Jake Malooley tracks down writer-director Paul Brickman, who more or less vanished after Risky Business:
Just 34 when “Risky Business” was released, Brickman directed just one other feature, the 1990 bomb “Men Don’t Leave.” The alchemy that made the filmmaker’s arrival so enduring — elegant direction atypical of coming-of-age films; sparkling adolescent dialogue; the use of Tangerine Dream’s propulsive, hypnotic score — makes his lack of output over the last three decades all the more surprising.
Brickman is candid about his ambivalence towards Hollywood and the choices he might have made. He wanted to make more movies. It just didn’t happen.
I’ve seen smaller versions of Brickman’s story many times, including in my own career: success brings heat; heat brings opportunities. But taking advantage of those opportunities is much more difficult than it seems. Pick the wrong project and your heat is wasted. Knowing this, it’s easy to get paranoid and avoid picking any project — and your heat gradually dissipates.
Luckily, a screenwriter can afford to be wrong more often than a director. A screenwriter can write four movies a year. A director is prolific if she directs one.
In the case of Brickman, a director is notable for only directing two films over the course of a career.