"If I had a talent for anything, it was a talent for knowing who was talented."
Mike Medavoy is a Hollywood rarity: a studio executive who, though never far from controversy, has remained well loved and respected through four decades of moviemaking. What further sets him apart is his role in bringing to the screen some of the most acclaimed Oscar-winning films of our time: "Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, " and "Sleepless in Seattle" are just some of the projects he green-lighted at United Artists, Orion, TriStar, his own Phoenix Pictures.
"The ultimate lose-lose situation for a studio executive: to wind up with a commercial bomb and a bad movie."
Of course, there are the box office disasters, and the films, as Medavoy says, "for which I should be shot." They, too, have a place in his fascinating memoir -- a pull-no-punches account of financial and political maneuvering, and of working with the industry's brightest star power, including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Meg Ryan, and countless others.
"Putting together the elements of a film is a succession of best guesses."
Medavoy speaks out on how movie studio buyouts have stymied the creative process and brought an end to the "hands-off" golden age of filmmaking. An eyewitness to Hollywood history in the making, he gives a powerful and poignant view of the past and future of a world he knows intimately.