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q. How did you come to put this collection together?
a. I read a lot – magazines, newspapers, articles on the Internet, and I began taking notes of amusing comments about Hollywood, as I’m intrigued by anything having to do with the subject. Once I had many such quotes – and at one time I had over 2,000 – I began sorting them by theme. It took some time, but the project came together rather easily. I had a lot of fun doing it.
q. What are some of the themes of the book?
a. The book addresses dreams of stardom for without the dreams it isn’t going to happen. There’s a lot of effort involved, all the waiting, sometimes years. Then there’s the payoff, the Oscars, although not everyone thinks it’s worthwhile or meaningful, except as a means to the next big role and a bigger payoff financially.
Actors also discuss their acting technique, their body of work, their looks, and their lives in Hollywood. But the book isn’t only about them. Directors talk about directing and screenwriters about being the lowest of the low, except possibly for agents, on the Tinseltown totem pole.
q. I noticed that your chapter headings are also movie titles. Was this intentional?
a. Yes, the question of whether art imitates life or vice versa interests me. While I wanted to focus on what celebrities have to say about their experience in Hollywood, I didn’t want to ignore the movies themselves. I also have quotes from the movies at the beginning of each section that illustrates what that section is about.
q. Can you give an example?
a. Of course. In a section titled “Rugrats Go Wild,” in which actors relate the good life they lead in Hollywood, there’s a quote from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in which Robert Downey Jr. plays a small time thief. “Now, get this. They’re screen testing me. Is that wild?” he exclaims. “One minute I’m lifting Xboxes in the East Village. The next I’m sipping champagne in L.A.”
Other movies cited include It’s a Wonderful Life, Any Which Way You Can, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The book title, Hollywood or Bust, plays off a 1956 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie in which the guys take a cross-country ride to, where else, Hollywood.
q. What movie stars are quoted in Hollywood or Bust?
a. I cover everyone from the silent movie era through the Golden Age of Hollywood to celebrities today, whether they’re on the silver screen, the small screen, or behind the scenes. There are quotes from Charlie Chaplin as well as Woody Allen, John Wayne as well as Clint Eastwood, plus the usual suspects including Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansson, Billy Wilder, Quentin Tarantino, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lindsay Lohan.
Stars from the Twilight Saga, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, also have their say.
q. Do you have any favorite quotes?
a. I have so many of them, but I particularly enjoy the classics.
“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul,” Marilyn Monroe once stated, and, in the minds of many, the sentiment sounds true today.
Still, as Quentin Tarantino points out, “You need to move to fucking Hollywood because that’s where it is happening.” He does have a way with words, doesn’t he?
q. Do you have plans for other books like this?
a. Yes, I’m working on several projects. I certainly have enough material for a second volume of Hollywood or Bust. Tales of two other cities, Las Vegas and New York City, are also in my sights.