Hits, flops, and other illusions My fortysomething years in Hollywood

Edward Zwick

Book - 2024

"This heartfelt and wry career memoir from the director of Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall, About Last Night, and Glory, creator of the show Thirtysomething, and executive producer of My So-Called Life, gives a dishy, behind-the-scenes look at working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 791.430233/Zwick (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 5, 2024
autobiographies (literary works)
New York : Gallery Books 2024.
Main Author
Edward Zwick (author)
First Gallery Books hardcover edition
Physical Description
289 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
  • Introduction: Taking Note
  • Chapter 1. An Origins Story: Claire, Nina, Marshall, and the AFI, 1975
  • Chapter 2. The Learn-As-You-Earn School of Filmmaking: Family, 1978-1980
  • Chapter 3. The Year of Loving Dangerously: Special Bulletin and thirtysomething, 1982-1991
  • Chapter 4. The Anxiety of Influence: Drawing Fire and About Last Night, 1985-1986
  • Chapter 5. In Search of Glory: Glory, 1989
  • Chapter 6. The Nobility of Failure: Leaving Normal, 1991
  • Chapter 7. Julia, Harvey, and the Bard, Shakespeare in Love, 1991-1998
  • Chapter 8. The Griefs of a Man's Life: Legends of the Fall and My So-Called Life, 1993-1994
  • Chapter 9. Heroes: Courage Under Fire, 1996
  • Chapter 10. Politics, Pop Culture, and a Pyrrhic Victory: The Siege, 1998
  • Chapter 11. A War Won and Lost: Traffic, 2000
  • Chapter 12. If at First: Once and Again, 2000
  • Chapter 13. Gaijin: The Last Samurai, 2003
  • Chapter 14. The Child Is the Jewel: Blood Diamond, 2006
  • Chapter 15. Shadows of Valiant Ancestors: Defiance, 2008
  • Chapter 16. In Sickness and in Health: Love & Other Drugs, 2010
  • Chapter 17. Onward: Pawn Sacrifice, Jack Reacher, Trial by Fire, 2012-2020
Review by Booklist Review

Director, producer, and writer Zwick shares the highs and lows of his storied career in this lively and intimate memoir. After a turn as Woody Allen's assistant on the set of Love and Death, Zwick got his start in film school in the mid-1970s, where he met future director Marshall Herskovitz, who became a frequent collaborator and lifelong friend. Zwick's career gained momentum when he was hired to write for a network drama called Family, but it was creating the iconic series thirtysomething with Herskovitz that launched both men into the stratosphere. From there Zwick pursued multiple passion projects, directing films destined to become classics, like Glory and Legends of the Fall (though neither was without significant challenges), and enduring professional heartbreak when Harvey Weinstein swooped in and stole a project Zwick had spent years developing, Shakespeare in Love. Filled with both behind-the-scenes anecdotes, including his difficulties with Matthew Broderick on Glory and his attempts to wrangle a young Julia Roberts for Shakespeare in Love, and his pointed and insightful tips for directing and writing and thoughtful meditations on making a life in the arts, there's plenty to enjoy here for film buffs and aspiring creatives alike.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Last Samurai director Zwick debuts with a rollicking career retrospective that looks back at temperamental actors, vengeful studio heads, and the mysterious alchemy that governs great filmmaking. He recaps his triumphs, including the 1980s TV drama Thirtysomething; 1989's Civil War saga, Glory; and 1994's Legends of the Fall; as well as occasional flops, like the 1992 road odyssey Leaving Normal. Along the way, Zwick folds in plenty of showbiz gossip: Matthew Broderick insisted that the director let his mother revise the script for Glory; "I'll kill your whole family, you little fuck," Harvey Weinstein hissed at Zwick during a dispute over the producer credits for Shakespeare in Love. Though Zwick offers rich, funny dissections of Hollywood phoniness ("When an actor does something you don't like, never say, 'I have a better idea.' Say, 'You've just given me a great idea!' "), he's also alive to the emotional truths that can emerge from artifice, as when Denzel Washington cried during a particularly brutal scene in Glory: "That a single tear appeared and slid down his face, catching the light at the perfect moment, is the magic of movies." The result is a wildly entertaining portrait of moviemaking that combines wry humor with irrepressible passion. For film buffs, it's a must-read. Photos. Agents: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency, and John Burnham, Atlas Artists. (Feb.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

An accomplished director, screenwriter, and producer recalls some behind-the-scenes drama. After creating the hit 1980s TV show thirtysomething, Zwick directed a pre-superstar Denzel Washington in Glory, produced the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, and was trusted with big-budget vehicles for Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) and Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai). In this avuncular memoir, he recalls which parts of that success were stumbled upon or hard-fought, telling a few tales about his colleagues and himself. In 1982, he writes, thirtysomething came after spending "four years writing scripts no one wanted to make and directing TV that wasn't worth seeing." Shakespeare in Love spent years in production (Julia Roberts was originally slated for Gwyneth Paltrow's role) and was nearly sunk by the volcanic fury of Harvey Weinstein, who tried to undercut Zwick's production role. Glory was quite nearly undermined by star Matthew Broderick's domineering mother. None of the dish Zwick delivers is very spicy or surprising--DiCaprio likes women, Cruise is intense, Brad Pitt has an ego, Shia LaBeouf is mercurial--but it explains how easily personality clashes can derail a project and how a good director manages the difficult dance between art and commerce in an industry overflowing with narcissists. Getting sidetracked is simply part of the job: The author estimates that he took on "as many projects that died in utero as those that thrived and made it into the theaters." Zwick keeps his own ego out of the narrative--he even downplays his yearslong struggle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma--and chapters close with lists of advice for young filmmakers, which mostly boil down to "keep your ego in check," "expect the unexpected," and "Hollywood isn't fair." Throughout his career, Zwick has kept his sense of humor; regarding comedy, "no movie can be funny enough." A good-natured memoir of 1990s and 2000s show-running and filmmaking. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.