Hello, He Lied: And Other Truths from the Hollywood Trenches

Lynda Obst, Author
Lynda Obst, Author Little Brown and Company $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-62211-0
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7679-0041-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57042-502-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57042-957-6
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In her first book, movie producer and former New York Times Magazine editor Obst creates a peculiarly Hollywood kind of hybrid, a memoir/survival guide that describes what it's really like to get a movie made while still managing to say something nice--or at least benevolently neutral--about everybody in power. Obst left a dream job at the good gray Times to become a ""development girl"" (scouting material and overseeing script writes) for hyper-ambitious studio head Peter Guber. From Guber she learned that success means never going to a meeting (or doing anything) without a strategy. Her strategy here is to portray herself at work, describing how she has learned to handle tough situations and tough people. Thus, supermogul David Geffen, who once mused during a meeting that she should consider collagen shots, is praised for his personal manager-like interest in his employees' lives. Obst distills her experience into a coda for survival. She knows not to buck major trends (""Ride the Horse in the Direction Its Going,"" reads one chapter title). She knows when to put projects on the back burner (""Putting It on the Roof""). Above all, she understands the ""Tao of Power,"" as explained in a chapter that reads like a contemporary Hollywood version of The Art of War: ""The secret that all powerful people know is that no one else gives you power.... With power, there is no permission to be granted. Permission must be seized."" At times, the writing is awkward: ""The latent energy that makes imploding friendships so dangerous is the fact they are playlets of this familial struggle."" But there are gems in the gravel. Obst's rundown of the difference between an arty ""fuzzy girl"" as opposed to an Armani-wearing ""crisp girl"" is worth the price of admission. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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