From The New York Trilogy to the Book of Illusions and Oracle Night, Paul Auster's novels have earned him a reputation as "one of America's most spectacularly inventive writers." Here, published together for the first time, are the screenplays of the three films he made in the 1990s.
Smoke (starring Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Forest Whitaker, and Stockard Channing) tells the story of a novelist, a cigar store manager, and a black teenager who unexpectedly cross paths and end up changing each other's lives in indelible ways. At the 1995 Berlin Film Festival, Smoke was awarded the Silver Bear, the International Film Critics Award, and the Audience Award for Best Film. The screenplay also received a Independent Spirit Award in 1996.
Set in contemporary Brooklyn, Smoke directly inspired Blue in the Face, a largely improvised comedy shot in a total of six days. A film unlike any other, it stars Harvey Keitel, with featured performances by Roseanne, Lily Tomlin, Lou Reed, and Michael J. Fox.
Lulu on the Bridge (again starring Harvey Keitel, with Mira Sorvino, Willem Dafoe, and Vanessa Redgrave) had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. When jazz musician Izzy Maurer is accidentally hit by a bullet during a performance in a New York club, he is led on a journey into the strange and sometimes frightening labyrinth of his soul. Both thriller and fairy tale, Lulu on the Bridge is above all a story about the redemptive powers of love.
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SmokeThe Making of SmokeAnnette Insdorf: I gather that Smoke began with a Christmas story you wrote for The New York Times.
Paul Auster: Yes, it all started with that little story. Mike Levitas, the editor of the Op-Ed page, called me out of the blue one morning in November of 1990. I didn't know him, but he had apparently read some of my books. In his friendly, matter-of-fact way he told me that he'd been toying with the idea of commissioning a work of fiction for the Op-Ed page on Christmas Day. What did I think? Would I be willing to write it? It was an interesting proposal,