Monday, December 7, 2015

The Trouble with LIFE: My Review of the Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson Film on the Relationship Between Actor James Dean and Photographer Dennis Stock




I just finished watching LIFE (2015), starring Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson. The film focuses on the relationship between photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson) and actor James Dean (DeHaan) during their collaboration on photographs for LIFE magazine in 1955, including the iconic photo of Jimmy walking in Times Square, wearing his famous black coat, with a cigarette dangling from his downcast lips.


James Dean by Dennis Stock, Times Square, NYC, February 1955

As a big James Dean fan, and a Toronto resident who actually saw some of the scenes filmed downtown, I have been looking forward to this movie since I first found out about it. Biopics in general are difficult to rate. No matter how talented the actor, it is hard to bring to life - in this case - a cultural icon successfully.  

First of all, it is impossible to look exactly like the real person, so most actors try to simply emulate the person's style and mannerisms and hope the audience finds his/her performance convincing enough. Secondly, with someone like James Dean, who died before the Internet/mass media age, there are no talk shows or paparazzi videos to really show what he was like when he wasn't acting, so filmmakers tend to tackle the rebellious/temperamental side of Jimmy and encourage their lead actor to play up this image only, usually to a fault. 


Actors Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson in LIFE (2015)

This brings me to the first issue I had with LIFE. Actor Dane DeHaan, who plays James Dean, sticks to a monotonous mumble throughout the film - one of the most hyped up Jimmy traits - whereas from audio recordings such as the interview Jimmy did on the set of Rebel Without A Cause, we know that in real life, he had an intellectual, clear-spoken, and articulate side to him, especially when he was discussing something he was passionate about. Unfortunately, in LIFE, even when Dean is speaking intelligently, he sounds monotone and incoherent, which makes it hard to take him seriously.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

JAMES DEAN REMEMBERED: 60 Years Later




On this day, September 30th, in the year 1955, actor James Dean was killed in a car accident. Sixty years later, he is still relevant. He's a cultural icon - the eternal rebel - with a captivating onscreen presence, stealing every scene he's in, even if he's not supposed to be the focus.



When I saw East of Eden for the first time, I was blown away by Jimmy's portrayal of Cal Trask. To this day, it is still one of my favorite films. Jimmy's rare television appearances also give great insight into the potential of his artistry, which sadly would never be cultivated past his countless TV gigs and the three motion pictures he filmed before his death.

I wonder what this man with so much talent, so much passion for his craft could have done if not for that fateful evening six decades ago near Cholame, California. It's one of history's greatest 'What ifs' in the context of the entertainment world, and maybe even beyond that. Had James Dean lived past the age of twenty-four, would he have achieved greatness through his professional work and unique style? Or perhaps true greatness - the ability to transcend generations, to forever stay rebellious and cool, to inspire - can only be earned through immortality. And inspire he has - across the world and across generations - and he continues to do so presently. In fact, James Dean was the inspiration behind Aidan Evans, the main male character in my novels, The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of 1950s Hollywood.


At the time of his death, Jimmy still had a lot to learn about acting, directing, photography . . . life . . . but during his few short years in the spotlight, it's easy to recognize and appreciate his fresh approach to acting, which at the time, revitalized the profession and gave young people someone to look up to after years of being ignored by the film industry. Finally, thanks to Jimmy, young moviegoers had an actor to call their own; someone like them with faults, and angst, and the desire to love and be loved.

We will never know if Jimmy could've lived up to the hype that's surrounded him for the last sixty years . . . whether he could've generated and maintained his cultural icon status had he not died so young and tragically and continued to nurture his talent and churn out brilliant performances in front of or even behind the camera. Perhaps he would've simply faded into obscurity, given his penchant for nonconformity and his dislike of the Hollywood machine.



Knowing how destructive the entertainment industry can be, especially for men like Jimmy whose tough exterior concealed deep vulnerability and uncertainty, it's difficult to imagine that anyone could live up to such high expectations. Though the writer, romantic, and classic Hollywood fan in me likes to believe he could've done some pretty amazing things if given the chance.
You know what? It's okay that we will never have answers to these questions. Because James Dean left behind a solid body of work, which we can all enjoy today, and that's all that matters. After all, it's important to appreciate what you have, not lament over what could have been. And if this means all I'm left with are fabulous movies and teleplays like East of Eden, The Unlighted Road, and A Long Time Till Dawn, then, well, that's all right with me.




STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon



Monday, September 28, 2015

Hollywood, California, 1953 . . .


Come along on Marie Bates' journey as she films a screen test at Starlight Studios, signs a seven-year contract, changes her name to Elizabeth Sutton . . . and meets a mysterious and gorgeous Method actor on the set of her first motion picture.


***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photo. The estate of  Natalie Wood is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Monday, September 21, 2015

Electrifying The Silver Screen . . .


