Brent Stark, ex-Oscar winner, ex-jailbird is nervous when Stanley, his AA leader, comes to Liz’s party with two strangers in tow. After five years in the clink he has an ex-con’s fear of trouble. Staying out of it by doing a decent day’s work plus getting through another twenty-four hours without a drink are his ambitions now. No matter either that he feels he must tone down his charismatic talent in the Austin, Texas community theatre bit-parts he plays. For he has long ago abandoned any hope of a career comeback.
But when the strangers turn out to be the reps of well-heeled Sam Dupree, whose dream it is to make a different kind of film, and Brent finds that Sam is thinking of asking him to be his director, something stirs inside him again. Brent turns out to be Dupree’s man. And so in My Soul to Keep, Davis Bunn tells the story of Brent and his rag tag band of Hollywood has-beens and outsiders as they make the film “Long Hunter.”
Meanwhile in Tinseltown, Sam Menzes and his Galaxy Studio of über directors and actors are at work on “Iron Feather.” Both films feature the same historic character so a showdown is inevitable. The result is a David and Goliath tale where the unscrupulous power and mega bucks of Galaxy threaten to crush faith-based Shoestrong Productions at every turn.
There is never a dull moment in the story as Bunn flips between the Shoestring and Galaxy camps with the agility and clarity of cinematography. His dialogue is very Hollywood in-the-know and his prose lively and muscular with scarcely a word of flab. Witness these nice effects:
"The church was two blocks off Sunset, in a section of Hollywood that was downshifting from rough to creepy."