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Shagan, who has written screenplays (Voyage of the Damned, Save the Tiger) and thrillers (Pillars of Fire, Vendetta, etc.), puts them together in a funny, fast-moving, Hollywood insider novel about a studio stock scam. The conspirators are a tough, old syndicate boss and the top executives at one of the few studios not in the hands of foreign investors. The conspiracy is fairly simple. Backed with billions of flawlessly laundered dollars, a rapacious European investor will make a bid for the studio, offering double the current price of the stock. The executives, having loaded up on the depressed stock, will unload, netting billions. The bid will then be withdrawn. No one will be hurt--except the public and the team of filmmakers assembling in Spain to make an old-fashioned epic picture about the Spanish Civil War. In order to provide the bidder with an excuse to back out of his offer, the cynical studio head has destined the film for failure, starting with the selection of a reformed heroin addict as producer. The remaining nails in the film's coffin are a lunatic director, an ancient screenwriter, an alcoholic priapic male lead, and an old-fashioned egomaniac actor in the secondmost critical role. The plot looks like a sure thing until the conspirators realize, to their horror, that the filmmakers have all taken the pledge and begun to make a truly fabulous movie. If it all sounds a bit like The Producers, it is--but no matter. The fun is in the Hollywood office scenes, the filming, and the huge cast of amusing characters. Movie fans will find themselves dying to see the film.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster