Writers on Film

11/16/2022

Sam Wasson's Hooray for Hollywood

Season 1, Ep. 82
The real story of Hollywood as told by such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Frank Capra, Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Harold Lloyd, and nearly four hundred others, assembled from the American Film Institute’s treasure trove of interviews, reveals a fresh history of the American movie industry from its beginnings to today. From the archives of the American Film Institute comes a unique picture of what it was like to work in Hollywood from its beginnings to its present day. Gleaned from nearly three thousand interviews, involving four hundred voices from the industry, Hollywood: The Oral History, lets a reader “listen in” on candid remarks from the biggest names in front of the camera—Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Harold Lloyd—to the biggest behind it—Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Jordan Peele, as well as the lesser known individuals that shaped what was heard and seen on screen: musicians, costumers, art directors, cinematographers, writers, sound men, editors, make-up artists, and even script timers, messengers, and publicists. The result is like a conversation among the gods and goddesses of film: lively, funny, insightful, historically accurate and, for the first time, authentically honest in its portrait of Hollywood. It’s the insider’s story.  Legendary film scholar Jeanine Basinger and New York Times bestselling author Sam Wasson, both acclaimed storytellers in their own right, have undertaken the monumental task of digesting these tens of thousands of hours of talk and weaving it into a definitive portrait of workaday Hollywood.  
11/2/2022

Mark Searby on the Deliriously Funny Eddie Murphy

Season 1, Ep. 80
As one of the world’s most dynamic and recognised celebrity icons, Eddie Murphy has been present in comedy and music for the last five decades and has dominated our big screens since his debut feature film, action comedy, 48hrs. some forty years ago. Delivered from a never-seen-before viewpoint, ‘Eddie Murphy; Deliriously Funny’ is an immersive account of Murphy’s entire comedy genius that spans the highs and lows of his career, touching on his childhood, exploring his influences, his stand-up comedy roots, music and film. From the author of ‘Rik Mayall: Comedy Genius’ and ‘Al Pacino: The Movies Behind The Man’, Mark Searby intricately unravels the golden thread of comedy that has weaved through the fabric of Murphy’s life and career, in both film and music, and exposes the deeper catalysts behind it.Taking us on a profound journey that outlines Murphy’s life, Searby creates an honest account that is charged with the excitement, frustration, confidence and fearlessness that Murphy has experienced and delivered throughout his work. Documenting the incredible highs, and the equally spectacular lows, ‘Eddie Murphy; Deliriously Funny’ includes exclusive interviews and quotes from those that have worked closest to him. Highlighting his breakthrough on mainstream TV via Saturday Night Live, through to multimillion-dollar box office smashes of his most famed and successful films; 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America, Harlem Nights, Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Shrek, Dreamgirls, Norbit and Dr. Dolittle, Searby also delves in to the career flops that span comedy sketches and numerous big screen films, and ultimately how Murphy used them on one of the most amazing rides through Hollywood.Packed with excerpts and interviews with the likes of Reginald Hudlin (Boomerang), Katt Williams (Norbit), Keith Robinson (Dreamgirls), David Patrick Kelly (48 Hrs.), Steven Berkoff (Beverly Hills Cop) and more, not only does the book celebrate Murphy’s career but it also gives insight to the person behind it. Featured heavily throughout the book are the deeper topics that have ultimately fuelled Murphy’s passion for comedy. Exploring his ability to use comedy as a vehicle to “put racism and sexism front and centre throughout”, Searby delves into the vast pool of examples that find “In amongst all of the hilarious comedy routines Murphy was creating, there were moments that spoke honestly and directly about racism.”Told with an air of wit that captures Murphy’s inspiring outlook on life, the book is not a gossip frenzied account of his personal life but a testament to the career and his doggedly determined, confident traits that has allowed it to span half a century. From influences that went before, such as Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, Moms Mabley and even Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee, Eddie Murphy became the biggest influence in the world, non more so than with aspiring Black comics.“A pioneer of a new form of much- loved entertainment that was speaking to an entirely new Black generation. It featured a combative edge, an edge that put racism and sexism front and centre throughout. They wouldn’t shut up or back down when discussing the topics that mattered most to them. This was their time to speak and they were not going to let anyone off the hook. Eddie Murphy was doing that with his stand-up to a huge audience – Black and white.”As with his previous work, Searby masters his subject and highlights how, no matter whether you are an avid fan or not, Eddie Murphy will have touched your life at some point in time. Whether it be through music, through comedy, through the voice of a donkey or adult humour, his reign as one of the world’s most iconic inhabitants is undeniable and ‘Eddie Murphy; Deliriously Funny’ is a captivating insight into his legacy.