Al Pacino In Conversation with Lawrence Grobel

“Al Pacino has been on of America’s most versatile and dynamic actors for more than 35 years. In 1979 Lawrence Grobel (Conversations with Brando) began interviewing the reclusive Pacino while in turn becoming his personal friend, and now he presents a collection of their past interactions, which appear uncut here for the first time. The book almost serves as an autobiography of Pacino as he discusses his early life, family, first acting jobs, and craft. In talking about his theatre career, defining roles in The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, and Serpico, and later work in Looking for Richard, the actor demonstrates an intense commitment to and a profound love of his work. What emerges is the intellect, skill, and passion of a man who conveys these very traits on the stage and on the screen. Grobel’s interviews offer a unique portrait of a man at the forefront of late 20th – and early 21st century American cinema. Highly recommended.”  –Jim Collins, Library Journal

“These interviews of Pacino conducted by Grobel and spanning the years 1979-2005 read more like old buddies conversing than formal discussion between aloof professionals, and in fact Grobel and the notoriously aloof actor have become close friends. Still, even in what he claims was his first interview ever, Pacino seems, surprisingly, relaxed and open. Altogether, these are warts-and-all portraits of Pacino, full of surprising details about him and his life.Equally fascinating are moments when Pacino turns the tables on Grobel, answering questions with other questions that throw Grobel off balance and require him to be as on-his-toes as Pacino clearly is. Grobel and Pacino maintain a remarkable openness throughout, by the end creating the illusion that the reader has really gotten to know the man behind Serpico, Scarface and Michael Corleone.” –Jack Helbig, Booklist

“This absorbing book is compiled from over 400 hours of taped conversations, conducted between 1979 and 2005. Lawrence Grobel is Pacino’s loyal Boswell. The result is a rich and fruitful interchange, a classic account of the acting process” –Sunday Express (U.K.) August 27, 2006

“In nine expanded interviews with Grobel from 1979-2005 for publications like Playboy and Entertainment Weekly, Pacino touches on The Godfather, 9/11, and how acting differs from sex: “I love work because it keeps sex in perspective. Otherwise it can become a preoccupation.” The Q&A format reveals Pacino as a deep thinker with wicked wit.” –Entertainment Weekly September 8, 2006

Al Pacino in Conversation with Lawrence Grobel is excellent and illuminating. The conversations come alive on the page. Genius takes such odd, quirky leaps. Pacino is a truly ‘driven’–impassioned–artist. So unpredictable, unexpected.”   –Joyce Carol Oates

The Art of the Interview: Lesson from a Master of the Craft

“Larry Grobel has to be regarded as the most intelligent interviewer in the United States. A fact that this present volume brilliantly, and fascinatingly demonstrates.”  –from the foreword by J.P. Donleavy

“Lawrence Grobel’s The Art of the Interview is fascinating. In this, Grobel, who has had a 30-year career of parry and thrust with stars, lays down the specifics for preparing an interview, the annotating, research, indexing, mind-set, the arc of the questions, what to start off with, what to save for last. There are plenty of juicy snippets from Grobel’s interviews with the likes of Mel Gibson, Barbra Streisand, Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Halle Berry, etc. He includes his own take on their responses. This book is eye-opening, dishy and educational.”   –syndicated columnist Liz Smith

“I bought ten copies and gave them to my staff.” —Bill Moyers

Endangered Species:Writers Talk About Their Craft…..

“As an interviewer Larry’s all the things Joyce Carol Oates has said he is: prepared, adaptable, and graced with the intelligence needed to shoot the breeze and elicit intriguing responses from uncommonly gifted and often uncommonly suspicious subjects.”   –from the foreword by Robert Towne

“I think I could read Lawrence Grobel forever… His previous books, Above the Line: Conversations About the Movies, Conversations with Capote, The Hustons, Conversations with Brando, and Talking With Michener, are textbook studies in the nimble, alchemical art of interviewing someone–listening well, asking improper questions when necessary, and transforming the somewhat artificial setup of an interview into intriguing dialogue….Grobel deserves a chunk of your reading time; he’s able to take you in directions you didn’t think you’d be heading.” –Clay Smith, Austin Chronicle

Above the Line: Conversations About the Movies

“This book satisfies on every level. I ate my copy and feel very full.”  –Steve Martin, cover blurb

