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Martin Stewart: Recommended Summer Reading for Movie Fans

Updated: Jul 7

As we pack our swimwear and factor 30, we often cast around for a poolside read. In that spirit – and foregoing the temptation to suggest my own award-nominated crime caper, Double Proof (“irresistibly entertaining” – Chris Brookmyre, available in all good bookstores) – let me recommend Hits, Flops and Other Illusions, by Ed Zwick, writer and director of, among many others, About Last Night and The Last Samurai.

Zwick gets straight to it – dealing quickly with his origins as a Jewish kid in the mid-west – to showcase the hunger and naivete of his faltering first steps with disarming honesty, offering anecdotes about Denzel, Di Caprio and Julia Roberts, as well as an insider’s view of Harvey Weinstein’s capacity for power and vitriol. The book moves at a holiday-friendly pace, using the author’s filmography as a structure. We’re shown the filmmaking process in all its grinding, disappointing glory, with some juicy (if often anonymised!) titbits of gossip and hearsay thrown in. A peach of a book for anyone with an interest in Tinseltown.

Honourable mention: a chunkier read, worth every page, is The Kid Stays in the Picture, the gloriously indiscreet memoir of The Godfather and Chinatown producer Robert Evans. This is the story of a life lived to its fullest, with Evans riotously recounting his aggressive, almost comical behaviour as one of the major players in the Hollywood of the 60s and 70s. Terrific fun for movie fans.

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