Hunting Marlon Brando

A True Story

by Mike Sager

“You have to dare to be bad in this world of ours, you have to try stuff, you might have to fail. One thing is certain: If you do what you always do, it’s guaranteed to turn out the same.” —from Hunting Marlon Brando.

Now available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook. Watch a video trailer of the story or take a visual tour of  Marlon Brando's legacy.

From the start, it sounds ridiculous: Go to Tahiti and find Marlon Brando.

 But the worldwide search for the legendary Method actor, the star of such classic movies as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, On the Waterfront, and Mutiny on the Bounty, soon becomes an obsession. The story of one man’s coming of age.

When we first meet him, Sager is 30 years old, divorce pending, no longer the youngest in the room. Winter is coming. His prospects are dim. After ten years as a journalist, he knows it’s time to raise his game. He needs to write something big and important and lasting. Something epic. Something meaningful. Something to seal his reputation.

 As it is, the new editor of the Washington Post Magazine suggests an all-expenses-paid search for the most elusive actor of the times—starting at his south seas hideaway, a private atoll off the coast of Tahiti.

 Even though Brando famously hates the press and has refused for years to grant any interviews, Sager takes the job.

 Wouldn’t you?

 Brando’s work as an actor paved the way for generations to follow, as did his commitment to social activism. And he is credited with breaking the stereotype of the stoic, inch-deep, flawless American hero in favor of a distinct new template for American manhood—flawed, mercurial, quixotic, tough but tender.

 Sager’s story of his worldwide hunt for the iconic actor is a totally true tale of far-flung travel, grandiose schemes, tropical adventure, Hollywood superstardom . . . and a beautiful Tahitian translator, who puts Sager’s mission in jeopardy when she suddenly disappears. A classic piece first published in 1987, completely re-written and updated with over 40,000 words of new material. How one story changed a man’s life.

“I once described Mike Sager as “the Beat poet of American journalism.” The title is still apt. For decades, he has explored the beautiful and horrifying underbelly of American society with poignantly explicit portrayals of porn stars, swingers, druggies, movie stars, rockers and rappers, as well as stunning stories about obscure people whose lives were resonant with deep meaning—a 92-year-old man, an extraordinarily beautiful woman, a 650-pound man. He became a journalistic ethnographer of American life and his generation’s heir to the work of Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Hunter S. Thompson. His imposing body of work today is collected in more than a dozen books and eBooks, including the best sellers Scary Monsters and Super Freaks and Revenge of the Donut Boys”  —Walt Harrington, author, journalist, and past head of Journalism at the University of Illinois.

Mike Sager

Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than forty years, he has worked as a writer primarily for the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire.  Sager has written a dozen books; a number of his stories have inspired movies and documentaries, including the classic Boogie Nights. He is the editor and publisher of, a content brand.

Mike Sager