Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bambi vs. Godzilla

So, I'm reading Bambi vs. Godzilla by David Mamet. Subtitled, On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business.

Mamet writes books, plays, scripts, and has been an actor, director, and producer, too. He's done some terrific stuff. (You martial arts fans might know him from his TV series, The Unit. Or for the upcoming movie Redbelt, which he wrote and directed, about MMA, and which has a slew of well-known fighters and martial arts guys in it, including Danny Inosanto ...

The title of this recent book comes from the brief animated movie classic, Bambi Meets Godzilla, featured up top.

Mamet is a lyrical and accomplished author, and if you have any desire to hear about how Hollywood works from somebody who knows, this is a great read.

Early on, he talks about producers, and says, yes, there are good ones. He tells a story about Otto Preminger, and the making of Exodus. Preminger told Mamet he was shooting the movie in Israel, and he needed ten thousand extras for a crowd scene, but he didn't have the budget to hire them.

What did you do? Mamet asked.

I charged them. Put up posters all over town -- BE IN A MOVIE -- TEN SHEKELS!

No problem filling the square with warm bodies.

Mamet's comment? Now that's what he calls a producer ...


Kai Jones said...

Isn't Mamet the one who recently wrote a widely-circulated essay on how he's turned from being a progressive or liberal into a conservative?

Steve Perry said...

The piece, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal,'" says what its title proclaims -- he's thinking and not being knee-jerk.

Way I read it, he hasn't much changed his views about much. The "can't-we-all-just-get-along?" trope and somehow-things-manage-to-get-
-done-sometimes attitude is there, but I don't see that he declared himself to be pro-Bush, pro-war, nor anti-union and an admirer of the robber barons and the corporate way.

Looks more like he's tweaking both sides to me.