Last time I heard from Joe Eszterhas, he was warning people not to smoke because he had just gotten throat cancer. That in itself was quite a revelation because Eszterhas was the ultimate party boy during the 1980s and 1990s, writing “Basic Instinct” and “Jagged Edge,” two of the raunchiest movies of that generation, and living the Hollywood high life.
Well, it turns out that Eszterhas has found God, and I think it’s wonderful.
Eszterhas apparently had a “Road to Damascus” experience and attends a Catholic church. He says he enjoys the sermons at the local megachurch but misses Holy Communion, so he continues to consider himself a Catholic. He refuses to tithe to the Catholic church, however, because of the pedophile scandals. He has written a book on his conversion (read the accompanying story for details).
I have been following Eszterhas’ career since the “Basic Instinct” days because he lived at that time in Sausalito, which is right next to the town where I grew up, and he made a fortune writing screen plays. “Basic Instinct” is one of the raunchiest and darkest movies I’ve ever seen (I saw it before I converted), but Eszterhas says he doesn’t want to write movies like that anymore.
He has turned down hefty offers to write scripts for movies with sinister plots and dark themes like the 16 other ones he wrote that made it to the screen- some paying as much as $3 million a script.
Mr. Eszterhas said he spent too much of his life exploring the dark side of humanity and does not want to go there anymore.
As a convert myself, Eszterhas’ experience rings true:
He worked as a police reporter in Cleveland and “was always fascinated with the darkness. I covered countless shootings, urban riots, and in several situations I was there before police were because I had a police radio and used to drift around the city until something happened,” he said.
But after his spiritual transformation, he said, he had had enough of death, murder, blood, and chaos.
“Frankly my life changed from the moment God entered my heart. I’m not interested in the darkness anymore,” he said. “I’ve got four gorgeous boys, a wife I adore, I love being alive, and I love and enjoy every moment of my life. My view has brightened and I don’t want to go back into that dark place.”
Mr. Eszterhas’ love and appreciation for life was magnified even more last year when his surgeon told him he didn’t need to schedule another visit.
“He used the word ‘cured,’ a word that oncologists generally don’t use,” Mr. Eszterhas said. “He said I didn’t have to come back for any checks, that my tissue had regenerated to the point where you cannot only not tell that there was ever any cancer there, but you can’t tell that there had been any surgery there.
“Naomi and I were, of course, overwhelmed when he told us. I think it’s truly a miraculous blessing.”
It is a wonderful thing to see somebody make changes in his life that are positive, focused on family, good health and faith. We should all celebrate another person heading in the right direction.