“A diverse and lively collection, the highest art of the interview.” –Joyce Carol Oates

“Larry Grobel’s interviews are informative and insightful without being pandering or intrusive. You get the sense at all times of both intelligence at work-the interviewee’s and Grobel’s-both inspired by the encounter.” –David Duchovny

“There are few interviewers that you actually want to talk to. Larry Grobel is at the top of my list. Above the Line is quintessential Grobel–it’s smart, witty, and a whole lot of fun. There are passages in this book that will leave you stunned.” –Dylan McDermott

“In his quiet, conversational way, Larry gets people to talk about things they’d rather not talk about.” –Elmore Leonard

The Hustons

“A masterpiece of Hollywood reportage that shall reverberate for years.”  –James A. Michener

“The best book of the year, Grobel’s writing is quite marvelous. The Hustons reads vividly, just like one of John Huston’s great films.” –J.P. Donleavy

“Biography writing at its absolute best.” –Larry King, USA Today

“A feast of a book.” –David Thomson, The New Republic

The Hustons reads like a gutsy movie that might have been made by Huston himself: lots of melodrama, traumas and triumphs, womanizing and affairs, demons and ambitions. And always life carried on with flair.” –Hollywood Reporter

“An engrossing study in family dynamics. Marvelous! This is one of the best biographies of a Hollywood personality since–actually, I can’t recall since when.” –Alyn Brodsky, The Miami Herald

“An immensely enjoyable read. The Hustons is fact but it reads like a romantic, exciting and compelling novel.” –Frank Thompson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Hustons is a delicious, wicked guide to the delicious, wicked life of a sly, sadistic scoundrel who, for all his boozing, bullying, braggadocio, was equaled only by Byron in the sentimental cynicism and fecund carelessness with which he played the world’s game.” –Frederic Raphael, The London Sunday Times

“Grobel has written a brilliant book: it moves like a montage train that knows where to stop to tell you the salient facts and then catches speed so that the reader is magnetized to this book, which I predict will win awards for biography.” –Connie Martinson, Talks Books

“Huston was one of the characters Americans always need for our praise, scorn, and titillation-the royalty the Constitution forces us to seek outside of government. Lawrence Grobel’s The Hustons is of that fine, American myth-making tradition, and though it’s hefty, it’s excellent. It’s a superb book, an engaging, well-drawn portrait, not only of a show business family dynasty, but of modern American culture.”–Steven Kane, L.A. Reader

“The best biography to date of John Huston, this 800 page book is the work to which all future biographers and critics must turn. Grobel writes lucidly and brightly, a first-class story about a personality more curious and fascinating than most characters in fiction.” –Kirk Honeycutt, Daily News

Conversations with Brando

“You got me!” –Marlon Brando

“The best book about Brando that’s ever been written. This is the most revealing portrait of the man that I’ve ever seen.” –Jules Buck, producer

“Brando tells Grobel what he won’t discuss, but before you know it, they’re talking about the forbidden subjects in depth. Amazing. How does Grobel do it? –Elmore Leonard

“Fascinating! Brando remains one of the century’s truly remarkable and intriguing characters. Grobel painstakingly nurtures his sometimes obstinate subject into a state of openness. As interesting as the interview itself is the commentary Grobel provides. A must purchase.” –Booklist

“Pure, unadulterated Brando: diverse philosophical gambits, outrageous quips, pointed anecdotes and thoughtful comments on his life. Grobel is the interviewer’s interviewer.” –Playboy

“A fascinating document. It explains Brando accurately: the torment, the arrogance–almost willed toward self-destruction–but above all, the soaring talent. It frightened me in a way. It’s a scary book. Brando is challenging and more fearless than the rest of us dare to be.” –James A. Michener

“This interview shows Brando to be the sanest man in America. A volume of conversation guaranteed to entertain.” –J.P. Donleavy

“This book is one of the most complete pictures of the interview process and its aftermath available to readers. Grobel’s mastery of the interview form is never in doubt.” –Rick Schultz, Village View

“Brando’s powers of observation are tremendous. And alarming. Reading the book, you’re hardly surprised that his genius often tipped into madness.”--Jesse Ellison, Newsweek

Conversations with Capote

“A candid, controversial, and engrossing read from a tiny terror who wore brass knuckles on his tongue.”  –Parade

