KILLER INSTINCT by Jane Hamsher

KILLER INSTINCT

How Two Young Producers Took on Hollywood and Made the Most Controversial Film of the Decade
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 This lean, mean, scabrously honest account of the making of Natural Born Killers amply proves the truism that moviemaking is a ``controlled accident.'' What goes on behind the scenes of certain movies is often a better, more involving story than what appears on-screen. Such is certainly the case with the notorious Natural Born Killers. One of Quentin Tarantino's early scripts, it was optioned by two ambitious recent film-school graduates, Hamsher and Don Murphy. The script was optioned when Tarantino was still an unknown; later, a suddenly hot Tarantino decided that he didn't want the film to be made. His substantial efforts to stop Murphy and Hamsher (including bad- mouthing the pair to studios) were trumped, however, when Oliver Stone decided that he wanted to make this his next film. And that's when things really spun out of control, including long, drug-fueled location-scouting trips, a prison riot during shooting, and innumerable back-stabbings. Stone's preferred modus operandi involves elaborate mindgames, playing his crew members off against each other--purportedly to energize their creativity. The results were predictably chaotic and venomous. Rarely has a book by a Hollywood player (albeit a minor one) been so confessional and recklessly revealing, detailing just how mean and twisted, petty and vindictive, the movie industry can be: ``The world of Hollywood . . . belonged to the cantankerous sons of bitches who were willing to risk any humiliation, broach any authority, get on the phone and scream until they got what they wanted.'' Hamsher freely burns bridges left and right, viciously (though apparently justifiably) damning Tarantino, sideswiping Stone, lambasting agents and studio execs. Forget lunch. After this book, she'll be lucky to do a snack in Hollywood. But her recklessness is our gain: This compelling look behind the curtain should help dispel forever any fond illusions about the ``magic'' of movies. (35 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1997
ISBN: 0-7679-0074-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Broadway
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1997