A taut and terrifying thriller about the lengths to which we'll go to make our dreams come true
Hedda Chase is a top-flight executive producer at Gladiator Films, fast-tracked in the business since she graduated from Yale. An aggressive businesswoman, she recently pulled the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors. The screenwriter on the project was Hugh Waters, a wannabe with a dead-end marriage and a day job at an insurance company. This script was his ticket out-until Hedda tampered with his plans, claiming his violence was over the top, his premise not credible, and his ending implausible. Hugh decides to prove otherwise by staging his script's ending and casting Hedda Chase as the victim. He flies to Los Angeles and finds Hedda, kidnaps her, and locks her in the trunk of her vintage BMW in the parking lot at LAX. He leaves the keys in the ignition, the parking ticket on the dash, and lets "destiny" take its course.
This is the set-up for a troubling, smart, deadly look at women and images of women, at media as a high-stakes game and the selling of a war as theatre. (One key character is an Iraq veteran, and one of Hedda's projects is a film about women in Iraq). Brundage's Los Angeles is a casual battleground that trades carelessly in lives and dreams. As always, her characters are complicated, surprising, and intense in this high velocity, provocative novel.
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Hollywood goes Hollyweird in this intense, provocative thriller about power, war, and the portrayal of women in film from Brundage (Somebody Else's Daughter). When Hedda Chase, a producer at Gladiator Films, rejects The Adjuster, a violently sexist movie script by insurance underwriter Hugh Waters, Hugh makes a special trip from his home in New Jersey to L.A. After locating where she lives, he confronts Hedda in her driveway and demands an explanation. Unhappy with her response, he drugs and stuffs Hedda in the trunk of her vintage BMW. He drives the car to an LAX parking lot and walks away. Hugh proceeds to befriend Hedda's boyfriend, married documentary filmmaker Tom Foster, and otherwise make a new life for himself, ditching his wife and job back in Jersey while Hedda barely clings to life. Brundage brilliantly shifts back and forth between Hugh, Hedda, and Denny, an injured Iraq war veteran, who plays a key role in Hedda's fate. The action culminates in illuminating revelations about the intersection of theater with reality.