A rare, controversial, and totally no holds barred memoir from one of Hollywood's greats.
In this powerful and evocative memoir, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter, Oliver Stone, takes us right to the heart of what it's like to make movies on the edge.
In Chasing The Light he writes about his rarefied New York childhood, volunteering for combat, and his struggles and triumphs making such films as Platoon, Midnight Express, and Scarface.
Before the international success of Platoon in 1986, Oliver Stone had been wounded as an infantryman in Vietnam, and spent years writing unproduced scripts while taking miscellaneous jobs and driving taxis in New York, finally venturing westward to Los Angeles and a new life.
Stone, now 73, recounts those formative years with vivid details of the high and low moments: we sit at the table in meetings with Al Pacino over Stone's scripts for Scarface, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July; relive the harrowing demon of cocaine addiction following the failure of his first feature, The Hand (starring Michael Caine); experience his risky on-the-ground research of Miami drug cartels for Scarface; and see his stormy relationship with The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino. We also learn of the breathless hustles to finance the acclaimed and divisive Salvador; and witness tensions behind the scenes of his first Academy Award-winning film, Midnight Express.
The culmination of the book is the extraordinarily vivid recreation of filming Platoon in the depths of the Philippine jungle with Kevin Dillon, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp et al, pushing himself, the crew and the young cast almost beyond breaking point.
Written fearlessly, with intense detail and colour, Chasing the Light is a true insider's story of Hollywood's years of upheaval in the 1970s and '80s, and Stone brings this period alive as only someone at the centre of the action truly can.
Chasing the Light shows a man who still runs towards the gunfire [...] This is, you will gather, a tremendous book - readable, funny and harrowing. It's also full of movie-making gossip, scandal and fun. If you want to know what working with a truly difficult actor is like, read his account of handling James Woods on the set of Salvador. Nevertheless, Stone sticks with Woods because "he is a genius". Also if you want to know what it's like to be so intoxicated at a Golden Globes ceremony that your speech is so bad and almost denies you an Oscar, then you need this book. [...] The book is phenomenally well detailed. [...] A brilliant memoir. - The Sunday Times
Raw, savagely honest, as dramatic as any of his movies, Oliver Stone's memoir defies all the Hollywood cliches. - Mail on Sunday
Oliver Stone is a giant provocateur in the Hollywood movie system. His autobiography is a fascinating exposure of Stone's inner life and his powerful, all devouring energy and genius that drove him to become one of the world's greatest filmmakers. Stone rattles cages. He pricks the bubbles of the namby-pambies. He provokes outrage. He stirs up controversy. He has no respect for safe places. Oliver Stone is larger than life. Chasing the Light says it all. - Sir Anthony Hopkins
Oliver Stone's narrative, his life story about the heartbreaks, the near misses, and finally the triumphs is a Hollywood movie in itself. I thank Oliver for writing Chasing the Light, especially for my NYU grad film students-or anybody else with artistic dreams of working in this thing called the movie business. Oliver, in honest and sometimes brutal fashion, lays it out-what it took for him to get to where he hoped to be-a successful writer/director working in Hollywood; the road it took is hard AF. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. - Spike Lee
Oliver Stone's story is the story of my generation writ large. - Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Taxi Driver
Oliver Stone has channelled his early years into a brilliant memoir. - The Sunday Times
The cover of Chasing the Light is a picture of Stone as a young man, looking at the camera with that strange, haunted expression you find in the faces of shell-shocked US soldiers in Don McCullin's photographs from Vietnam. It tells us he is authentic. His is a soldier's story, not a showbiz autobiography. He has seen the darkness. He has actually been on the front line, with first-hand experience of the nightmarish experiences he later set out to show on screen. This is unlike other contemporary directors who have made war movies over the last 40 years such as Stanley Kubrick, Francis For Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, and Kathryn Bigelow. - The Independent