Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Movie madness

A couple of times recently, I've read a book review and thought to myself "oh, I must get that". Only today did it dawn on me that, on each occasion, the articles have been about the same book.

It's not a scholarly tome - far from it. In fact it's the memoirs of Hollywood nutjob Joe Eszterhas - screenwriter of Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Sliver. These are not, it is safe to say, among my favourite films.

However, his caustic diatribes make for great review quotes if nothing else. Here are a few of my favourites:
  • "I'm jealous that Bill Goldman has won two Oscars and I've won none… But I bet Bill Goldman is jealous that I've bedded Sharon Stone."
  • "One man wrote War And Peace; 35 screenwriters wrote The Flintstones."
  • "Always go to a pitch meeting with a witness."
  • "I've never been nominated for an Oscar but Jon Bon Jovi asked me to fly to Budapest, Hungary, with him and introduce the band onstage in the Hungarian language." (this is possibly the best non-sequitur in history)

    But my absolute, absolute favourite bit of the book has only been paraphrased in reviews. It concerns Flashdance, a film where Eszterhas acted as script doctor.

    Apparently, he wrote a hugely complex, cinematic dance sequence into the film incorporating some of the latest street dancing techniques of the day (this was 1983, so it was probably that dance where people pretended to be a robot picking up a can of Fanta).

    Unfortunately, he says, actress Jennifer Beals wasn't a very good dancer. They brought in several qualified professionals to act as a body double for these new moves, but none of them could pull them off. The only person who could was a man. Luckily, he agreed to shave his legs and don a leotard so that the sequence could be filmed. But he refused to shave off his moustache.

    And so, if you slow down that iconic dance sequence at the end of the movie, you will see a moustachioed male dancer spinning around in a skimpy leotard.

    I'll give £20 to the first person who can prove this on youtube.


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