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The Friedkin Connection (Harper)
With such seminal movies as The Exorcist and The French Connection, Academy Award–winning director William Friedkin earned his place in the pantheon of great filmmakers. A maverick from the start, Friedkin joined other young directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich in ushering in Hollywood’s second Golden Age in the 1970s. His long-awaited memoir, The Friedkin Connection, provides a candid portrait of an extraordinary life and career, offers a window into the rarified world of Hollywood and reveals all of the decisions—technical, artistic, and business—he confronted in crafting his distinctive and landmark films.
The Friedkin Connection takes readers on a journey through the numerous chance encounters and unplanned occurrences that led a young man from a poor urban neighborhood to success in one of the most competitive industries and art forms in the world. With keen wit and intellect, Friedkin proves as gifted a storyteller on the page as he is on the screen, taking readers from the streets of Chicago to the executive suites of Hollywood, from star-studded movie sets to the precision of the editing room.
Readers get delicious behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of all of Friedkin’s film, from the casting of The French Connection (Friedkin considered everyone from Jackie Gleason to journalist Jimmy Breslin for the role of Popeye, before settling on Gene Hackman) and the painstaking process of filming the famous chase scene on the subway and on the streets of New York City, to the dramas that ensued during the filming of The Exorcist (how Friedkin happened upon the now-famous “Tubular Bells” score after firing two composers; how Mercedes McCambridge went about creating the voice of the demon—and how she probably ruined Linda Blair’s chances at winning the Oscar). These accounts read like page-turners, but they also reveal a filmmaker at the height of his craft, a true artist who learned as he went along and wasn’t afraid of taking risks.
Still an influential filmmaker—his acclaimed 2011 movie, Killer Joe, starred Matthew McConaughey—William Friedkin has much to say about the world of movie making and his place in it. As fast-paced and thrilling as his acclaimed movies, The Friedkin Connection is a wonderfully cinematic look at an artist and an industry that has transformed who we are—and how we see ourselves.
“Friedkin’s book does the unthinkable: It relates the behind-the-scenes stories of his triumphs like The French Connection and The Exorcist, but also sees Friedkin take responsibility (brutally so) for his wrong calls, like Sorcerer and Cruising. In doing so, he captures the gut-wrenching shifts of a filmmaker’s life — the bizarre whipsaw from success to disaster.”
—Peter Bart, Variety
“Enthralling. . . . Hardcore film geeks will salivate over this time capsule from a grateful and still-brilliant legend.” —Booklist
“For aspiring directors, a glimpse into the school of hard knocks, but there’s plenty of good stuff, lean and well-written, for civilian film fans, too.” —Kirkus Reviews