With a title like A Killer Life, youíd think that this was some sort of slasher flick in novel form. Itís anything but that. It is the story of independent film producer Christine Vachon, the founder and president of Killer Films. Itís quite a title for a production company, and A Killer Life is a most interesting look at independent film and the independent film experience. With a foreword by John Pierson, A Killer Life builds upon Vachonís previous book on the struggles and financial breakdowns (or lack thereof) of independent films entitled Shooting to Kill.
Though containing not quite all the process of independent filmmaking or film brokering, the book does interweave some of Vachonís professional and personal struggles, including the harsh reality of losing many friends to AIDS and the loss of her mother. But the book doesnít bog down into a mournful read. There are humorous passages and chapters where Vachon discusses what itís like to be at the Cannes Film Festival and how many times someone, no matter how hard they try not to, step in dog doo-doo. The book also contains diary and journal entries from the movies Killer produced: Kids, One Hour Photo, and Far From Heaven, among many others.
Most disheartening to struggling producers reading this book is the inclusion of the breakdowns in profits from the successful One Hour Photo starring Robin Williams. With a theatrical gross of thirty-three million and a seventy-five million dollar home video gross, one would think this would be a huge success for all involved. But alas, as the included picture shows, Killerís cut was a whopping zero dollars - talk about a reality check.
The book does move swiftly, bringing you all the way up to their release of their film Infamous, their take on the Truman Capote story. Overall, A Killer Life is a very insightful look at Vachonís Killer production company and how art and commerce mesh in the independent movie world.