Pen to Paper series took place Sunday
As part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper series, Variety’s Peter Bart spoke with TFF’s Geoffrey Gilmore Easter Sunday about his just-published memoir, “Infamous Players, A Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex)” at Union Square’s Barnes & Noble.
The story of Bart’s seven years as a production exec at Paramount Pictures with Bob Evans, “Infamous Players” is a candid look at the people and the pictures of the late 1960s, early 1970s. The tome has been a long time coming.
“Harvey Weinstein asked me to write it 21 years ago,” Bart said.
The scribe says he’s “offended” by the way the era “is being sentimentalized,” and so he offers an insider’s take on pics like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Godfather,” “Harold and Maude,” “Love Story” and “True Grit.”
Among his observations:
• Those movies were made because “someone in the studio had a personal passion. What’s depressing about studios today is I asked (current production heads), ‘Are you looking forward to the pictures on your slate?’ and you get, ‘No, not really.'”
• “One thing took place that doesn’t happen now: I fired 12 directors in seven years. Directors don’t get fired today.”
• “A lot of filmmakers were discovering themselves and discovering drugs – and self-destructed,” he said, citing Hal Ashby and Dennis Hopper.
• “The presence of the underworld was very apparent in that day … Unless you were suicidal, you went along with it.”
• “Sex was an important part of the 1970s – maybe the nicest part — and it would be an impediment not to have a chapter about it.”
• “The multinationals that own film companies today try to impose rationality. Evans and I understood it was an irrational business.”
As for differences of opinion over his version of events, Bart isn’t worried, “I’m used to getting ferocious feedback. It comes with the territory.”