There’s a new book that’s coming out from former Variety writer Nicole LaPorte called The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks.
I love reading books on the business of the entertainment industry, and the crazy strange behind the scenes stories that a lot of people don’t know about. One of my favorite books on the industry to date is one called The Keys To The Kingdom: How Michael Eisner Lost His Grip, which focuses on the rise of the Disney empire.
Now, this new book makes some pretty crazy over-the-top claims. I’m not sure if these are made-up claims or not, but I’ve heard and some wacky things go down in the entertainment industry. Some of the claims in this book target Steven Spielberg and his apparent paranoia. When Spielberg’s reps were contacted for a comment they said,
This description is so far from the real world of Steven that it doesn't deserve a comment. If the rest of the book is like this excerpt, readers can expect very little of what they read to be true.
Here are a few things that the NY Post says is in the book.
Steven Spielberg is so paranoid about security at his office, he keeps a never-used motorcycle permanently parked outside in case he needs to make a getaway.
In Spielberg's office, hanging above his desk, a plexiglass half-moon keeps sound from reverberating so that his phone conversations remain ultra-confidential. When an assistant once asked what the funny thing over Spielberg's desk was, a security guard referred to it as a 'dome of silence.'
When . . . Spielberg's longtime editor views footage in the screening room, a black cloth is draped over the projection booth window to hide the screen.
Every document that leaves the office -- a script, development report, even a memo -- is coded, so that should it somehow get into the wrong hands . . . the person responsible for the breach can be identified.
When Spielberg isn't at [his office], live-cam images are streamed to his home. There are also measures to protect against earthquakes or attacks, as Spielberg believes in being prepared . . . At one point, employees were given survival kits including gas masks and other amenities.
Apparently LaPorte conducted around 200 interviews with current and former employees of DreamWorks, not including Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. I’m gonna side with Spielberg on this one, and say that the author or the people interviewed have fabricated some of these claims.
The only one that makes sense is that they code their scripts, development reports, and memos so that if they get into the wrong hands, the person responsible for the breach can be identified, because this has become common practice on projects at major studios.
Here's the official description of the book:
For sixty years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged. Then came Hollywood’s Circus Maximus—created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion King—an entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte, who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened. Readers will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPorte’s fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywood’s bizarre rules of business. We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielberg’s troops and Katzenberg’s warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan.We watch as the studio burns through billions, its rich owners get richer, and everybody else suffers. We see Geffen seducing investors like Microsoft’s Paul Allen, showing his steel against CAA’s Michael Ovitz, and staging fireworks during negotiations with Paramount and Disney. Here is Hollywood, up close, glamorous, and gritty.
What do you think about the claims that the book makes?