Erica Jong trashes Oscar-winning producer Julia Phillips without naming her in a HuffPo interview:
Fear of Flying had been taken over by a woman who was a drug addict, and who was not a director, but decided she wanted to direct it herself. And I sued to stop her, and get the rights back, and it cost me a fortune, and I didn’t win, and it really hurt me badly for the rest of my career.
Phillips might not have been a director, and she was a heavy drug user by her own admission, but she did produce Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Sting for which she won an Oscar. She had a deal to produce and direct at Columbia. Jong wraps herself in self-righteousness, invoking those arbitrageurs of all things moral, the French:
…the French have something called droit morale, where you can’t buy a book as if it were a sack of sugar, and take possession of it. The author of the book has to approve the movie that’s made from her book.
Which is why Julian Schnabel adapted a book whose author is conveniently dead.
Phillips got her own back, though, writing of Jong:
looks like Miss Piggy when her face is in repose
Phillips, who died in 2002, also said that Flying didn’t make it to the screen, due to Hollywood’s male-dominated power structure.
Last spring, rumors floated that Diane English was adapting the novel for Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Jong also gasses on about how swell things are in Europe for authors:
I think that our laws of intellectual property are not nearly as forward looking as what exists in Europe and exists in the Berne Convention
But she used to complain that she didn’t get royalties:
My books were huge bestsellers in Yugoslavia before the war,I would walk down the streets of Dubrovnik and people would yell, “Erica Yong, I love you!” But publishers went out of business. I never received a single zloty.
A zloty is the currency of Poland, and she probably didn’t get any of those, either.