By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Khouri, screenwriter of Thelma & Louise, confuses gender and creative issues. She is frank about her willingness to ”brandish the woman card“ in renegotiating a contract (with women producers, no less), but her frustration at having ”no control, other than what I was able to exert through sheer force of will“ is just an echo of every screenwriter of any sex in over a century of celluloid.
In any case, control apparently isn‘t what it’s cracked up to be either. Unlimited power is as discomfiting as no power, according to director Marshall. ”I don‘t know what the fuck I want to do,“ she declares. ”’Whatever you want‘ is not what I want to hear.“
Uneasiness with power and freedom is nowhere as plaintively emphatic as from producer, writer -- and former wife of Peter Bogdanovich -- Platt, whose many psychodramas are set out with such raw honesty they’re painful to read. She served as right hand to Bogdanovich and later to others, including Garry Marshall and James L. Brooks. Her inertia in these male-sheltered environments is determined not by the annual $600,000 she thinks is beneath her worth as a development executive, but by the less tangible ”What if I fail? That is more terrifying than death.“
Maybe not more than death, exactly, but it‘s not a unique fear, and certainly not a gender-specific one. Fear of failure is an equal-opportunity terror, and not just in Hollywood.
Foster, who has grasped power (and Oscars) in both hands, articulates the larger dilemma as well as anyone in these pages, or just about anyone anywhere. ”We realize there was somebody that we used to be that will never be again,“ she says, ”and we have to be accepting enough to say goodbye to who that was.“
And smart enough to say hello. Welcome to the club.
Steven Bach is the author of Final Cut and Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend. His biography of Moss Hart, Dazzler, will be published in April by Knopf, for whom he is now writing a biography of Leni Riefenstahl.