Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stone Goes Short

As a culture, we are tragically entranced by celebrity. If someone does something remarkable, it might be interesting. If Paris Hilton does it, we’re rapt. Or if -- as is the case here -- Sharon Stone says she’s thinking about writing short stories, we might go all thoughtful and dissect the stated desire, comparing the yet-to-be-written stories to Stone’s entirely assessable career. At least, that’s what William Leith -- who should probably know better -- has done on The Guardian’s blog:
Sharon Stone says she’s going to write some short stories, and I can already hear the giggles and sneers. And, of course, most actors can’t write very well (except for Ethan Hawke, who’s not bad, and Richard E Grant, who's pretty good), just as most writers can't act very well. But then, most writers can’t write good short stories. When you write a short story, you are, as the literary critic Louis Menand says, performing a sort of magic trick. It’s a very special skill. And who's to say that Sharon hasn’t got it?
Later on in the piece, Leith (who writes very well, indeed) compares Stone’s breakthrough role in Basic Instinct to a short story:
A long, gradual build-up, followed by a single, defining moment about something that happens, quite literally, in a flash. A moment, what’s more, that you’ve been expecting, and also sort of dreading, after which things are never the same.
Leith’s piece is here. And here’s another good one by Leith, this time featuring John Cleese complaining about the fact that film dialogue is getting increasingly difficult to hear.


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