For sixty years, the lineup of Hollywood’s major studios varied little. Then came the Circus Maximus created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg (who gave the world The Lion King). Nothing in decades had approached the excitement surrounding the empire called DreamWorks, where hype, glory, and investors vying to kick in billions gave way to blowups, battles, and betrayals worthy of The Godfather.
Nicole LaPorte reveals for the first time the delicious truth of what happened behind the scenes. Readers will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPorte’s fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywood’s bizarre rules of business. We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielberg’s troops and Katzenberg’s warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan. We see Geffen seducing investors and watch as the studio burns through billions while its rich owners get richer and everybody else suffers. Here is Hollywood–up close, glamourous, and gritty.
“[A] dishy account… Full of insider details, in the manner of Hollywood business potboilers, and the story–with screaming fits, White House sleepovers, and a death threat from Russell Crowe–rivals anything on the screen.
–The New Yorker
“LaPorte has clearly done her homework… The sheer scope and depth of The Men Who Would Be King impresses… A thrilling ride.”
–The Boston Globe
“LaPorte smartly mixes solid reporting and the right amount of gossip (Jim Carrey needed to be helicoptered daily to the rural set of A Series of Unfortunate Events, while Meryl Streep had a fine time hanging out with the locals) in her account of the rise and near fall of DreamWorks. An entertaining read about recent Hollywood history.”
“LaPorte’s lengthy narrative is the definitive history of the studio, an achievement of dispassionate reporting in the genre of corporate decline-and-fall… Hollywood, with its penchant for sunny publicity and an obsession for secrecy, is a notoriously difficult business in which to uncover the truth… Most reporters are not up to the task. LaPorte is.”
–The Los Angeles Times
“This book has all the right elements: deep-dish research, attitude to burn, page-turning readability, and a great subject. It belongs up there with the classics of Hollywood reportage.”
–Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood
“Power, grandiosity, arrogance, and incomprehensible ego. It’s Hollywood, of course, and Nicole LaPorte’s exhaustive, nonfiction narrative of DreamWorks and the bizarre triumverate of Spielberg, Geffen, and Katzenberg is stunning. The book reads like a novel and the reporting is impeccable. If you pick up one book about Hollywood, make it this one.
–Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights
“Nicole LaPorte may never be able to eat lunch in Hollywood again, but her potential loss is our gain: The Men Who Would Be King is a riveting and honest portrayal of three of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. I couldn’t put it down, and neither will you.”
–William Cohan, author of House of Cards
“Here is the brilliant, brutal, misguided, narcissistic history of DreamWorks in all its glory, with David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg working unscripted, without handlers or publicists dimming the lights to a rosy glow. Nicole LaPorte has written a lively, consuming studio history that should be required reading for all students of modern Hollywood.”
–Mimi Swartz, author of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron