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Killer Instinct

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  170 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Fresh out of film school, aspiring producer Jane Hamsher and her partner Don Murphy stumbled onto a screenplay by a geeky filmmaker-wannabe named Quentin Tarantino. For $10,000, Jane and Don optioned Natural Born Killers and set off on a two-year roller coaster ride no classroom could have prepared them for. With an outrageous cast of real-life characters including Oliver ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Broadway Books (first published 1997)
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Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
WOW. What a roller coaster.

This is one of the most entertaining non-fiction books I've ever read. Jane is such a spunk, and a Seattle spunk at that, so I couldn't help identifying with her. She's snotty, snarky, and brilliant, and doesn't even let Don fuckin' Murphy get in the way. I enjoyed the rollicking adventure in Hollywood, but I also learned a ton about dealing with difficult people. Funny where you pick this stuff up, right?

And what an eye-opener to my husband's past and current mindset!
Rathan Krueger
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A great view of many, many aspects of Hollywood with "Natural Born Killers" as the through-line.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I was assigned this book in my media production class. Finished it in 2 days because I couldn't put it down. I still read it once a year. One of my favorites.
S. Wilson
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: film
The key to a really great "Behind-The-Scenes" book is an impartial perspective, and that is one area this book falls short. Unfortunately, it isn't the only area.

Jane Hamsher can possibly be forgiven for not taking a step back and telling the facts without a personal slant to them; after all, she isn't a journalist, and this isn't really a straight forward making-of book (as the title says, its about the producers). What I can't bring myself to overlook is how badly one-sided and self-serving th
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Still one of the best books about the making of a film from an outsider's perspective I've read. Outsider and insider; novice producer Hamsher and her partner were thrust into the big league when Oliver Stone attached himself to a Tarantino script they had optioned, a script that would eventually go onto to become the notorious 'Natural Born Killers'. What's great about this book is Hamsher's totally unpretentious, sardonic and sometimes dumbfounded point of view as she navigates the insane Holl ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Entertainingly told. I'm glad to be missing from one of the funniest stories...cause of the misdemeanors involved...but being the only sober member of the unsaid event, ( I can still hear Jane shouting, "Don! Get the car!"), I will recount it in this review sometime. So forgive me if I would question the accuracy of Killer Instinct. Jane was even more one of the Good Guys in life at that time than her on-the-set memoir would make it seem. Her 'crafty' side is played up here for the entertainment ...more
Dwayne Ackley
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Written by the producer of Natural Born Killers who bought the original Tarantino script help shepherd it through development when in became "An Oliver Stone Picture". A good book depicting the relentless chaos that came with making the film (and spilled over into the film itself) and the difficulty of seeing your dream changed into something that's a lot different that what you thought it would be...
Alan Hoffman
Good book about producing. Tarantino gave them trouble at times, like wasting money by trying to get an incompetent friend to direct Natural Born Killers.

David Carradine, in his Kill Bill Diary, says he loved working with Tarantino and has nothing but praise, so I guess it depends on who you listen to.
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very cool, very interesting book. Hamsher did a great job retelling the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of NBK. Also gives a great insight into a unique time - the rise of Tarantino and the new indie cinema (Sundance, Miramax, etc.), and isn't afraid to be brutally honest.

Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty sure Jane Hamsher will never work in Hollywood again. This is the most scandalous tell-all I've ever read about the making of a movie. The phone # Tarantino left in his sleazy note to the author unfortunately doesn't connect.
Igor Stanojević
of all the assholes in this book, its author comes off as the largest one.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Ripping good tale of the making of one of the stinkiest stinkers in the history of stinkerdom, the egregious Natural Born Killers. A fount of iconoclastic pleasure.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
interesting & easy read, though its narrator is a bit unreliable...
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