Film & TV, The Creative Process: Acting, Directing, Writing, Cinematography, Producers, Composers, Costume Design, Talk Art & Creativity
JIM SHEPARD - Screenwriter of The World to Come starring Casey Affleck, Vanessa Kirby, Katherine Waterston
Manage episode 377478699 series 3288438
How can literature help us extend our empathic imaginations? How can writing and reading expand our curiosity and compassion for people in situations distant from our own?
Jim Shepard is the author of seven previous novels, most recently The Book of Aron (winner of the 2016 PEN New England Award, the Sophie Brody medal for achievement in Jewish literature, the Ribalow Prize for Jewish literature, the Clark Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award) and five story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Esquire, Tin House, Granta, Zoetrope, Electric Literature, and Vice, and has often been selected for The Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife, three children, and three beagles, and he teaches film and creative writing at Williams College. His story “The World to Come” was adapted into a feature film starring Casey Affleck, Vanessa Kirby, and Katherine Waterston.
"It's a thrill to work with actors you admire. And I got to work with Casey Affleck, Vanessa Kirby, and Katherine Waterston and their wonderful actors. The whole business of film runs on compliments because then if you compliment people, you don't have to pay them. And so I got to be on the set in the Carpathians when they were filming, and I got a steady diet of, 'Oh my God, you're such a good writer. This is such a good screenplay!' And I was just basking in it. As a fiction writer, you don't get that very often. So, I was just happy to have a little narcissistic warm bath and float around in that for a while and imagine myself as Casey Affleck's favorite writer, which I think I was for 30 minutes or something like that.
Cinema is not very good at interiority. Cinema is good at behavior, at action, at allowing us to figure out through exterior signals what's going on...is very appealing to me. So as soon as you tell me that this was the biggest tsunami ever, I'm like, I want to know more about that. And that kind of childlike wonder about the visual is often what drives me to sit down and do a story in the first place. So I start with a much more visual and a much more spectacular, and I'm sure cinema drove me in that direction in the first place."