Each week, Deadline’s Hot Reads presents what Hollywood’s power players are reading now and what they think is special about each book.
This week, film producer and Blumhouse Productions CEO Jason Blum shares what he’s been reading as his latest film, Ouija, holds its spell over the Halloween weekend. The PG-13 horror feature is Blumhouse’s seventh micro-budget film to hit No. 1 – but Blum also has his first micro-budget drama, the Miles Teller–J.K. Simmons jazz two-hander Whiplash, an intense drama garnering strong critical and festival acclaim that has spawned Oscar hopes.
“I find that the books that I read not for work inform what I do and the decisions that I make in my business,” he said. “But people generally don’t like to adapt – especially successful people. They get onto something and they stick with it. It’s important no matter how successful you are to be aware of what’s going on around you and change; I also think I would get so bored if I didn’t do that.”
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“I’m fascinated by America’s position in terms of where we are vis à vis the rest of the world, because our culture and the art we make – the music, the plays, the movies and the television shows – are still one of our top exports. I wonder how much of that has to do with us being a superpower or not, and how those things will be affected given conversations about how America’s power is waning. I’m curious as to why that is and what causes it, and if it’s reversible or not, and this book was all about that.”
The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough (Penguin Books)
“The Big Rich is really about these larger-than-life personalities, mostly in Texas, and this culture that’s existed for the last 100 years around the discovery and export of oil. What’s so amazing about it is that there’s one extraordinary story after another – and the stories are true.”
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Knopf)
“There are a lot of people I respect and admire who are Scientologists, so I’ve always been curious about it. It’s an interesting inside story of what that is. And I’m always curious about what makes people make the choices that they make. There were a lot of answers in that book. The author spends a ton of time and it’s a very secretive organization. He got a lot of information, some of which they refute, some of which they don’t. It’s a really fascinating read.”