Bad boy screenwriter pens conversion memoir

Joe Eszterhas is perhaps most infamous for having penned the screenplay for one of Hollywood’s worst movies, the raunchy Showgirls that, after a much-hyped release in 1995 (mostly owing to its NC-17 rating) tanked on the big screen—only to become a camp classic in its video-release afterlife. His other credits include films like Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Flashdance and Music Box. But now he’s writing about something different: after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001, he sat down in a moment of despair and found a part of him asking for God’s help.

NPR has an interview with Eszterhas, in which he talks about his conversion experience, and answers skeptics who think that he’s going through a phase. That he was able to survive the cancer, he says, is a miracle, and proof of God’s existence to him

He wrote a bit more about it in an essay at On Faith:

Why did God save the life of a man who had trashed, lampooned, and marginalized Him most of his life? Why did He take the time and the trouble to save me? It certainly wasn’t because I had written Basic Instinct and Showgirls, right? Was it because my wife and I had four little boys we were trying to raise? Possibly.

Or was it God’s divinely impish sense of humor? “Who, you? You’re praying? After everything you’ve done to break my commandments and after every nasty, unfunny thing you’ve written about Me and those who follow Me – now you’re sobbing? Praying? Asking Me to help you? Hah! Okay, fine, I’ll help you. But if I do, know this: My help will obliterate the old, infamous you. You’ll wind up turning your life inside-out. You’ll wind up stopping all of your excesses. You know what will happen to you? You’ll wind up telling the world what I did for you. You’ll wind up carrying my cross in church. Yes, I make all things new – and you will be new, too.”

He was startled to find that actually happened.

The NPR interview is here (click on “listen now”), and the On Faith essay is here.

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