Oliver Stone is a celebrated writer, director, and film producer. In his several decades-long career, Stone has mastered the art of creating compelling books and documentaries (usually based on his books). On July 21, 2020, Stone’s newest book, Chasing the Light, comes out. This book is an autobiographical work, highlighting the ups and downs of Stone’s career and everything that comes with it. As with his other books and film projects, Chasing the Light is already receiving high praise from celebrities and academics alike. Without further ado, let’s take a look at Stone’s stupendous career and accolades.
Stone’s writing and film career started in 1971, in the same year that he graduated from New York University. His first film project, which was admittedly minor, was a short film called Last Year in Vietnam. This could have been based, in part, on Stone’s personal experiences, as he spent several years fighting in the Vietnam war. After this, he worked on a few other minor film projects. It wasn’t until 1979 that he gained any serious fame, as he won an Oscar for adapting the book Midnight Express into a film with the same name.
Perhaps one of the film credits Stone is most famous for is the famous gangster film, Scarface. He is credited for writing the screenplay for this film. Like many of his works, the film is, in part based on some of Stone’s own experiences. While he wasn’t a gangster by any means, he did struggle with drug addiction. He claims that writing the screenplay for Scarface helped him to kick his addiction.
Shortly after Scarface came out, Stone published his first book, Platoon, which came out in 1987. Since the success of this book, Stone has mostly written historical and autobiographical works, both on paper and for the screen. Some of his most famous books, some of which have been adapted into documentaries, include The Untold Story of the United States, The Putin Interviews, and Oliver Stone.
Since Chasing the Light is not yet on shelves, we cannot give excerpts from this book. However, we do have some great lines from some of his other works that go to show what an amazing and vivid writer Stone is. Below are some of his best lines from some of his various projects.
The Land Across the Sea: “As I kept writing, my memories were expanding, and I began to understand Vietnam on a deeper level.”
Strange Days: “Najwa Sarkis was a striking, olive-skinned Lebanese woman…she was sort of a secular bus stop on the road to whatever hell I was going to.”
Scarface: “I like you. I liked you the first time I laid eyes on you.”
Chasing the Light
Chasing the Light has already received high praise from those lucky enough to read the book early. This book is autobiographical, covering the first 40 years of Stone’s life. This covers everything from Stone’s service in Vietnam, his early film career, and his later success in both film and publishing. Below are some reviews from celebrities and scholars who can’t get enough of Stone’s most recent work.
“Oliver Stone is a giant provocateur in the Hollywood movie system. His autobiography is a fascinating exposure of Stone’s inner life and his powerful, all devouring energy and genius that drove him to become one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Stone rattles cages. He pricks the bubbles of the namby-pambies. He provokes outrage. He stirs up controversy. He has no respect for safe places. Oliver Stone is larger than life. Chasing the Light says it all.” — Sir Anthony Hopkins
“Oliver Stone’s narrative, his life story about the heartbreaks, the near misses, and finally the triumphs is a Hollywood movie in itself. I thank Oliver for writing Chasing the Light, especially for my NYU grad film students, or anybody else with artistic dreams of working in this thing called the movie business. Oliver, in honest and sometimes brutal fashion, lays it out what it took for him to get to where he hoped to be a successful writer/director working in Hollywood; the road it took is hard AF. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.” — Spike Lee
“In his gripping memoir, Chasing the Light, Oliver Stone continues to blaze with the light he did so often catch. Even though I already knew a bit how it turns out up to now, I found it hard to put the book down, as if he himself, in his struggles and defeats and victories, is the most intense of his own powerful films. It is utterly poignant today to follow his relentless pursuit of personal, artistic, and political freedom in constant confrontation with the still darkly looming forces of ignorance, selfishness, obsessive power, cruelty, and greed, forces that have brought us to today’s existential crises. His odyssey was especially thrilling for me, a long hidden witness of the struggle from my “ivory tower” of academia, to feel able to honor his front-line battles…I enjoyed so much at the time, forcing our national consciousness to face the atrocities of Salvador, the Vietnam of Platoon, the treason of JFK, the greed of Wall Street, and so many more great efforts to focus the light of conscience upon our national decadence. The battle for the soul of our ideal nation and the lasting beauty of our world is not won yet, of course, but this honest and passionate account of one man’s determination inspires all of us who will never give up, as Oliver himself so clearly has not!” — Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa, Columbia University
So, there you have it! Chasing the Light will be available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on July 21, 2020. In the meantime, if you want to stay up to date with all things having to do with Oliver Stone, follow him on Twitter @TheOliverStone.