Bestselling author Gwen Cooper has contributed to Variety, People and Harper’s Bazaar. Her most famous work is the provocative book, “Diary of a South Beach Party Girl”. Here’s what Gwen wrote about my film His Highness Hollywood (available for only $14.99 with free shipping -order now for Christmas):
His Highness Hollywood
Director/Star: Ian Halperin
Retail: $14.99 US
In an era when “undercover journalism” and “gotcha documentary” are so frequently synonymous terms, Ian Halperin’s behind-the-scenes Hollywood dishfest, His Highness Hollywood, is a refreshing—and highly welcome—change of pace. The New York Times best-selling author poses as a gay wannabe actor, who also happens to be “Israeli royalty,” who goes by the moniker “His Highness” and arrives in Hollywood ready for his close-up—and guaranteed stardom. Unlike most undercover expose documentaries, however, there is real humanity in Halperin’s quest to examine the bizarre inner workings and broken dreams that keep the Tinseltown machinery running. Halperin never descends to cheap stunts, eyebrow-waggling innuendo, or the goading of his hapless subjects to ever-greater heights of ludicrousness, unlike so many others of his ilk—including Borat, to which this film will inevitably be compared. The result is a genuinely thoughtful, journalistic, and substantive documentary, one that entertains even as it informs.
The roll call of characters is central-casting colorful: the actress-cum-stripper who takes to the pole when her dreams of stardom (or even a reasonable payday) don’t quite pan out; the strident publicist who takes “His Highness” on as a pet project; the celebrity personal trainer who gives him a body makeover; the fawning retail clerks, casting directors, and questionable nutritionists who can barely contain their glee at the prospect of a new client/protégé who’s genuine “royalty.” Several A-listers make cameo appearances, including Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and George Clooney. Halperin also lands thought-provoking interviews with industry legends including Bill Paxton and Ron Jeremy. He even gets Janice Dickerson herself to photograph him for headshots, with the promise that “we’re going to make magic together!”
Halperin also manages to infiltrate the inner recesses of the Church of Scientology, and do what perhaps no other documentary filmmaker has ever been able to do—get recorded footage of their indoctrination process. The Church assures Halperin in no uncertain terms that, for the right price, they can “cure” him of his homosexuality. These clips, and the bonus Scientology interviews and recordings on the DVD extras, are worth the price of admission all on their own.
For its intelligence, humor, and unflinching candor mixed with surprising warmth, His Highness Hollywood is sure to find a wide, mainstream audience. Recommended for all mainstream and/or mass-market retailers.