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
Matthew McConaughey Reveals How He Came Up With His Catchphrase, ‘Alright, alright, alright!’
"My character, David Wooderson, he has three lines in the entire film. Alright, but one of those lines is what I like to call a launch pad line." - Matthew McConaughey
Jennifer Jason Leigh on ‘The Hateful Eight’, Quentin Tarantino and Playing People in “Extreme Circumstances”
Jennifer Jason Leigh: "I think that's an incredible thing that we can do as actors—to feel empathy toward someone that you may otherwise detest, you know?”
Ian McKellen on Working with Child Actors and How He Transitioned from a Stage Actor to a Screen Actor
"And I think when I decided to become professional, my only aim, really, was to get better as an actor." - Ian McKellen
New ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ Star Tyler Lea on Taking Over from a Tony Award Winner
"I haven't done a whole lot. This is my first huge thing. This is my first bite. I was waiting it out and then I caught a really, really big fish." - Tyler Lea
Master of None’s Noël Wells Talks Positive Attitudes and Having Nothing To Lose
Noel Wells starring role alongside Aziz Ansari in his Netflix series, Master of None, has audiences in stitches
// BLOCK AD BLOCK SNIPPET Place this code snippet near the footer of your page before the close of the /body tag