As actors use their imagination to create a fictional life the audience will believe, it is not surprising that many actors branch out into the field of writing. As actors know, writing is a craft just like acting, and therefore must be honed on a daily basis. Below are five different actors who have not only disciplined themselves in the field of acting but within writing as well. Read below and read up on the creative minds that have branched out from their acting careers into the realm of creative writing.
This young, inspiring actor is constantly working. Recently, Radcliffe played the lead role in Martin McDonagh's dark yet humorous play, "The Cripple of Inishmaan." He portrayed the handicapped Billy where he physically transformed and recited excellent dramatic monologues. In film, Radcliffe has been acclaimed for his roles as Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series, Arthur Kipps in The Woman in Black (2012) and the influential Beat poet Allen Ginsburg in the film Kill Your Darlings (2013). One is in awe at his passion for his craft.
But what you may not know is Radcliffe also writes poetry. According to the dailymail.co.uk, a quartet of his poems was published in Rubbish magazine under his pen name, 'Jacob Gershon.' The dailymail.co.uk continues that Radcliffe told the Guardian, "I don't think I'd have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I'd love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions." He told elle.com, "I was writing poetry more consistently when I was 16 to 19 or 20. In that period I would have written a lot of love poems. If all this isn't enough, what's more, he's also writing a black comedy screenplay according to now-here-this.timeout.com.James Franco: This Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in James Dean (2001), the Spider Man trilogy (2002-2007), and 127 hours (2010), and more, has a passion not only for acting but creative writing. As he told Vanityfair.com,
I acted professionally for about eight years, and I was writing all that time but never showed anybody any of it. There just came a point after those eight years when I thought, "There's a lot I can do with acting--there are a lot of things I can express and do creatively, but there are also limitations." And at that point I decided to take my interest in literature as seriously as my acting, so I went back to school and then graduate school.
Earning his undergraduate degree in English from UCLA with a focus on creative writing, according to The Washington Post, he headed out to New York City and proceeded into Columbia's MFA program and Brooklyn College's creative writing program. After obtaining his masters from Columbia, he went on to Yale to attain his Doctorate in English.
In addition to his education, he has written multiple books. According to The New York Times, his poetry book Directing Herbert White is a collection that is neither good nor bad. The NY Times review continues that his poems are, "uniformly written in the kind of flat, free verse...with stanzas that aren't so much stanzas as elongated paragraphs."
Other books he has published solo include: Palo Alto, Actors Anonymous, A California Childhood, Strongest of the Litter (chapbook), Rebel, Bungalow 89, Moving Pictures/Moving Sculptures: The Films of James Franco, and Hollywood Dreaming: Stories, Pictures, and Poems.
Originally an English major at Harvard, Damon left literature to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. However, he took something with him...something that would lead to his acting success: the beginning of the screenplay he had written for his playwriting class. It was forty pages and uncompleted. In an interview he gave bostonmagazine.com, he had told his professor Anthony Kubiak, "Look, I might have failed your class, but it is the first act of something longer."
Simultaneously, Damon was still friends with his childhood friend Ben Affleck who lived in Los Angeles. Damon moved out and into Affleck's apartment. He asked him if he'd help him finish the script. Together, they tackled it out. As Damon says in bostonmagazine.com, "It was the first thing we woke up thinking about and the last thing we thought about before going to bed." The film was a massive success. Damon and Affleck won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. That screenplay is known as Good Will Hunting and was nominated for nine Academy Awards according to IMDb.
She may be Princess Leia to the world, but she does more than acting. According to the telegraph.co.uk, she was a best-selling novelist for her book Postcards From the Edge, all by the time she reached age 31. Simon & Schuster published the novel. When describing her writing, she told the telegraph.co.uk, "I'm a raconteur, an anecdotalist. I think I'm a wordsmith. It's more content and craft than, you know, plots. I get more lost in character."
She has written five novels, including, Postcards from the Edge, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, the introduction to Hollywood Moms, and The Best Awful There Is, and her nonfiction books include Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic.
Although his big acting break came as a guest on Saturday Night Live, according to biography.com, writing always played a role in Steve Martin's life. Prior to SNL, he was a comedy writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour where he won an Emmy in 1969. Acclaimed for his roles in Little Shop of Horrors and Father of the Bride, Martin's acting career is just as successful as his writing career. In 1977, he wrote the book Cruel Shoes, a collection of mainly comedic short stories and essays. The name is based on one of the satirical stories inside about a woman who is offered a pair of cruel and disturbing pair of shoes to try on.
From his memoir Born Standing Up to his novel The Pleasure of My Company to screenplays and plays, Martin has covered almost every branch of writing and still managed to maintain a solid, funny grip on his acting. A true storyteller, he is a Renaissance man of sorts.
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