Michael Tolkin gives a good interview. While clearly an adept Hollywood player, he casually peppers his conversations with allusions to serious literature, philosophy, cultural criticism, art cinema,...
New York City, New York, USA
|Blocked: The Novelist's Experience in Hollywood||2000 1999 - 2000||Actor||Interviewee||20007|
|The Player||1992||Actor||Eric Schecter||19927|
|The New Age||1994||Director||n/a||4|
|Masters of Science Fiction: Jerry Was a Man||Director||n/a||4|
|Gleaming the Cube||1989||Associate Producer||n/a||1|
|Gleaming the Cube||1989||Screenplay||n/a||1|
|The New Age||1994||Screenplay||n/a||1|
|Masters of Science Fiction: Jerry Was a Man||Teleplay||n/a||1|
|The Player||1992||Source Material||(Novel)||1|
|The Burning Season||1994||Screenplay||n/a||1|
|Deep Cover||1992||From Story||n/a||1|
|Masters of Science Fiction: Jerry Was a Man||Writer (adaptation)||("Jerry Was a Man")||1|
|The Player||1992||Source Material (from novel)||("The Player")||1|
|Mission: Impossible 2||2000||Screenplay||n/a||1|
|Delta House||1978 1977 - 1978||Story By||story editor||1|
|To Sleep With Anger||1990||Assistant||assistance||1|
|Moved to NYC after college|
|Wrote the screenplay for "Gleaming the Cube"; also the associate producer|
|Began writing screenplays, sometimes with his brother, Stephen|
|Wrote feature articles for such newspapers as, the Village Voice, New York's Daily News and Los Angeles Times|
|Co-wrote the big budget film, "Deep Impact"|
|Co-wrote with Anthony Minghella, the screenplay adaptation of the Broadway musical, "Nine"|
|Played a small role in Robert Altman's "The Player," which he also co-produced and wrote the screenplay (based on his own novel)|
|Began directing plays in high school|
|Co-wrote HBO's "The Burning Season"; directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Raul Julia|
|Co-wrote the script for "Changing Lanes"|
|Was a editor for the ABC sitcom, "Delta House," adapted from the film "Animal House"|
|Reportedly did a script polish on "Mission: Impossible 2"|
|Directed first feature, "The Rapture"; also wrote screenplay|
|Wrote and directed the satirical, "The New Age," featuring Judy Davis and Peter Weller|
|Wrote first screenplay (with Stephen Tolkin and Stephen Fry), the British film "Gossip"|
The scion of a show business family--his father was a TV comedy writer, his mother a VP in Legal Affairs at Paramount--Tolkin was born in New York and transplanted to L.A. at age ten. He began directing plays in high school and went to college in Vermont. Tolkin moved to NYC and wrote feature articles for various publications including VILLAGE VOICE, DAILY NEWS and THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. He began his entertainment career rather inauspiciously as a story editor of "Delta House" (ABC, 1979), the unlamented, short-lived TV version of John Landis' 1978 comedy hit, "Animal House". He achieved a modest breakthrough in features as the screenwriter and associate producer of "Gleaming the Cube" (1988), an offbeat action thriller about a skateboarder (Christian Slater) searching for the killer of his adopted Vietnamese brother. A few years later, he followed up with several remarkable films set within a universe in search of values.
Tolkin's directorial debut, "The Rapture" (1991), was a haunting story about a contented but unfulfilled sensualist who, practically overnight, becomes a born-again Christian preparing for the final reckoning. With a fine central performance by Mimi Rogers, the film is ambitious if flawed. Perhaps best described as a low-budget, fundamentalist variation on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "The Rapture" boldly and seriously contemplates spiritual matters rarely dealt with in Hollywood fare. An observant Jew himself, Tolkin refused to caricature the sincere beliefs of others. A major new cinematic sensibility had arrived.
The absorbing and unsettling if more conventional "Deep Cover" (1992), meanwhile, directed with suitably edgy style by Bill Duke, presented a black narcotics cop who loses sight of which side of the law he is on. Tolkin's original screenplay (from his story) was rewritten by Henry Bean ("Internal Affairs" 1990) but it seems firmly set in the same morally slippery universe as his other works. As critic Gavin Smith noted in FILM COMMENT: "All his characters abandon or fall from the social mainstream and enact dramas of self-redefinition."
Tolkin adapted his first novel, "The Player", for the 1992 Robert Altman film that brought the writer his greatest exposure and acclaim and revitalized the director's career. A highly reflexive, cynical satire of contemporary Hollywood, "The Player" was clearly the work of people who understood, hated, and loved the industry from the inside. Tolkin returned to the director's chair to helm his own screenplay for "The New Age" (1994), an examination of modern love and morality starring Peter Weller and Judy Davis as a financially overextended couple who open a chic boutique in L.A. The film, interesting and consistent in many ways with his earlier work, opened to mixed reviews and tepid box office.
|Wendy Mogel||Wife||Parenting expert and author of bestseller The Blessing of a Skinned Knee|
|Mel Tolkin||Father||Numerous TV writing credits include "Your Show of Shows" (1950-54) and "All in the Family" (1971-79); producing credits include "Sanford" (1980-81) and "Love, Sidney" (1981-83)|
|Edith Tolkin||Mother||Vice president in legal affairs at Paramount|
|Stephen Tolkin||Brother||Collaborated with Tolkin on several early scripts including "Gossip" (1993)|
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.