Hell of a Deal was the first book I decided to publish, back in 2009. It is a satire of the “War on Terror” and Hollywood’s incessant propaganda to push empire, domination, torture, and war crimes. Hollywood, quite frankly, sickened me to my core and I had to respond in some way.
This book is more Gulliver than John Wick, more Faust than Charlie’s Angels. At the start, I wanted so badly to crucify the main guy, Executive Producer Al Smith. He was to represent the worst of Hollywood profiteering at the cost of all our souls. After hitting the movie lottery in the late 60s, his career evolved over the decades to promote more extreme degradation and nationalism, especially as we entered the Age of Terror. And that’s where Seaford stepped in.
The story needed a guy to push the envelope, to abandon the self-imposed limitations, which Hollywood had placed on itself, and to see how far these trends could go. So, as the title implied, it was literally about a deal–a movie deal. Only, nothing was what it seemed. The deal was not about money, and profit was the last thing Seaford cared about. It was all about the messaging, the propaganda, the final cut, the access into your brains.
By the time Seaford arrived on the movie scene, Al Smith was already old and on his last legs. He was dying. His time was over, almost. There was one thing that could possibly turn things around for him, and that was medical science. This was what Seaford brought to the table: “Youth.”
These pieces all fit together like a well-oiled machine. Just thinking on it, I knew I had something special here. Firstly, I had something to say. Secondly, I had a Faustian bargain plot like no one had ever seen before. In this Faustian story, things are meant to look one way, fairly normal even in the current normality. But things were far from normal.
As I said, I wanted Al Smith to suffer, but strangely that only brought the story so far. The story itself cried out for some kind of redemption. Could I flip everything and become sympathetic to Smith? What would he need to do?
In the end, perhaps some might think him redeemed. Others not. It’s potentially ambiguous, and with a big Hollywood ending.
Joe Giambrone blogs at https://jgiambrone.wordpress.com/