Thursday, November 21, 2019

Shakespeare References in Where Did I Go Right?

On my trip to Boston, I took two books to read, both about producing films, and both with questions as titles. The first was What Just Happened? by Art Linson. The second was Where Did I Go Right?: You’re No One In Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead, by Bernie Brillstein with David Rensin. Both books contain Shakespeare references. Where Did I Go Right? contains several references. The first is to The Merchant Of Venice, with Bernie Brillstein writing, “I had a week to come up with the money, so I took a loan from a shylock” (p. 85). He makes two more similar references: “I paid off the shylock and everyone else, and then I only had to pay back my uncle” (p. 86) and “If you owe a shylock $70,000 when you only make $25,000 a year – and all of that goes to rent and alimony – show-business anxiety is a piece of cake” (p. 87). The next reference is to Shakespeare himself: “An actor can’t just walk into an ‘acting’ club and recite Shakespeare for nothing” (p. 242). Then we get a reference to Macbeth: “I’m not saying that I regret any of it. What’s done is done” (p. 262). The line “What’s done is done” is spoken by Lady Macbeth in the third act. The next couple of references are to Shakespeare. Brillstein writes, “I’m just worried that the magnifying glass over our industry – all in the name of keeping us interested enough to buy movie tickets and CDs, watch TV shows, etc. – makes it seem like, as James Poniewozik wrote in Salon, an on-line magazine, that our lives are about ‘dynastic struggles on the scale of Shakespeare’s histories’” (p. 271). And then: “I was in New York on business and I was tired, but Ileen Maisel insisted that I see Liaisons Dangereuses. The Royal Shakespeare Company play, written by Christopher Hampton, was on Broadway after an earlier run on London’s West End” (p. 279). The book’s final reference is to The Merchant Of Venice: “Everyone extracts their pound of flesh” (p. 294).

Where Did I Go Right?: You’re No One In Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead was published in 1999. The copy I read was a First Edition, withdrawn from the library.

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