Aidan Evans in Spike Rollins, his debut film at Starlight Studios:


***Disclaimer: Legally purchased stock images were used to create this teaser photo. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Starlight Trilogy is Available Now!

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photos. The estate of Natalie Wood is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 
STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Monday, September 7, 2015

Stardust: Will Aidan Evans Finally Find Redemption?

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photos. The estate of James Dean is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Monday, August 31, 2015

Travel Back In Time To . . .

Hollywood, California, 1953 

An innocent, up-and-coming actress meets a rebellious Method actor with a troubled past . . .  

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photos. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 



STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook BUNDLE on Amazon

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Starlight Trilogy Is Out Now!!

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon


***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photos. The James Dean estate is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

Monday, August 17, 2015

On Set With Beth and Aidan

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photo. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Actors Studio, 1953 . . .



STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Monday, August 3, 2015

New York, 1953: Attend An Actors Studio Workshop With Beth and Aidan . . .





STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon


Five Reasons To Read The Starlight Trilogy

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Sexy And Classy Love Story With A 1950s Hollywood Twist . . .



***Disclaimer: Legally purchased stock images were used to create these teaser photos. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 


STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon


Five Reasons To Read The Starlight Trilogy

  1. A sweeping technicolor tale of forbidden romance.
  2. A detailed homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
  3. Cameos from many of your favorite classic film stars.
  4. Transformation of a small town girl to silver screen starlet through Hollywood’s unforgiving lens.
  5. Close-up of a 1950s bad boy channeling a tragic past and the stress of sudden super stardom through the art of Method acting.

Starlight (The Starlight Trilogy #1)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Passionate Tale of a 1950s Hollywood Romance!

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon
***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photos. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Meet Starlight Studios' Hottest Male Star!




***Legally purchased stock images were used to create this teaser photo. The estates of James Dean and Natalie Wood are in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.***



Five Reasons To Read The Starlight Trilogy

  1. A sweeping technicolor tale of forbidden romance.
  2. A detailed homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
  3. Cameos from many of your favorite classic film stars.
  4. Transformation of a small town girl to silver screen starlet through Hollywood’s unforgiving lens.
  5. Close-up of a 1950s bad boy channeling a tragic past and the stress of sudden super stardom through the art of Method acting.

Starlight (The Starlight Trilogy #1)







Starlight Synopsis

October 1952 finds eighteen-year-old Marie Bates relocating from her rainy hometown in the Pacific Northwest to the sun-soaked streets of Los Angeles, California. Marie's plans for a teaching career take an unexpected turn when she's asked to film a screen test at a major motion picture studio.
Renamed Elizabeth Sutton by the studio heads, she lands her first role as an extra. On set, Elizabeth spies Aidan Evans, a rebellious, twenty-three-year-old Method actor from New York. Aidan is branded as a stuck-up troublemaker by his famous Hollywood peers, but Elizabeth suspects a tragic secret lurks behind his steely facade.
As their careers hit the fast track and friendship evolves into romance, the expectations of Hollywood stardom threaten to shine a spotlight on Aidan's dark past before he can make peace with it. Elizabeth must help Aidan confront the painful event that shattered his life and conquer a terrifying truth before it destroys him and their future together.
Starlight is the first book in The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age.
Available from:

Starbright (The Starlight Trilogy #2)



Starbright Synopsis


For starlet Elizabeth Sutton, it’s difficult to tell which has more momentum: her burgeoning film career, or the growing intimacy in her forbidden romance with notorious Hollywood outsider, Aidan Evans. 

When the opportunity to costar in a feature film arrives, Beth and Aidan fight to keep their relationship out of Hollywood’s rumor mill and away from the ever-watchful eyes of Starlight Studios head Luther Mertz, who condemns a union between them and threatens the future of Beth’s acting career. 

The pressure mounts as the cameras roll. Beth and Aidan navigate the precarious heights of superstardom while exploring their physical desires in secret. Beth grapples between the debilitating nervousness over her sexual inexperience and her unbridled need for Aidan. Meanwhile, the demons from Aidan’s past he thought forever vanquished linger on the fringes of a fragile inner peace . . . 

Starbright is the second book in The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Available from:



Amazon (UK)


Smashwords


Barnes and Noble (Nook) 





Stardust (The Starlight Trilogy #3)






Stardust Synopsis


Following their Academy Award wins, the film careers of Elizabeth Sutton and Aidan Evans reach stratospheric heights. Now bona fide superstars, the Hollywood press and throngs of starstruck fans await them at every turn, and the pressure to maintain their luminary status for the benefit of Starlight Studios escalates.

Away from the spotlight, Beth and Aidan's forbidden romance intensifies. Passionate nights spent together in secret stoke their mutual desires, each experience more extraordinary than the last. 

