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, Hunting Marlon Brando is completely re-written and updated with over 40,000 words of new material. As it turned out, it’s a story that altered the entire course of Sager’s life.

With an afterword by Walt Harrington

“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


Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. For more than forty years he has worked as a writer for the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire. Sager is the author of more than a dozen books and eBooks. Many of his stories have inspired documentaries and films, including the classic Boogie Nights. He is the founder and publisher of The Sager Group, a content brand. For more information, please see Mike Sager.

Sager plays Virgil in the modern American Inferno . . . Compelling and stylish magazine journalism, rich in novelistic detail.

Kirkus Reviews

Like his journalistic precursors Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson, Sager writes frenetic, off-kilter pop-sociological profiles of Americans in all their vulgarity and vitality . . . He writes with flair, but only in the service of an omnivorous curiosity and defies expectations in pieces that lesser writers would play for satire or sensationalism . . . A Whitmanesque ode to teeming humanity’s mystical unity.

The New York Times Book Review

Sager’s writing is strikingly perceptive. He writes like a novelist, stocking his stories with the details and observations other journalists might toss away.

KPBS Radio’s Culture Lust blog

Mike Sager writes about places and events we seldom get a look at—and people from whom we avert our eyes. But with Sager in command of all the telling details, he shows us history, humanity, humor, sometimes even honor. He makes us glad to live with our eyes wide open.

Richard Ben Cramer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What It Takes: The Way to the White House