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BEVERLY HILLS — It’s hard to believe there hasn’t already been a roman à clef about the dizzying world of Hollywood socials during Oscar weekend, but at least the first one ever has been taken on by two women well versed in the roles. “Celebutantes,” the first novel by Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Hopper, offspring of producer Leonard Goldberg and actor Dennis Hopper, respectively, will very likely have their peers in Los Angeles and New York scanning the pages trying to figure out who’s who. Everyone and anyone (you know who you are) who has ever been involved with Oscar weekend, from fashion folk to movie moguls and all manner of peripherals, has a fictionalized doppelganger in the novel (to be published Feb. 5 by St. Martin’s Press).
“It’s all based on people we know, as well as our lives,” says Goldberg, 33, as she perches at the dining room table in her Beverly Hills aerie opposite Hopper.
This story first appeared in the January 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It’s ironic because the idea to write the book came about four years ago when we were trying to get out of the Hollywood world,” continues Hopper, 35, who, like Goldberg, was producing movies. “But we realized we had some great material to work with.”
The novel follows 26-year-old Lola Santisi, daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a former model, who’s working as a brand ambassador for an up-and-coming designer vying to dress a celebrity for the Oscars. Beginning and ending at two consecutive Vanity Fair post-Oscar bashes, the pages in between cover every fashion and celebrity scenario possible, some so far-fetched they could only have really happened in the Tinseltown circus.
“At times, our editor asked us to tone it down because it was so outrageous he didn’t believe it actually happened, but it did,” says Goldberg.
Included in the book are passages where Lola must contend with characters like Jake, a screen idol with a secret past as a former fatty (he sprays doggie deterrent spray into his mouth whenever he gets cravings) and Candy, a Britney-esque rock star.
One such passage ripped from real-life reads: “Before I can stop her, Candy splatters ‘Pinklette’ glitter down the front of Julian’s gown, turning a dress worthy of a sultry Marlene Dietrich into a kindergartener’s splatter painting…. ‘It was too long anyway,’ Candy snaps as she grabs a pair of scissors. Before I can stop her, she’s hacked the floor-length gown to crotch level. It’s safe to assume ABS won’t be peddling their knock-off of this dress along with Ashley Judd’s $10,000 J.Mendel on “The View” the Monday after the Oscars.”
Even without the censored bits, the book remains a highly amusing read. And readers also will be able to get an actual visual of the main characters, with four 90-second mini “trailers” directed by McG that will make their debuts on You Tube and Amazon.com in the coming weeks.
“We want people to still be able to create the characters in their heads, but with our backgrounds, how could we not add a little moviemaking?” asks Goldberg, who first worked with the director as one of the associate producers of the “Charlie’s Angels” film.
And next up for the duo?
“We thought we’d be writing the sequel by now, but we didn’t realize how much work goes into promoting the first book,” says Hopper.
The pair also has been challenged by planning outfits for all of its press events. “I’m more bohemian,” says Hopper — who often wears Flower Child-era pieces inherited from her mother, “Zabriskie Point” actress Daria Halprin — “and Amanda’s more classic and elegant.” (For instance, she often wears her mother Wendy’s Chanel.)
Of course, just like with “The Devil Wears Prada,” there could also be the ultimate Hollywood ending — a movie version of the book.
Sighs Goldberg: “Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?”