This book presents a fresh and intriguing look at the man whose movies made the independent film industry. One of the biggest stories in Hollywood in the past 20 years has been the rise of independent film. The man most responsible for its ethos is John Cassavetes. When Cassavetes died in 1989, the independent film industry lost its first figurehead. A prototypical outsider who rebelled against all conventions, Cassavetes established the foundations of an actor-based, seemingly improvised cinema of emotional truth and immediacy. His films - including "Shadows", "Faces", "A Woman Under the Influence", "Husbands" and "Love Streams" - are as challenging, infuriating and compelling as he was, often financed by Cassavetes' hiring himself out as an actor - in which capacity he made, rather like Orson Welles, a name for himself for his on-camera talent while his true genius, behind the camera, was relegated to the affections of an underground following.With contributions from Peter Falk, Martin Scorsese, Sean Penn, John Sayles, Sidney Lumet and Charles During, as well as interviews with Cassavetes' wife Gena Rowlands and their children, "Accidental Genius" represents fully for the first time the complex life and influence of one of cinema's greatest unsung heroes.