Synopses & Reviews
The 1990s saw a shock wave of dynamic new directing talent that took the Hollywood studio system by storm. At the forefront of that movement were six innovative and daring directors whose films pushed the boundaries of moviemaking and announced to the world that something exciting was happening in Hollywood, even as much of the industry was mired in mediocrity. Sharon Waxman of the New York Times
spent the decade covering these young filmmakers, and now in Rebels on the Backlot
, she tells this fascinating story by weaving together the lives and careers of:
- Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
- Steven Soderbergh (Traffic)
- David Fincher (Fight Club)
- Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights and Magnolia)
- David 0. Russell (Three Kings)
- Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich)
With their movies, these directors let the moviemaking establishment know that there was a new vanguard ready to take over from the previous generation, and that they were ready to shatter the accepted constraints of filmmaking to do it. Their films toyed with form and narrative, shocked with their explicit sex and violence, and dizzied audiences with surreal themes and images. In making their films, the rebel directors fought their way through a studio system that by the 1990s had become part of America's larger corporate culture, conglomerates brutally focused on the bottom line and not inclined to take artistic risks.
Waxman, who conducted more than one hundred interviews with actors, producers, executives, and the six directors themselves, has written a provocative and insightful behind-the-scenes account, a glimpse at the clash between the studio culture and the rebel spirit of artists working within it.
"Waxman's accounts...are as arresting as any of the indy scripts....Waxman's grasp of the interior of the studio world, and her ability to make the workings of closed-door deals comprehensible, raise her work from text book to something truly absorbing." Kirkus Reviews
"[R]iveting tales of Hollywood hubris....It's a fun, sometimes nasty read, although a bit sloppy with the facts in spots. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly
"[A] lively book with gossipy and readable stories about some obsessive guys who are as much rascals as rebels." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Terrific...wildly informative and readable about the plight of the biggest young talents in modern movies." Buffalo News
"Sharon Waxman's book Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System
, is rife with gossip, filling a similar vein as Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures
....All in all, while the book makes for some entertaining reading, and quite a few belly laughs, Rebels on the Backlot
is about as substantive as a 300-page issue of Premiere
magazine without either the ads or the fact checkers." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
New York Times Hollywood correspondent Sharon Waxman presents a revealing and page-turning account of the new generation of directors who are changing the face of modern filmmaking.
The 1990s saw a shock wave of dynamic new directing talent that took the Hollywood studio system by storm. At the forefront of that movement were six innovative and daring directors whose films pushed the boundaries of moviemaking and announced to the world that something exciting was happening in Hollywood. Sharon Waxman of the New York Timesspent the decade covering these young filmmakers, and in Rebels on the Backlotshe weaves together the lives and careers of Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction; Steven Soderbergh, Traffic; David Fincher, Fight Club; Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights; David O. Russell, Three Kings; and Spike Jonze, Being John Malkovich.
By the Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times, Rebels on the Backlot
is a revealing and page–turning account of the new generation of film directors who are changing the face of today's Hollywood.
Very much as the 1970s gave rise to a defining group of filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, the 1990s witnessed a new generation who captured the imaginations of audiences and opened the purse strings of the Hollywood film machine. Rebels on the Backlot follows six top–level film directors from the origins of their careers through the making and release of their signature films. They are: Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights), David Fincher (Fight Club), Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) and David O. Russell (Three Kings). The book uses the development, writing, shooting, editing and release of each director's major film to explore the lives and struggles each of them faced. It will dip in and out of each filming experience, drawing in the stories of other figures along the way, creating a chronological portrait of contemporary Hollywood and the rebel generation of the 1990s. This is also a story of an emerging community of talented artists –– directors, writers, actors of young Hollywood –– who supported each other, burn with envy at one another's success, swap girlfriends and boyfriends and ultimately spur each other to greater accomplishments.
About the Author
Sharon Waxman is a Hollywood correspondent for the New York Times, and previously was a correspondent for the Washington Post covering the entertainment industry. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family.