The Kid Stays in the Picture

The Kid Stays in the Picture is a 1994 print autobiography by film producer Robert Evans. A film adaptation of the book was released in 2002.

The Kid Stays in the Picture
Poster of the movie The Kid Stays in the Picture.jpg
Directed byNanette Burstein
Brett Morgen
Written byNanette Burstein
Brett Morgen
Produced byNanette Burstein
Brett Morgen[1]
Narrated byRobert Evans
Music byJeff Danna
Distributed byUSA Films
Release date
  • 2002 (2002)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States

The title comes from a line attributed to studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, who was defending Evans after some of the actors involved in the film The Sun Also Rises (1957) had recommended he be removed from the cast.

The film adaptation was directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen and released by USA Films. It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[2]



The book chronicles Evans' rise from childhood to radio star to film actor to production chief of Paramount Pictures to independent producer, his marriage to Ali MacGraw, his downfall including his 1980 cocaine bust and implication in the murder of Roy Radin, aka "The Cotton Club Murder", his banishment from Paramount Pictures, and his return to the studio in the early 1990s.

The audiobook version was read by Evans himself, with (presumably impromptu) additions.

A revised edition of the book, published in 1995, adds several chapters of new material, including material on his projects after his return to Paramount Pictures.


The film version, released in 2002, utilizes Evans' narration interspersed mostly with photographs from Evans' life as well as brief film footage from films such as Love Story, The Sun Also Rises, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and The Godfather, along with interviews to tell the story from his discovery by Norma Shearer for Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) to his return to Paramount Pictures.

According to the commentary by directors Burstein and Morgen on the DVD, many elements from the book, such as Evans' childhood and his other marriages (the film focuses only on his marriage to Ali MacGraw), were dropped because they felt they did not move the story along.

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 112 reviews, with an average rating of 7.69/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though not objective by any means, The Kid Stays in the Picture is irresistibly entertaining."[3]

Stage productionEdit

An adaptation of the book—along with material from a further, unpublished volume of Evans' memoirs—for the Broadway stage was announced in 2010, to be written by Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Richard Eyre,[4] but the production was canceled in 2011.[5]

Another stage adaptation of the book was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2017. It was adapted by the Complicite theatre company and directed by Simon McBurney.[6] The cast included Danny Huston, son of John Huston, who worked with Evans on Chinatown in 1974.

In popular cultureEdit

The film version[7] was parodied in the IFC series Documentary Now! with Bill Hader as Jerry Wallach.[8][9][10]

Robert Evans and his book appear in Moby's "We Are All Made Of Stars" videoclip.


  1. ^ "DVD Verdict Review - The Kid Stays In The Picture". Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Kid Stays in the Picture". Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  3. ^ "The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Michael Cieply (February 10, 2010). "A Hollywood Player Inspires a Broadway Play". The New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Harry Haun (November 18, 2011). "Playbill on Opening Night: Private Lives – Keeping Up with the Chases". Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  6. ^ "the kid stays in the picture - Royal Court". Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans-IFC
  8. ^ Documentary Now! Season Finale Review: Mr. Runner Up Parts 1 and 2-Den of Geek
  9. ^ Documentary Now! stays in the picture with a boffo finale-AV Club
  10. ^ Documentary Now! Isn't a Parody. It's Not an Homage. It's a Different Style of Comedy.-Esquire

External linksEdit