Last week’s twin bill of literary scandal, with J.T. Leroy and James Frey each allegedly misleading readers, owes a lot to Hollywood.
The HIV-positive runaway Leroy allegedly was a fictional character created by Laura Albert and Geoff Knoop. The two failed rockers are said to have created the Leroy persona so they could meet celebs like Winona Ryder. The character, it turns out, was a truckstop-trick Sammy Glick.
Albert also had Hollywood designs, writing screenplays for Gus van Sant and adapting her own works for the bigscreen.
Frey, accused of fabricating details in his memoir, also took a page from the entertainment biz.
Hollywood has a liberal attitude about adding or omitting events to biopics, and in defending his choices Frey sounded a lot like a filmmaker: “You take liberties with events and sequence of events. The important aspect,” he told Larry King, “is to get at the essential truth of it.”
Frey, basically, was directing his own life story, and if he embellished it he was just sweetening in post.
Frey even made a “Dragnet”-esque disclaimer: “Changes were made in order to protect the identities of specific individuals.”
And the author has a track record in Hollywood. He wrote and associate-produced the Doug Ellin-helmed “Kissing a Fool,” and is also the original scribe on the “Million Little Pieces” pic in development with Warners — which means someone else could soon be taking liberties with his story.
This story was not actually written by Ian Mohr or Steven Zeitchik.