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Why I love David Mamet

Mamet is a genius who won't bow down to the woke gatekeepers of Hollywood. God bless him.

Below is one of my favorite pieces of dialogue written by this playwriting titan.

David Mamet Looks Back on a Long, Contentious Career

In his memoir, the Pulitzer-winning playwright takes on Hollywood, same-sex love scenes and Robert De Niro

By Ellen Gamerman, WSJ

Dec. 4, 2023 12:00 pm ET

David Mamet’s new book, ‘Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood,’ is out Dec. 5.

The cover of David Mamet’s memoir features a drawing of a pig at a typewriter.

It hints at the irreverent, even incendiary, tone of the pages that follow in his new book, “Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood,” which is out Dec. 5. Mamet, who also drew the cartoons, uses the book to sound off about the entertainment industry.

The Hollywood of today leaves him out of sorts, he says. Mamet argues that gay love scenes remove the fantasy for movie audiences of the opposite gender. He contends film industry diversity efforts have gone too far. And he has no patience for contemporary conventions like trigger warnings. “I grew up in a completely different time,” he says in an interview. “I go in the other room to brush my teeth, I come back and the world’s changed.”

The book leapfrogs over Mamet’s long career. There are stories about his celebrity friendships (Paul Newman, heard here bragging about his sex life) and slights (Robert De Niro, going silent for a decade after tension with Mamet over dialogue in “The Untouchables”), missed opportunities (turning down Martin Scorsese to write “Raging Bull”) and, above all, battles with a parade of unnamed movie executives he repeatedly calls “village idiots.”

If an idea strikes while he’s out, David Mamet will start scribbling, then transcribe the words on a typewriter later. PHOTO: PIA RIVEROLA FOR WSJ. MAGAZINE

Mamet rose to prominence in the 1980s with his Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a drama about desperate real-estate agents that delivered the sales mantra, “Always Be Closing.” Films like 1987’s twisty thriller “House of Games” furthered his reputation for a certain style—the “Mamet-speak” of clipped sentences, interruptions and lots of bad words.

He’s not precious about the process of putting those words to the page. “I could write in a car crash,” he says. If an idea strikes when he’s out, he’ll pull out the pen he always uses—a Caran d’Ache fountain pen he bought in New York on New Year’s Day in 2000—and a Smythson notebook from an old shoulder bag he’s carried since he was a kid. He’ll start scribbling, then transcribe the words to typed pages later. His typewriter is his workhorse, sitting among a collection of small objects including a stone elephant bearing witness from his desk at home.

David Mamet always uses a Caran d’Ache fountain pen he bought in New York on New Year’s Day in 2000. PHOTO: PIA RIVEROLA FOR WSJ. MAGAZINE

Even as he’s still writing, Mamet, 76, rarely meets with Hollywood executives anymore. He spends most of his time at home in Santa Monica, or nearby walking his poodles on the beach and enjoying the salt air.

“The problem is you can’t meet their demands,” he says of industry gatekeepers. He recalls a period of more creative freedom and tells his allies that he’s reluctant to meet with executives for work obligations like pitch meetings. “In my waning years of being in that end of the business making television and movies and so forth, I said, ‘Last thing you want is to have me go to a film meeting.’ I said, ‘I can’t stand it.’ ”

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