“Very hot.” –Liz Smith, N.Y. Daily News

“Certain to be one of the most talked-about books. Whether discussing his views on lovers and loving, politicians and politics, murderers and murder, or writers and writing, Capote can be depended upon to elevate gossip and opinion to the level of art.” –Huntsville News

“A marvelous book. Vivacious, intelligent, beastly, informative, with a volatile but recognizable integrity, there’s hardly a sentence which bores, and it should have been twice as long.” –Duncan Fallowell, Spectator


For the last 35 years, Lawrence Grobel has interviewed some of the greatest movie stars in the world, but if he  wrote about the behind-the-scenes spicey details of their lives he would probably be sued. So he wrote what he knows as a novel, The Resurrection of Layton Cross.  His fictional star, Layton Cross, has fallen on hard times and is desperately trying to save his career and his family. Unfortunately, trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes.  This novel works both as an insider’s look at Hollywood and as a thriller. There is plenty of suspense, and the writing is bright and witty. It should make for a terrific movie.  —Agnieszka Niedek, WPROST, Poland


There was always a suspicion that one day Lawrence Grobel would use his knowledge about Hollywood the Dream Factory as a novelist. And he did it. ‘The Resurrection of Layton Cross’ is the tasty but bitter story about the hard life of a movie star.

Lawrence Grobel is the author of a best-selling series of interviews: Conversations with Pacino and Conversations with Brando, as well as exposing the secrets of his craft in The Art of the Interview, where he pulls down the curtain of the imagined life of stars to show the reality behind, inducing candid confessions from his subjects over the last 30 years. In his novel The Resurrection of Layton Cross the main character, Layton Cross, becomes a human shell as he is ambiguously shot out of a circus cannon. It is ambiguous, because it reminds the world of his existence and, at the same time, of his desire to fly towards freedom.

Cross is an actor, popular in the past but now reduced to working in TV serials and low-budget films. He is the former husband of a movie star and still in love with her, while being in a relationship with a second ex-wife, who is a drunkard. He is also the father of three children. Layton is down on his luck: he takes drugs, his best friend molests his 10 year old daughter, the woman who lives with him nearly commits murder, his trumped-up attempt on his ex-wife’s life did not go according to plan, a reporter is wounded after being shot by Layton and publishes his biography bringing his private secrets to light, and his son runs away from home after learning that he may not be Layton’s biological child…Is that enough for one life? More than enough! But again and again and with desperate hope he rolls a huge boulder up a hill like Sisyphus.

The book is well written and allows for several interpretations. Maybe the author wanted to show the murderous (literally and figuratively) struggle in the bosom of Layton’s family; or the portrayal of the late maturation of a boyish and immature man; or the art of finding a destination between the real and unreal world. Or maybe he wanted to show that the carefree life of great actors is only media hype and they all have the same problems as ordinary people. Regardless of one’s interpretation, this book keeps the reader in suspense from the first cannon shot to the finale. Lawrence Grobel’s perceptive understanding of the illusion and the reality of the movie capital of the world makes this a good and enlightening book. —Monika Zielińska, 5 Star Review, DZIENNIK, Poland

About Lawrence Grobel & His Work

“If there is a Mozart of Interviewers, Larry Grobel is that individual. If the Interview as an art form emerges as a predominant prose genre in the 21st century, it will be the result of interviewers like Larry who manage to be both invisible and yet subtly dominating. In Larry’s case, the Mozartian metaphor has a twofold meaning: the interviewer’s apparent ease of execution and the consistently high quality of the work.”  –Joyce Carol Oates

“A legend among journalists, Grobel’s penchant for landing the impossible subjects has earned him respect among his peers.” –Writer’s Digest

“I’ve admired Mr. Grobel’s work since he became Playboy’s star celebrity interviewer. He is a respected master at this form.”  –Michael Luzzi, Goodlife Magazine

“Making a living as an interviewer and observer of celebrities is something many writers dream about, but few attain. Patience, persistence and ability to function under pressure are only a few of the skills required to perform in this demanding profession. So when Playboy magazine, the publication that turned question-and-answer from a science into an art, named Larry Grobel the “interviewer’s interviewer,” it was the consummate compliment.” –Marie Moneysmith, Satellite Orbit

“Larry Grobel senses there are no answers in life, only questions. Good ones.” –Robert Towne

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