Rebels on the Backlot - Sharon Waxman
New York Times Hollywood correspondent Waxman has written a gritty, truthful study of six boundary-breaking young directors who revolutionized 1990s filmmaking and still represent a refreshing alternative to "cookie cutter scripts and cheap MTV imagery." Her full-blooded profiles introduce Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights), David Fincher (Fight Club), Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), David O. Russell (Three Kings) and Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich). Waxman shows these auteurs, who "wreaked havoc with traditional narrative form" and combined brutality with humor, as eccentric, frequently antisocial and hardheaded. Their stories make for compelling reading: Waxman dramatizes Russell's erratic, explosive nature in the book's most blistering episode, where the director loses his temper and has a fistfight with actor George Clooney on the set of Three Kings. Other chapters depict Tarantino's penchant for jettisoning close friends after achieving success and Soderbergh's unswerving loyalty to pals. These men possess a daring vision, which the author skillfully depicts, simultaneously offering an illuminating view of motion picture politics. Most of all, Waxman proffers assurance to artists with original voices that their ideas can reach the public if they maintain Fincher's attitude "Take me or leave me. My way or the highway" and possess a little luck. Photos.