Sam Shepard on Why He Prefers Writing Plays: “You can travel farther in language than you can in any film”

Sam-ShepardYou really won’t see Sam Shepard in a blockbuster movie (okay, he was in Stealth, but that’s about it), so seeing Shepard’s name in the credits of a film is probably a good indication that the movie is at least well-written.  That’s because Shepard has always been as much of a writer as an actor and finds himself drawn to quality scripts. In a conversation with The Guardian, he talks about how he values the strength of a film script and why he primarily writes for theater these days.

Shepard admits that he chooses his roles based on how a character is written.  He explains, “I think it’s based on the character. So many contemporary scripts are written by committee and they’re pretty obviously written by committee. Within the first three to five pages, you can tell how many writers were on this sucker. If there’s one writer, it’s very distinct and usually they have a hold of something. The people I enjoy working with now are what they used to call ‘auteurs': people who write their own material, then shoot it, and they’re very rare. I mean, there’s a handful of them.”

While Shepard has only written two films in the past twenty years (Silent Tongue and Don’t Come Knocking), he has written more than a half dozen plays during that same period. He admits he is more comfortable with the immediacy and unlimited options presented by actors on a stage.  He says, “It’s all handmade, theatre – we’re not so dependent on technological stuff. That’s what I love about it. On stage, you’re not limited at all because you’re free in language: language is the source of the imagination. You can travel farther in language than you can in any film.”

Sam Shepard is in the upcoming film, Out of the Furnace, also starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]
Watch: Daniel Radcliffe on the Differences Between American and British Theater Audiences
Though moviegoers can see Daniel Radcliffe in the fantasy film Horns, which opens today, Broadway fans will have to wait a bit longer. Radcliffe is an unapologetic fan of Broadway — he has starred in Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Cripple of Inishmaan — but he hasn’t yet made […]
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]