven
Subject:
Geffen, David
Subject:
Telecommunications
Subject:
Industries - Media & Communications Industries
Subject:
General Business & Economics
Subject:
Film and Television-Reference
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20100504
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
no art
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.68 lb

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Directors
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Production » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Reference
Business » Communication
Business » General
Engineering » Communications » Telephony

The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547134703 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , LaPorte goes behind the hype to reveal how Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg joined forces to create DreamWorks.
"Synopsis" by ,
The cinematic saga of DreamWorks where three Hollywood legends — alternately friends and rivals, brilliant and savage - created a studio which proved that in Hollywood business is always a grand performance.

"Synopsis" by , Former Variety reporter Nicole LaPorte draws from years of inside-the-filmmakers-studio access to spin a smart, gritty tell-all about a clash of industry titans in The Men Who Would Be King.

 

DreamWorks—the mega-million-dollar brainchild of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen—heralded a new age of entertainment empires when it launched in 1994, and their competitive strategy was fierce. For avid business readers, among others, seeing David Geffen in action as he seduces investors like Microsoft's Paul Allen and takes on CAA's Michael Ovitz is worth the price of admission. Their creative battles cost them untold billions on the way to the box office, but this is no rags-to-riches story: in fact, as they grow DreamWorks into one of the most influential film brands operating today, these rich men get richer, even as the stakes get higher.

"Synopsis" by , For sixty years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged.Then came Hollywoods Circus Maximuscreated by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion Kingan entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte,who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened.

Readers will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPortes fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywoods bizarre rules of business.We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielbergs troops and Katzenbergs warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan.We watch as the studio burns through billions, its rich owners get richer, and everybody else suffers.We see Geffen seducing investors likeMicrosofts Paul Allen, showing his steel against CAAs Michael Ovitz, and staging fireworks during negotiations with Paramount and Disney. Here is Hollywood, up close, glamorous, and gritty.

 

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