THERE AND BACK AGAIN: An Actor's Tale

Sean Astin, Author, Joe Layden, With with Joe Layden. St. Martin's $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-312-33146-7

At 33, Astin is young to write his life story, and he tries to portray himself as a major star, thus exaggerating his actual status. However, the book succeeds as a brutally frank, hard-hitting portrait of the film business. Astin shoots from the hip, frequently offending people with his contentious viewpoints. He admires his supportive mother, Oscar winner Patty Duke, while chastising her for writing a book about her manic depression and exposing intimate details. He portrays Warren Beatty, who cast him in the controversial Bulworth , as someone "who knows he's a megalomaniac and sees nothing wrong with that." A self-described "artist-industrialist," Astin describes his producing and directing activities, which led to a 1991 Oscar nomination for his short film, Kangaroo Court . After wowing critics in Rudy , Astin landed the choice role of Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings , and he recalls making the blockbuster film with intensity and color. Some incidents are enlightening, such as his difficulty getting fitted for prosthetic devices for LOTR . Others pack emotional freight, particularly the tale of his father John Astin's efforts to land the role of Gandalf in LOTR and being passed over in favor of Ian McKellen. Astin comes across as a complex personality—courageous, impulsive, loving, abrasive—and these contradictory qualities make him an arresting centerpiece for a Hollywood story. (Oct. 12)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-7535-3926-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-59397-536-4
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-312-33147-4
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7535-1087-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4668-5635-6
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