With One Line, William Goldman Taught Hollywood Everything It Knows [Peter Debruge, Variety]
William Goldman, the Oscar-winning writer of screenplays for “All the President’s Men” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” who died on Friday, coined the best line in the history of Hollywood, and it wasn’t even for one of his movies.
“Nobody knows anything.”
If you work in this business — and Goldman was clear-eyed about the fact that the film industry is an industry first, where art and ideas must serve the bottom line, or perish — it’s worth getting those three words tattooed on your forearm. Or cross-stitched onto a throw pillow for your agent’s couch.
They serve as a reminder to every writer in town to stand by your ideas, because you can never predict what will be a hit — “not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work” — and every time you compromise your vision because someone pretends to know better, you’re sacrificing the chance to prove them wrong.