CAREER: Freelance writer. CDNow, senior movies editor, 1999–2002. Former contributing editor for Us Magazine.
(With Lawrence Frascella) Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making "Rebel without a Cause," Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Premiere magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, Tracks, George, Travel & Leisure, Out, Washington Post, Time Out New York, Bulletin (Australia), New York Newsday, and Us Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: A prolific freelance writer, Al Weisel joined movie and theater critic Lawrence Frascella in creating his first book, Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making "Rebel without a Cause." Directed by Nicholas Ray in 1955, the movie Rebel without a Cause tackled tough issues for the time. Weisel and Frascella performed extensive research in studio archives and conducted interviews with accessible cast members to bring readers onto the set and into the minds of the cast and crew who participated in creating the landmark film. The authors detail how Ray drew from his own life in developing the dysfunctional relationship between Jim (played by James Dean) and his father.
In Live Fast, Die Young, Weisel and Frascella also reveal the origins of many of the film's famous symbols (including Dean's red jacket), the intricacies of the scriptwriting and casting for the movie, and the political dynamics of on-set affairs that dominated during production. The result of the authors' investigative work is a "well-researched study" and "riveting insider's account" that is "as dramatic and provocative as the movie," wrote Rosellen Brewer in the Library Journal. Expressing a similar high regard for the book, the Kirkus Reviews contributor maintained that Live Fast, Die Young is "at times more interesting than the movie itself."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2005, Gordon Flagg, review of Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making "Rebel without a Cause," p. 17.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Live Fast, Die Young, p. 954.
Library Journal, October 1, 2005, Rosellen Brewer review of Live Fast, Die Young, p. 77.
Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of Live Fast, Die Young, p. 46.
Al Weisel Home Page, http://home.nyc.rr.com/alweisel (January 16, 2006).