Director’s Cut: My Life in Film - ECW Press

Director’s Cut: My Life in Film

Kotcheff, Ted, Josh Young

  • From Weekend at Bernie’s to First Blood and Law & Order: SVU, the legendary director recounts his journey and wide-ranging career in this intimate memoir . . . with a foreword by Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mariska Hargitay

    Publishers Weekly Starred Review

    “It is a fascinating, startling thing to look over the films Ted has made and realize that he never met a genre he couldn’t conquer.” — Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award-winning actor

    “It is for such insights into the director’s craft that Ted Kotcheff’s digressive, sometimes salty Director’s Cut: My Life in Film is a book to be valued . . . a bounty of no-nonsense homiletics on the duty of the director and regular injections of salacious gossip.” — Film Comment

    Born to immigrant parents and raised in the slums of Toronto during the Depression, Ted Kotcheff learned storytelling on the streets before taking a stagehand job at CBC Television. Kotcheff went on to direct some of the greatest films of the freewheeling 1970s, including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Wake in Fright, and North Dallas Forty.

    After directing the 1980s blockbusters First Blood and Weekend at Bernie’s, Kotcheff helped produce the groundbreaking TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. During his career, he was declared a communist by the U.S. government, banned from the Royal Albert Hall in London, and coped with assassination threats on one of his lead actors.

    With his seminal films enjoying a critical renaissance, including praise from Martin Scorsese and Nick Cave, Kotcheff now turns the lens on himself. Director’s Cut is not just a memoir, but a close-up on life and craft, with stories of his long friendship with Mordecai Richler and working with stars like Sylvester Stallone, James Mason, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Gene Hackman, Jane Fonda, and Richard Dreyfuss, as well as advice on how to survive the slings and arrows of Hollywood.


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  • Ted Kotcheff resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Laifun, and their two children, Alexandra and Thomas. Josh Young is the co-author of five New York Times bestsellers, including books by Howie Mandel, Bob Newhart, and Jim Belushi. Mariska Hargitay is an Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning actor, producer, and director.

  • Published: March 2017

    ISBN: 9781770413610

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 448

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“It is a fascinating, startling thing to look over the films Ted has made and realize that he never met a genre he couldn’t conquer. He deserves to be considered as only a very few are: Spielberg and … the mind goes blank, because no one other than Steven has successfully ventured into such different terrain, created such a varied body of work, much like his idol Billy Wilder. Ted gave me a shot at the life I wanted; he handed me the greatest role I ever imagined, he set my life on a course that I had only dreamed of, I adored and adore him. I only regret we worked on only one film instead of ten.” — Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award winning actor

“Ted Kotcheff’s new book is at once a deeply felt tale of family and ethnicity and a thoughtful and sometimes hilarious memoir of show business war stories spanning Toronto, London, and Hollywood. It delivers on all levels.” — Peter Bart, former Variety editor-in-chief and author of Boffo: Hollywood in the Trenches

“It was an easy and enjoyable read which I would definitely read again … I would recommend Director’s Cut to film enthusiasts and any want-to-be or up-and-coming directors or producers.” — Uncovered Books blog

​"​And I thought I had heard all of Ted’s stories!​ Director’s Cut is a treasure trove of movie memories, insights,​ and personalities.​" — Dick Wolf, Emmy winning creator of Law & Order franchise

“It is for such insights into the director's craft that Ted Kotcheff's digressive, sometimes salty Director's Cut: My Life in Film is a book to be valued. . . a bounty of no-nonsense homiletics on the duty of the director and regular injections of salacious gossip.” — Film Comment

"I often find myself skimming through parts of non-fiction books that I find less interesting, but I read this one word for word. Director's Cut comes in two parts, and each is just as entertaining and fascinating." — Justine’s Bookends blog

Director's Cut is a long look at a life that was filled with fun and wonderment.” — Owen Sound Sun-Times

“Ted Kotcheff's directing career has, for decades, displayed perceptiveness, inventiveness and élan. Those characteristics are in evidence in this entertaining memoir. . . It's a behind-the-scenes look that stands front-and-center among film and TV autobiographies.” —

“Who would have figured that the Canadian director [. . . ] would be such an engaging raconteur? But here he is, at age 86, recounting great stories about the making of his films, the people he's met, and the struggles he's faced during his 50-plus years in the film and TV business.” — Film International

“I love the book. Clear, concise, full of fun and deceptively brilliant: in among the show business anecdotes is buried a real procedural on the art of directing.” — George Segal, Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actor

“With the pluck of a Dead End Kid​ and​ the insatiable curiosity of a ​​renaissance man, Ted Kotcheff takes us on his lifelong quest to find himself, love, and his art. A great read.” — Christopher Meloni, Emmy-nominated actor

“With a devilish wit and a zesty delight in the magic of cinema, Ted Kotcheff takes us on a grand tour of his remarkable directing career. Kotcheff is a natural-born storyteller whose humanity shines through not only in his movies but in the stunning parade of unforgettable performances given by some of the greatest stars of our time. His story is inspiring for anyone who cares about the power of movies and television to make the world a better place.” — Neal Baer, executive producer, Under the Dome, Law & Order: SVU, ER

“It's fascinating to go behind the scenes of the movies Kotcheff has directed, such as the gory First Blood and the hilarious Weekend at Bernie's, and the story of his life proves to be equally interesting.” — Publishers Weekly, starred

Director's Cut is a flavourful, informative and often amusing book.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Exceedingly entertaining,” — The Gate

“More than just some rote, memoir-by-the-numbers, Director's Cut proves an impressive, engaging story of a uniquely talented artist orbiting just on the edges of name recognition, and of Hollywood itself.” — Literary Review of Canada

“The book proceeds through a series of joyfully told anecdotes, with Kotcheff good-humoredly recalling adventures related to his director's work.” — Brooklyn Magazine

“It promises agreeably little – a workmanlike industry confessional – but delightfully, upsets the flatline with periodic spikes of rich anecdote, sincere humanity, and age-defying fire.” – Disarm Magazine