cover image Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood

Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood

Maureen Ryan. Mariner, $32.50 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-326927-9

Film and television critic Ryan debuts with a scathing critique of the “self-serving myths Hollywood believes about itself.” Arguing against the view that “difficult” actors are the price of good art, Ryan contends that Jared Leto’s insistence on keeping his character’s exaggerated limp in between takes on the set of Morbius wasted his colleagues’ time and insulted disabled people. She also excoriates the tendency to view abusive bosses as tough guys who “get things done,” discussing how Scott Rudin’s high-profile defenders allowed the producer to get away with screaming at employees. Asserting that the industry has failed women and people of color, Ryan notes that Lost actor Harold Perrineau was written off the show after complaining he was being sidelined in favor of his white costars, and that “with one exception... HBO has not aired an original one-hour drama series created by a woman.” Success stories demonstrate the benefits of cultivating a healthy workplace: Nancy Drew showrunner Melinda Hsu Taylor’s commitment to respecting writers’ work/life balance once convinced a coveted writer to choose the show over better-paying opportunities. Filled with revealing behind-the-scenes stories and blistering analyses of the industry’s failings, this makes a convincing case for rebooting Hollywood. (June)