Stephen K. Bannon, who maintains a precarious hold over the nativist wing of the Trump White House, honed his skills in the art of conservative persuasion in the most liberal precinct of the American imagination, Hollywood. He became himself in the byways of the movie business. These days, Bannon is a dishevelled presence in the Oval Office, but he cut a different figure in Beverly Hills, where he looked the part of a Hollywood executive—fast-talking, smartly dressed, aggressively fit, carrying himself with what one former colleague described as an “alpha swagger.” He worked out of an impressive office on Canon Drive. He was passionate and knowledgeable about film, and boasted about his connections, his production credits, and his background in mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs. He was a Republican, but not dogmatic, and he tried not to let his political beliefs get in the way of his work.