Joe Eszterhas

From Academic Kids

Josef Eszterhas (born November 23, 1944 in Csakanydoroszlo, Hungary) is a controversial Hungarian-American screenwriter best known for his work on the films Basic Instinct and Showgirls. He is the son of Istvan Eszterhas, a Hungarian novelist.

His first screenplay to be produced was F.I.S.T., directed by Norman Jewison, although most of it was rewritten by Sylvester Stallone. He then contributed to the script of 1983's highly successful Flashdance. Most of Eszterhas's other work in the 1980's was in relatively low-profile films.

Eszterhas came back into the limelight in 1992, writing the screenplay for Basic Instinct. The screenplay resulted in him being accused of homophobia and misogyny; nevertheless, he was paid $3 million for the screenplay (the highest amount of money paid for a screenplay until Shane Black received $4 million for The Long Kiss Goodnight in 1996). In 1995 he wrote Showgirls, which was directed by Paul Verhoeven who also directed Basic Instinct. His screenplay appeared to confirm earlier accusations of misogyny and won that year's Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay.

He turned his eye to producing following Basic Instinct, making two films in 1997, both of which he wrote. The first one, Telling Lies in America, was generally well-regarded with critics and audiences, but was not a great box office success. The second was the infamous flop, An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn, which won several Golden Raspberry awards, of which Eszterhas won two: another Worst Screenplay and one for Worst Supporting Actor (a cameo in which a caption described him as a "penile implant"). Afterwards, the Worst Screenplay award was renamed "The Joe Eszterhas Dis-Honorarial Award".

None of Eszterhas's screenplays have been produced since 1997. However, he currently has nine undeveloped screenplays which have sold for a combined total of $20 million. He has also written several novels.

He has been married twice, has six children, and is currently recovering from throat cancer after having been a militant smoker. Due to his current advocacy against tobacco in movies, the New Jersey anti-tobacco youth group REBEL awarded him the Fight the Good Fight award in 2004.

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