“Honestly, the main reason was to know myself better, which is what writing is about,” says the legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone on The Hollywood Reporter‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast in response to my query about what motivated him to write his acclaimed new memoir Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game. The Vietnam vet, who returned from that war after 15 months of service with two wounds and a Bronze Star, and became one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation, continues, “You go back and you say, ‘What did this mean?'”
Stone, the winner of three Oscars — one for his screenplay for Alan Parker‘s Midnight Express (1978) and the others for directing Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), which he also wrote — also wrote 1983’s Scarface and 1985’s Year of the Dragon; wrote and directed 1986’s Salvador, 1987’s Wall Street, 1991’s The Doors and JFK, 1994’s Natural Born Killers, 1995’s Nixon, 1999’s Any Given Sunday, 2006’s World Trade Center and 2016’s Snowden; and directed but did not write 2008’s W. and 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. In more recent years, he has focused on making documentaries about — and with the cooperation of — Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin.
The 73-year-old has also written numerous books. Pondering if his work on his latest — which covers his life from his “privileged” childhood that was torn about by his parents’ divorce when he was 15, through his time as a volunteer infantryman in Vietnam, through his Hollywood climb and coronation at the Oscars ceremony in 1987 — taught him anything about himself, he mues, “In a way, my life is about fighting back against the lie. People think I’m nuts, you know, like I’m making up things. But there is a lot of truth to trying to find out why we have to live with hypocrisy.”
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LISTEN: You can hear the entire interview below.
Past guests include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lorne Michaels, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Gal Gadot, Warren Beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Colbert, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Justin Timberlake, Elisabeth Moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy Fallon, Kris Jenner, Michael Moore, Emilia Clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Tyler Perry, Sally Field, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Emma Stone, Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Carol Burnett and Norman Lear.