An intimate memoir by the controversial and outspoken Oscar-winning director and screenwriter about his complicated New York childhood, volunteering for combat, and his struggles and triumphs making such films as Platoon, Midnight Express, and Scarface.
Before the international success of Platoon in 1986, Oliver Stone had been wounded as an infantryman in Vietnam, and spent years writing unproduced scripts while driving taxis in New York, finally venturing westward to Los Angeles and a new life. Stone, now 73, recounts those formative years with in-the-moment details of the high and low moments: We see meetings with Al Pacino over Stone’s scripts for Scarface, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July; the harrowing demon of cocaine addiction following the failure of his first feature, The Hand (starring Michael Caine); his risky on-the-ground research of Miami drug cartels for Scarface; his stormy relationship with The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino; the breathless hustles to finance the acclaimed and divisive Salvador; and tensions behind the scenes of his first Academy Award–winning film, Midnight Express.
Chasing the Light is a true insider’s look at Hollywood’s years of upheaval in the 1970s and ’80s.
Stone's autobiography is every bit the stylish, unapologetic, and at times self-aggrandizing document one would expect based on his flamboyant films. Stone describes his upbringing as that of a consummate boomer, raised by wildly contrasting parents a hustling Wall Street broker father and a French socialite mother. Volunteering for service in Vietnam after getting kicked out of Yale ("I remember staring at a long column of F's or was it zeros?"), Stone survived some vicious combat, then moved to N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side and drove a cab to support himself. After NYU film school (where Martin Scorsese taught him), he made an early splash as a screenwriter, winning an Oscar for Midnight Express in 1978, before the setback of his Hollywood directorial debut, the ill-received 1981 horror film The Hand. Writing Scarface (1983) was a comeback of sorts, even if the film initially received a poor critical reception. Then he went on a go-for-broke crusade to both write and direct more personal films, finally achieved with 1986's Salvador. Stone's subsequent hits, including JFK, Wall Street, and Platoon, receive short shrift here, and fans of those flicks will be left wishing Stone revisits them more extensively in a later volume. However, readers more interested in artists' early struggles than in their glory days will be fascinated.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I really enjoyed it, honest
Great insight and honest about the flaws