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Backstory 4

Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s

Patrick McGilligan (Editor), Patrick McGilligan (Introduction)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 434 pages
ISBN: 9780520245181
January 2006
$34.95, £27.00
Continuing Patrick McGilligan's highly acclaimed series on Hollywood screenwriters, these engrossing, informative, provocative interviews give wonderfully detailed and personal stories from veteran screenwriters of the seventies and eighties focusing on their craft, their lives, and their profession. Backstory 4 is a riveting insider's look at how movies get made; a rich perspective on many of the great movies, directors, and actors of the seventies and eighties; and an articulate, forthright commentary on the art and the business of screenwriting.

The screenwriters interviewed for this volume include well-known Oscar winners as well as cult filmmakers, important writers who were also distinguished directors, and key practitioners of every commercial genre. These writers have worked with Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Clint Eastwood, and other film giants of the so-called New Hollywood. The stories of their collaborations—some divine, some disastrous—provide some of the most fascinating material in this volume. They also discuss topics including how they got started writing screenplays, their working routines, their professional relationships, their influences, and the work of other major writers and directors.

Backstory 4 features interviews with Robert Benton, Larry Cohen, Blake Edwards, Walter Hill, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Lawrence Kasdan, Elmore Leonard, Paul Mazursky, Nancy Meyers, John Milius, Frederic Raphael, Alvin Sargent, and Donald E. Westlake.

Robert Benton: The New Traditionalist
Interview by Christian Keathley
Larry Cohen: Manic Energy
Interview by Patrick McGilligan
Blake Edwards: Jumping Around
Interview by Bill Krohn
Walter Hill: Last Man Standing
Interview by Patrick McGilligan
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: Out of India
Interview by Vincent LoBrutto
Lawrence Kasdan: A Humanist in Hollywood
Interview by Graham Fuller
Elmore Leonard: The Hot Kid
Interview by Patrick McGilligan
Paul Mazursky: A Map of the Heart
Interview by Nat Segaloff
Nancy Meyers: Late Bloomer
Interview by Fred Topel
John Milius: The Good Fights
Interview by Nat Segaloff
Frederic Raphael: Renaissance Man
Interview by John Baxter
Alvin Sargent: Pursuit and Destination
Interview by Patrick McGilligan
Donald E. Westlake: The Worst That Could Happen
Interview by Patrick McGilligan

Bibliographic Notes
About the Contributors
General Index
Index of Films, Plays, and Books
Patrick McGilligan, who teaches film at Marquette University, edited the three previous Backstory volumes, all published by the University of California Press. He is author of the Edgar-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003), Clint: The Life and Legend (2002), and many other books about film, including George Cukor: A Double Life (1991) and Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast (1997), both New York Times Notable Books.
"Backstory 4 lives up to the high standards of the previous volumes, providing us with intimate, funny, insightful conversations with the highly articulate and film-literate screenwriters and writer-directors of many of the most memorable American films from the 1970s and 1980s, the era of the movie brats, the cult film, and the blockbuster. Each interview is a revelation. Both the interviewers and the subjects are great company. Editor Patrick McGilligan has done it again." —Matthew Bernstein, editor of Controlling Hollywood

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