From Basic Instinct to Showgirls to Jesus

Conversion for Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas happened while sitting on a curb crying. And not just crying but also, to his shock, praying about his alcohol and nicotine addictions and his newly diagnosed throat cancer.

“And suddenly,” he writes in his compelling new book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith (St. Martin’s Press; 2008), “my heart stilled. My nerve endings stopped torturing me. I stopped trembling and twitching. … Something happened to me on that hellish muggy day … I was saved.”

It’s been more than seven years since then, but recently when I spoke by phone to Joe — creator of such sex-and-violence movies as “Basic Instinct” and “Jagged Edge” — it was clear his spiritual transformation wasn’t just a passing phase.

“There is a spirit in me that I’d never felt before,” he told me. “God opened up this formerly crusty, cynical heart.” Joe, his wife and children now are active members of a small Catholic church in a Cleveland suburb.

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