Hollywood & the Hyperreal: Staging the Postmodern Disaster Towards the close of 2001, several weeks after 9/11, a friend of mine posed a question that had little to do with familial grief, the bravery of ?remen, ‘Islamic’ fundamentalism, or the multifarious processes of rebuilding, rede?ning and reasserting the cultural and ontological fabric of New York City. “What does Hollywood do now?” His question, it turned out, was not concerned with the challenge of ‘adequate’ cinematic representation, or the representational limits of the cinematic — issues that have underpinned discourses on the moral responsibilities surrounding ?lm-making about collective trauma, since 1945 especially — nor the question of what sort of time lapse between real-life event and red-carpet premiere might prove palatable to Western viewers (?ve years, as it turned out).1 World Trade Center movie trailer Oliver Stone, 2006 Rather, the question of what Hollywood would do was displaced, in my friend’s mind, by an interest in what it could. Simply put: in terms of gripping, heart-wrenching narrative and compulsive visual spectacle, how could Hollywood possibly ‘better’ 9/11? This question is not repeated in a bid to shock. By extension, it is not my intention to dwell upon the multifarious moral implications of this question, or the problematic potential of my own paraphrasing (with the exception of acknowledging the obvious absence of Hollywoodesque cathartic closure to 9/11’s formal narrative). 1 30 Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, starring Nicholas Cage, was released in August 2006.