Joe Eszterhas wrote "Basic Instinct," "Flashdance," "Showgirls" and "Jagged Edge" and once got $4 million for a four-page outline. But now, the superscripter has written "The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God," in which he dishes about the stars with whom he's worked as he doles out tips on his craft. To wit:
"Liv Tyler did an interview in which she said she was the inspiration for 'Showgirls.' She said I had become obsessed with her after seeing her play a stripper in an Aerosmith video. She said, 'He tried to get me to take the lead in the movie, but I didn't want to get into that kind of thing.' It was news to me. I'd never seen the Aerosmith video, I'd never met or spoken with Liv."
"Val Kilmer is an imbecile. Asked by the Academy to nominate the three best film moments of the century, Kilmer nominated three of his movies. One of them was 'Batman Forever.'"
"For many years, Robert De Niro, always brilliant onscreen, couldn't even say two words on his own. He'd sit there, not speaking - woefully, miserably, pathetically lost without the words of a script."
"Michael Douglas, in my experience, is not brilliant and may very well, in some cases, be dumb. This is the guy who wanted to change the ending of 'Basic Instinct' because it wasn't 'redemptive.' Douglas didn't like that he was the star of the movie and that [Sharon Stone] 'one-ups me at every turn.'"
Meanwhile, "Sharon's 'prima donna' behavior so annoyed the crew on one of her movies that they relieved themselves into a bathtub before Sharon got into it for her scene."
"The joke in Hollywood is that Warren Beatty, the 'great auteur,' can turn a 'go' movie into a development deal. He'll get involved, work with six writers rewriting your script, then pull out of the project."
"You don't want Edward Norton to star in your movie. He now rewrites all the scripts he agrees to act in."
And Eszterhas claims that when Madonna was trying to get the part in "Desperately Seeking Susan," she went to the office of Orion production chief Barbara Boyle, "dropped to her knees and said, 'I'll do anything to get this part.' Boyle said, 'I'm happily married and I'm straight,' to which Madonna replied, 'You should try everything once.'"