A. High school: Nanticoke, Pa. College: Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge.
A. Casablanca-- isn't it everyone's?
A. The Sopranos
A. Husband, father, writer. Loves: Robin, David, Michael, traveling.
A. From 'The Rules of the Game': what you must understand is that everyone has his reasons.
A. Eating dinner outdoors in a piazza in Rome with my wife. (What makes this idea of perfection particularly appealing is that you can actually do it.)
A. Being gravely ill and dependent.
A. Istanbul-- my new favorite city.
A. No one.
A. My wife.
A. That I have never written a movie. But who knows?
A. Speaking a foreign language fluently.
A. My two sons, David and Michael-- though I suspect I didn't really have much to do with the fine men they've become.
A. Out of the many? Impatience, I suppose.
A. A genuine curiosity about people and places.
A. George Clooney-- or at least look like him.
A. I hope, a sense of humor.
A. Patrick Leigh Fermor-- not fictional, but certainly the hero of his wonderful memoirs.
A. Shakespeare. "Just talk; I'll listen."
A. People using cell phones in the street. Not getting a live person when you call customer service.
A. Film director.
A. Intelligence, humor, kindness.
A. Easier probably to say which songwriters: Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, The Beatles, Antonio Carlos Jobim
A. Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust, Evelyn Waugh, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A. Remembrance of Things Past, The Great Gatsby, A Handful of Dust, Middlemarch,A Time of Gifts.
A. The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh.
A. You are already in every word-- become interested in someone else.
A. Positive: authentic feel for place. Negative: not fast enough (but I fear I ignore this).
A. When I was writing The Good German, a novel about a city (Berlin) physically and morally devastated by the war, I became interested in what happened to the people who'd managed to get out-- the exiles who were part of the great intellectual diaspora of the 30s. I was particularly interested in the emigres who ended up in Los Angeles (Thomas Mann, Brecht, Schonberg, Stravinsky, an endless, impressive list), partly because so few of us know about their time there and partly because it seemed to me an anomaly, an inherently dramatic collision of cultures: the keepers of the High Culture of old Europe suddenly adrift in a city of soda fountains and Betty Grable movies. I also thought their perspective would be a unique way of looking at Hollywood-- which, of course, was the real subject of the book. Stardust started with the Germans, but ended up as a book about the studio system at the very height of its success (in 1946 more Americans went to the movies than would ever go again), just before it came under siege by politicians determined to use some of its stardust for their own purposes.