“Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood” is a memoir by Ed Zwick, whose name I first spotted when he and partner Marshall Herskovitz created the late 1980s ABC hit “thirtysomething.”

The book is full of details about the creative process and lots of behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the more than two dozen movies Zwick has directed, including:

    • How he changed the script of “Glory” once he saw the chemistry and bonding between the Black actors playing soldiers (Andre Braugher, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Jihmi Kennedy), a decision that brought down the wrath of Matthew Broderick’s mother, who wanted the movie to basically be about her son, not them;
    • How first Julia Roberts and then Harvey Weinstein screwed him over regarding “Shakespeare In Love,” a project Zwick developed but then had ripped away;
    • How he was forced to hire Bruce Willis for “The Siege,” and still cringes whenever he sees the scenes he shot with him;
    • The making of a movie I consider highly underrated, “Love and Other Drugs,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway;
    • Problems he had wrangling Jim Belushi while making “About Last Night,” with Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, and Elizabeth Perkins (in her big screen debut).

Among a plethora of great stories in Zwick’s book, two of them especially stuck with me. One comes from the making of “Blood Diamond,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly:

It seems Leo was currently between gorgeous girlfriends. One morning I walked into the makeup trailer as I often did to discuss the day’s work with him. I found him in the chair waiting for his turn and noticed he was paging through a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. “What are you doing?” I asked. Jenny was in the chair beside him. Without even looking over, she said, “Shopping.”

The other took place while Zwick spent an evening talking with Tom Cruise, the star of “The Last Samurai”:

Our conversation lasted for hours. Eventually I realized it was getting dark and I worried I had overstayed my welcome, but Tom seemed game to keep going. I told him I had to get home and stood to leave. With the force of the wrestler he had been in high school, he grabbed me by the shoulders and with inimitable intensity said, “We’re going to make a movie!”

I thoroughly enjoyed “Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions” and heartily recommend it.