swimming with tide

Swimming with Sharks

Swimming with Sharks is a 1994 American black comedy/drama film, directed and written by George Huang.

It is also known as The Boss and Buddy Factor.


Buddy Ackerman, an influential movie mogul, hires a young executive as his assistant. Guy, who has just graduated from film school, believes that his new job is a golden opportunity. Despite warnings from Rex, the outgoing secretary who has become hardened under Buddy's reign and about to take a major executive position at another studio, Guy remains optimistic.

Unfortunately, Buddy turns out to be an employer from hell; he treats Guy like a slave, subjects him to sadistic (and public) verbal abuse, and has him bending over backwards by doing meaningless errands. Guy is humiliated and forced to bear the brunt of his insults. When Guy overhears a phone conversation between his movie producer girlfriend, Dawn, and Buddy that leads him to believe Buddy is sleeping with her, he snaps and kidnaps Buddy in order to exact some revenge, which results in tying up Buddy and subjecting him to severe beatings, torture and paper cutting Buddy on his face.

Once in Guy's power, however, Buddy reveals for the first time a human, vulnerable side, telling a tragic story about his wife's death and revealing that he too was once a bullied assistant to powerful, tyrannical men for ten years, leading to why he subjects Guy to such abuse and Buddy's plans for Guy's future. Guy also learns a few secrets about Dawn, and must confront what he really wants from life and to what lengths he'll go to get it.



Huang decided to write the script after having a conversation with Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez was in Los Angeles after his film El Mariachi brought him to the attention of Sony Pictures, where he befriended Huang. Huang told of Rodriguez his frustrations with filmmaking when the director encouraged him to quit his post at Sony and pursue writing full time so Huang could produce a script to direct himself.

Many rumors circulate about who Buddy is based on. One is that the character was inspired by real life movie mogul Scott Rudin, another is that he is based on producer Joel Silver and Guy is based on Silver's assitsant in the early 90's, Alan Schechter. However, George Huang used to work as an assistant for Barry Josephson, who was the SR. VP of Development at Sony Pictures.

In Popular Culture

A stage adaptation penned by Michael Lesslie had its world premiere at London's Vaudeville Theatre in October, 2007. The play starred Christian Slater as Buddy, Matt Smith as Guy and Helen Baxendale as Dawn.

Punk band Lagwagon feature a quote from the movie in their song Gun In Your Hand, off their 1998 album Let's Talk About Feelings. It quotes Buddy's speech "I was young too, I felt just like you. Hated authority, hated all my bosses, thought they were full of s**t. Look, it's like they say, if you're not a rebel by the age of 20, you got no heart, but if you haven't turned establishment by 30, you've got no brains. Because there are no story-book romances, no fairy-tale endings. So before you run out and change the world, ask yourself, "What do you really want?"

See also

External links

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