Toto Wampage

From The New Yorker:

Cast of characters:

Margaret Mitchell, author of the thousand-page blockbuster novel “Gone With the Wind.”
David O. Selznick, the legendary, manic producer of “Gone With the Wind.”
Victor Fleming, a vigorous and resourceful man who was then directing “The Wizard of Oz” — few considered him an artist.
Sidney Howard
, East Coast playwright and screenwriter.
Ben Hecht, the greatest and most cynical of Hollywood screenwriters.

The story:

When summoned by Selznick, Fleming hadn’t read Mitchell’s novel, but he took a look at the screenplay and immediately told the producer, “Your fucking script is no fucking good.”

*    *    *

Hecht agreed to work on the script as long as he didn’t have to read the book. Selznick told him the plot, but he couldn’t make any sense of it, so Selznick retrieved Howard’s version, and, as Hecht listened, Selznick and Fleming read it aloud, Selznick taking the role of Scarlett, Fleming reading Rhett.

In this manner, the three men worked eighteen or twenty hours a day, sustained by Dexedrine, peanuts, and bananas, a combination that Selznick believed would stimulate the creative process. On the fourth day, according to Hecht, a blood vessel burst in Fleming’s eye. On the fifth, Selznick, eating a banana, swooned, and had to be revived by a doctor.


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