Bar­ry Son­nen­feld, Call Your Moth­er: Mem­oirs of a Neu­rot­ic Filmmaker

  • From the Publisher
February 13, 2013

Film and tele­vi­sion direc­tor Bar­ry Son­nen­feld’s out­ra­geous and hilar­i­ous mem­oir traces his idio­syn­crat­ic upbring­ing in New York City, his break­ing into film as a cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er with the Coen broth­ers, and his unex­pect­ed career as the direc­tor behind such huge film fran­chis­es as The Addams Fam­i­ly and Men in Black, and beloved work like Get ShortyPush­ing Dais­es, and A Series of Unfor­tu­nate Events.

Bar­ry Son­nen­feld’s phi­los­o­phy is, Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future.” Told in his unmis­tak­able voice, Bar­ry Son­nen­feld, Call Your Moth­er is a laugh-out-loud mem­oir about com­ing of age. Con­stant­ly threat­ened with sui­cide by his over-pro­tec­tive moth­er, dis­il­lu­sioned by the father he wor­shiped, and abused by a demon­ic rel­a­tive, Son­nen­feld some­how went on to become one of Hol­ly­wood’s most suc­cess­ful pro­duc­ers and directors.

Writ­ten with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book fol­lows Son­nen­feld from child­hood as a French horn play­er through grad­u­ate film school at NYU, where he devel­oped his tal­ent for cin­e­matog­ra­phy. His first job after grad­u­at­ing was shoot­ing nine fea­ture length pornos in nine days. From that hum­ble entrée, he went on to form a friend­ship with the Coen Broth­ers, launch­ing his career shoot­ing their first three films.

Though Son­nen­feld had no ambi­tion to direct, Scott Rudin con­vinced him to be the direc­tor of The Addams Fam­i­ly. It was a suc­cess­ful career move. He went on to direct many more films and tele­vi­sion shows. Will Smith once joked that he want­ed to take Son­nen­feld to Philadel­phia pub­lic schools and say, If this guy could end up as a suc­cess­ful film direc­tor on big bud­get films, any­one can.” This book is a fas­ci­nat­ing and hilar­i­ous roadmap for any­one who thinks they can’t suc­ceed in life because of a rough beginning.

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