Beth is thrilled with the breakthroughs in both her professional and personal lives, but perpetual feelings of guilt and self-doubt cripple Aidan's happiness. Slowly, the burdens brought on by the fame he neither courted nor craved unleash his inner torment, releasing the demons Beth's love and support helped him cage. 

Aidan must embark on a final journey to move on from his traumatic past once and for all, but the outcome is anything but certain. It leads him down an unexpectedly dark path, from an explosive showdown with studio head Luther Mertz, to a jarring revelation about his mother’s death that could hold the key to his salvation or exile him from everyone he loves forever. 

Stardust is the powerful conclusion to The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age.


Available from:

Smashwords

Amazon (US) 

Amazon (Canada)










  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Meet Starlight Studios' Most Popular Female Newcomer!




STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 



The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Price Of Fame

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photo. The estate of  James Dean ise in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Sunday, July 5, 2015

True Love, 1950s Hollywood Style . . .



***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this Stardust teaser photo. James Dean's estate is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.***

The entire Starlight Trilogy is available in one convenient ebook bundle. That's right - you can own all three ebooks for $9.99, less than what it costs to purchase them individually. A seventeen percent savings!





The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on AMAZON

The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on SMASHWORDS



If you are unfamiliar with The Starlight Trilogy, here's information on all three books:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New York City, 1953 . . .


Come along with Beth and Aidan as they stroll through Central Park on their first date . . .

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When Opposites Attract


A bad boy Method actor with a troubled past meets Starlight Studios' newest ingenue . . . 

***Disclaimer: A legally purchased stock image was used to create this teaser photo. The estate of James Dean is in no way affiliated with The Starlight Trilogy.*** 
STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1)





October 1952 finds eighteen-year-old Marie Bates relocating from her rainy hometown in the Pacific Northwest to the sun-soaked streets of Los Angeles, California. Marie's plans for a teaching career take an unexpected turn when she's asked to film a screen test at Starlight Motion Picture Studios.

Renamed Elizabeth Sutton by the studio heads, she lands her first role as an extra. On set, Beth spies Aidan Evans, a rebellious, twenty-three-year-old Method actor from New York. Aidan is branded as a stuck-up troublemaker by his famous Hollywood peers, but Beth suspects a tragic secret lurks behind his steely facade. 

As their careers hit the fast track and friendship evolves into romance, the expectations of Hollywood stardom threaten to shine a spotlight on Aidan's dark past before he can make peace with it. Beth must help Aidan confront the painful event that shattered his life and conquer a terrifying truth before it destroys him and their future together. 

Starlight is the first book in The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age. 



STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #2)




For starlet Elizabeth Sutton, it’s difficult to tell which has more momentum: her burgeoning film career, or the growing intimacy in her forbidden romance with notorious Hollywood outsider, Aidan Evans.

When the opportunity to costar in a feature film arrives, Beth and Aidan fight to keep their relationship out of Hollywood’s rumor mill and away from the ever-watchful eyes of Starlight Studios head Luther Mertz, who condemns a union between them and threatens the future of Beth’s acting career.

The pressure mounts as the cameras roll. Beth and Aidan navigate the precarious heights of superstardom while exploring their physical desires in secret. Beth grapples between the debilitating nervousness over her sexual inexperience and her unbridled need for Aidan. Meanwhile, the demons from Aidan’s past he thought forever vanquished linger on the fringes of a fragile inner peace . . . 

Starbright is the second book in The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age.




STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)





Following their Academy Award wins, the film careers of Elizabeth Sutton and Aidan Evans reach stratospheric heights. Now bona fide superstars, the Hollywood press and throngs of starstruck fans await them at every turn, and the pressure to maintain their luminary status for the benefit of Starlight Studios escalates.

Away from the spotlight, Beth and Aidan's forbidden romance intensifies. Passionate nights spent together in secret stoke their mutual desires, each experience more extraordinary than the last. 

Beth is thrilled with the breakthroughs in both her professional and personal lives, but perpetual feelings of guilt and self-doubt cripple Aidan's happiness. Slowly, the burdens brought on by the fame he neither courted nor craved unleash his inner torment, releasing the demons Beth's love and support helped him cage. 

Aidan must embark on a final journey to move on from his traumatic past once and for all, but the outcome is anything but certain. It leads him down an unexpectedly dark path, from an explosive showdown with studio head Luther Mertz, to a jarring revelation about his mother’s death that could hold the key to his salvation or exile him from everyone he loves forever. 

Stardust is the powerful conclusion to The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age.


STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy #1) on Amazon

STARBRIGHT(The Starlight Trilogy #2) on Amazon

STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy #3)  on Amazon 


The Starlight Trilogy Ebook Bundle on Amazon