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Brad and Jen: The Quickie Book

Us Weekly’s experts had all of a week to churn out 200 pages.

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Brad and Jen’s marital woes have been such a boon for the paparazzi industrial economy that an insta-book was inevitable. As were its authors: Us Weekly senior staff writers Mara Reinstein and Joey Bartolomeo, who’ve written almost all the magazine’s Pitt-Aniston stories, with help from reporters stalking the couple. (In print, these reporters are usually referred to as “onlookers,” as in “One onlooker said they looked very much in love.”) Still, as epic as this saga seems today, it’s still a celebrity-picture-weekly story, so they were given only five days to write it. Alex French talked to the authors of Brad & Jen: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Golden Couple ($7), due out for Valentine’s Day.

How did you write so quickly?
M.R.:
I still don’t know.
J.B.:
We looked like we’d been on some bizarre drug binge.
M.R.:
Bob Wallace, the head of Wenner Books, said it had to be 40,000 words, which I didn’t really understand—all I knew was that an Us Weekly cover story is, like, 1,300 words, so I knew it would be a lot.
J.B.:
We had eleven chapters, and the editor said, “You need more.” We had to get creative. There was a chapter on the month of December and one on their style.

You each wrote separate chapters. Were you worried about disparities in tone?
M.R.:
We have similar styles.
J.B.:
Very similar. And then sometimes we’d find we were overlapping content.
M.R.:
Right, especially the baby quotes. It was just the dominant theme of their marriage.

How else did your editor help?
J.B.:
The advice we got was, “Hit the return key more often.” My paragraphs were too long. That was what turned my magazine writing into book writing.

Did you ever dream about Brad and Jen?
M.R.:
I had a dream before the breakup about whether I would apologize to them.

When was the last chance to update?
M.R.:
January 17.

So if they reconcile?
J.B.:
We could turn around [an addendum] in three hours, no problem.

Any other celebrity couples you’d tackle?
M.R.:
There are few worthy of writing a book about. You could do Nick and Jessica. Tom and Nicole, at the time.
J.B.:
It’s hard enough to write 40,000 words about a couple that’s been together seven years. All these newer couples would take a lot of creative writing.


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