With last week’s news of James Franco’s forthcoming novel, Actor’s Anonymous, getting picked up by Amazon publishing, we thought we’d compile a list of some other brave actors and celebrities who also moonlight as authors.
The Hottest State, Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke has written two novels, but in keeping with the general emphasis of this site, we’ll stick to his debut. Written when he was twenty five, the short novel is about an actor in his early twenties who falls in love with a singing pre-school teacher, or pre-school teaching singer. They meet in a bar. He is handsome and full of himself. She has breasts and likes to quote Adrienne Rich. There is rain and heartbreak. Delayed sexual gratification. A trip to Paris. A breakup and smashed furniture. In the end, much like coming away from many of Mr. Hawke’s films, you might find yourself thinking, “Well, that could have been a lot worse.” And it could have been, and besides you were on an airplane, and it was that or watch the Sandra Bullock film.
Touch Me, Poems by Suzanne Somers
As we all know, the ageless and prolific Suzanne Somers has penned a variety of best-selling books: self-help, dietary, and two autobiographies. But this remarkable publishing career, now spanning more than three decades, began in 1980 with a slim collection of poems, her first book, entitled Touch Me. From “Extra Love,” a taut and sober meditative piece: “Sometimes I wonder if there’s enough love to go around / with all the pain and longing / but one thing is for sure / if anyone has any extra love / even a heartbeat / or a touch or two / I wish they wouldn’t waste it on dogs.”
Tarantula, Bob Dylan
Despite the 1960s’ abundance of groundbreaking writing, there was a tendency to confuse weird with good. In his 1966 novel, Tarantula, the visionary Bob Dylan sought to permanently divorce those two ideas from each other. He succeeded.
Junior, Macaulay Culkin
Once regarded as the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple, to this day the mere utterance of Macaulay Culkin summons that unforgettable image of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone yelping with the unfamiliar sting of aftershave. After a series of less successful films and several years of inactivity, Culkin made his foray into writing with Junior—a sort of anti-novel—formed by a collection of thoughts packaged up into an experimental and semi-autobiographical work that can be best summarized as a cathartic exploration into the difficult relationship with his father. The one saving grace with Junior may just be that Culkin sets the credibility score straight for the outset: “I am not a writer. I am a fraud, and you can quote me on that.”
Postcards From the Edge, Carrie Fisher
Published in 1987, Postcards From the Edge was the first of five novels by the actress best known for her iconic role as Princess Leia. The novel was well received and made several bestseller lists. Like most of Fisher’s books, the story draws heavily on her own experiences with addiction and mental illness, with Hollywood and the film industry providing the backdrop. Fisher is known for the canny wit and sardonic humor she applies to what is often difficult or dark material.
Born Standing Up, Steve Martin
In the 1990s, actor and comedian Steve Martin became an accomplished writer. Since then, he’s written two plays, two novellas, a novel, and a memoir, Born Standing Up, about his evolution as a comic and performer. The memoir garnered high praise from critics and fellow comedians, both. Best read with an arrow stuck through your head.
Then Again, Diane Keaton
Keaton’s recently published memoir is equal parts juicy dish-fest and hard-won insight. A must read for fans, it’s a smart, charming, compelling read—a Diane Keaton-y book, which, you know, makes sense.
Star: A Novel, Pamela Anderson
While none of us have read it, this book looks really, really good.