Hungarian-born Joe Eszterhas began his journalistic career as a reporter for Rolling Stone. In 1974, Eszterhas authored the popular, award-winning novel Charlie Simpson's Apocalypse. The book was optioned by Hollywood, and though it has not as yet been filmed, it served as the key for Eszterhas' entree into scriptwriting. He is best known for his vicious, sexy, highly literate crime and mystery scripts: Jagged Edge (1985), Betrayed (1988), and the Sharon Stone starmaker Basic Instinct (1989). At one point Eszterhas was the highest-paid writer in Hollywood, receiving $3 million up-front money for Basic Instinct alone. Never one to shirk from a fracas, Eszterhas has fought publicly with producers, directors, powerful agents and even crime bosses (especially after accepting the responsibility of penning the John Gotti biopic). Given his reputation for censor-baiting, it is surprising to learn that one of Eszterhas' biggest battles was aimed at convincing director Paul Verhoeven to tone down the sex-and-violence excesses that Verhoeven had added to Basic Instinct. Nonetheless, it was Eszterhas who in 1995 issued a sarcastic response to Senator Bob Dole's call for Hollywood to clean up its act; kidding on the square, Eszterhas argued that some of the political misdeeds of the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations were far more "obscene" than anything found in an R-rated movie.