Spielberg, Truffaut & Me
An Actor's Diary

Author: Bob Balaban
Titan Publishing
RRP 10.99
ISBN 0 84023 430 X
Available now

In 1976, actor Bob Balaban found himself working with two of the most gifted filmmakers of the present day - the legendary French director Francois Truffaut and Steven Spielberg - in a movie that would go on to become a huge hit. The movie was
Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Balaban was so impressed by the daily happenings on set that he decided to keep a journal on the proceedings as they unfolded. Only later did he realise that he had all the material for a book...

Spielberg, Truffaut & Me - An Actor's Diary is an inspired piece of work. When this arrived in the office I did something I swore I would never do - I took my work home with me. I started reading and by the time I was ready to go home I found I couldn't put this book down so I ended up staying two hours late in the office. I then left, but took the book with me and carried on reading until I finally finished it in the early hours of the next morning.

Balaban's writing is fluid and engaging and his numerous anecdotes about being mistaken for Richard Dreyfuss are very funny. His bonding with Truffaut is, in places, touching and following the events that unfold through Balaban's eyes is almost like living the events for yourself. The problems with the six-year-old skating aliens, the hot and stuffy mother ship and the potentially poisonous gasses Balaban was forced to constantly inhale in the name of Hollywood make for a riveting read.

The actor has also included a new chapter which looks back at the original diary some 25 years after the movie was in production (to coincide with the launch of the special edition DVD) but this section pales in comparison to the rest of the book.

If you were fairly young, as I was, when the movie was on general release and you remember being blown away by the special effects and the skinny alien at the end of the movie then this book will take you back to your childhood.

I can not recommend this book enough. Without a doubt the greatest Sci-Fi story ever told by an actor.

Darren Rea

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