Killer Instinct: How Two Young Producers Took on Hollywood and Made the Most Controversial Film of the Decade

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Broadway Books, 1997 - Performing Arts - 276 pages
2 Reviews
A shockingly candid, hilarious account of how two young producers broke into the Hollywood studio system--and survived the shark-eat-shark insanity to become Hollywood players.
Thousands of people dream about making it big in Hollywood, but almost all of them end up being eaten alive. When aspiring producer Jane Hamsher and her madman partner Don Murphy set up shop in Jane's dining room after graduating from film school, they were too naive to know that people like themselves--far removed from the Porsche-driving studio elite--should never succeed in the movie business.
Then Jane and Don stumbled upon a script for a film written by a geeky filmmaker-wannabe named Quentin Tarantino; it was called "Natural Born Killers, and they liked it so much they optioned it for the bargain price of $10,000. But, suddenly, after "Reservoir Dogs turned Tarantino into an overnight sensation, he and every major studio in town decided they wanted control of the script, pitting Jane and Don up against some of the meanest, toughest players in Hollywood.
This was only the beginning of their two-year roller-coaster ride through the ruthless world of studio pitbulls, idiotic film crew leeches, and unprecedented butt-kissing and back-stabbing. When Oliver Stone became hot to direct "NBK, Jane and Don could hardly believe their luck --but before they knew it, they found themselves enrolled in the "Oliver Stone School of Filmmaking," a maddening and mind-altering experience, even before the drugs, money, and fame. Throw Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, and a whole cast of outrageous characters into the picture and you've got not only the makings of a hit movie but a Hollywoodjoyride unlike any other.
From the script meetings to the movie set to the marketing and distribution process, "Killer Instinct takes you behind the scenes and provides an insider's look at the "New Hollywood"--told by one who learned how to survive it the hard way. It exposes how deals are really struck and stars are picked, and how the balance of power in Hollywood now favors the Quentin Tarantinos of the world who can add the "indie" cachet to big-budget monsters. Fresh, witty, and irreverent, "Killer Instinct provides an unprecedented look inside this wild and irresistible industry.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - smichaelwilson - LibraryThing

The key to a really great "Behind-The-Scenes" book is an impartial perspective, and that is one area this book falls short. Unfortunately, it isn't the only area. Jane Hamsher can possibly be forgiven ... Read full review

KILLER INSTINCT: How Two Young Producers Took on Hollywood and Made the Most Controversial Film of the Decade

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

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 ... Read full review



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How Hollywood Works
Janet Wasko
Limited preview - 2003
How Hollywood Works
Janet Wasko
Limited preview - 2003
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About the author (1997)

Jane Hamsher is a Hollywood producer currently based at Columbia Pictures.  She and her partner, Don Murphy, have numerous projects set up at the studios.  Their next film, Apt Pupil, based on the Stephen King novella, premieres in 1998.

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