My new hero and The Hollywood Economist

“Paramount studio head Robert Evans has described [screenwriter Robert Towne] as ‘lethargic, scattered, perpetually late.’ ”

Towne is my new hero.

The quote is from Edward Jay Epstein’s The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, which is fascinating throughout, though not as much as his newer The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies, which shares much of the same DNA (by which I mean anecdotes and facts) and goes a long way towards explaining why so many movies are so awful. It also shows how Hollywood is about deals just as much as hedge funds are, how studios use those hedge funds, and how studios need to project an aura of profligacy while counting down to the last dollar. One thing of many that I didn’t know: how vital insurance companies are to making movies.

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