Gonzo Screenwriter

With Sliver, feisty Joe Eszterhas again courts success -- and controversy

The chaotic life of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas could serve as a high-concept sequel to The Player, last year's scathing parody of movie industry manners. Fade in: A Hungarian emigre becomes a hotshot newspaper reporter in the 1960s, reinvents himself as a gonzo journalist and gets the call from Hollywood to write scripts. He clashes with studio heads and Hollywood power brokers, even the awesome Michael Ovitz, but he survives and thrives. As he turns out a succession of sexy, if not particularly smart, screenplays such as Flashdance, Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct, his fee rises to a record-breaking $3 million per...

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