Screenwriter Profile: Joe Eszterhas

post05-eszterhasThe Writer:

Joe Eszterhas is one of the most financially successful screenwriters of all time. After a bidding war, his script for Basic Instinct sold for $3 million, a record at the time — not to mention, a record he had already set and broken a few times already. He comes from the hay day of spec script sales, and he made a whole lot of dough off of his scripts for Flashdance, Music Box, and Showgirls, to name a few.¬†


Children of Glory (screenplay / story) Р2006

Basic Instinct 2 (characters) Р2006

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (written by) Р1997

Telling Lies in America (written by) Р1997

Jade (written by) Р1995

Showgirls (written by) Р1995

Sliver (screenplay) Р1993

Nowhere to Run (screenplay / story) Р1993

Basic Instinct (written by) Р1992

Music Box (written by) Р1989

Checking Out (written by) Р1989

Betrayed (written by) Р1988

Hearts of Fire (screenplay) Р1987

Big Shots (written by) Р1987

Jagged Edge (written by) Р1985

Flashdance (screenplay) Р1983

F.I.S.T (screenplay / story) Р1978


I’ve always had a great deal of confidence in the stories I tell. And I always can think of a lot of new stories to tell. I’m not frightened. But a lot of people in this town are frightened.

I have only one loyalty – to my writing. I never wanted to be the head of a studio or a producer, I just wanted to make sure that what I write is what appears on screen, to not have some idiot change it on its way to the screen. There sure as hell are some idiots in Hollywood. I think we would see better movies – and God, we see a lot of shitty movies these days – if writers would stand up for what they believe in with studio heads and the Michael Eisners of the world.

When I first started doing screenplays I was so frightened. I didn’t know what I was doing when I began¬†F.I.S.T¬†(1978).¬†Norman Jewison¬†took me under his wing and taught me what he knew. But every morning for a year and a half, while I was writing that script, I’d get up and throw up. That’s how the day began.

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