Steve Bannon: the Hollywood Bigwig Who Wasn't?

Trump's strategist brags about his time in Tinseltown, but others' memories are murky
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2017 2:13 PM CDT
Steve Bannon: the Hollywood Bigwig Who Wasn't?
Steve Bannon at the White House last Thursday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Over the past eight months, Steve Bannon has worked his way into the general US consciousness, first as an ex-Breitbart exec tapped as Trump's new campaign chief, next as a "terrifying man" who wanted to set the DC establishment ablaze, and finally, as a White House fixture. But before all that, there was Hollywood, Connie Bruck writes for the New Yorker, noting Bannon's days in LA when he carried himself with an "alpha swagger" as he tried to help Goldman Sachs make more inroads in the entertainment business. For about two decades or so, starting in the late '80s, Bannon dove into movies and had strings of meetings where he'd eagerly take on film projects, promising to raise money for them, as well as produce and distribute the flicks. But when he burst upon the political landscape in the summer of 2016, Hollywood seemed to have forgotten who this mover and shaker was.

"I never heard of him, prior to Trumpism," media executive Barry Diller tells Bruck. "And no one I know knew him in his so-called Hollywood period." Bruck cites a 2015 Bloomberg article that noted Bannon's life was "a succession of Gatsbyish reinventions," and her own probing doesn't refute that narrative. Bannon's time in Tinseltown included financing that didn't always pan out and distribution that didn't seem to live up to his promises. He was remembered by some as being obsessed with the art of moviemaking, by others as someone who just didn't fit in—but perhaps most surprisingly, he didn't seem to be part of any "conservative political jihad," as one willing interviewee (many weren't) tells Bruck. "All the years I knew him, he just wanted to make a buck," another acquaintance says. More here, including how he's said to have made millions from Seinfeld, plus how he got sucked into "the populist revolution." (He once got into some trouble running an "eco-experiment.")

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