“He makes bold decisions and isn’t afraid of extremes.”
Tim Robbins of Jeremy Piven
Sitting in a cozy café having a snack, a magazine cover of actor Jeremy Piven caught my eye. The magazine? Cigar Aficionado of all things. I couldn’t help but pick it up, because I absolutely loved Jeremy’s portrayal of Harry Selfridge, the upstart entrepreneur who
created the London emporium Selfridge’s, in a popular PBS series. Turns out there was a lengthy and fascinating interview inside by Contributing Editor Marshall Fine. Jeremy’s insights on acting seemed so relevant to writing that I’m sharing some of them here:
“I just love what I do and all I do is work. All I care about is being happy and present.
“Part of being an actor and being able to do what I love is about staying in a childlike state. Actors operate in a state of play and that keeps them young.
“You never know what will get noticed, so you can’t tie yourself to results. Do everything you can. Expect nothing — and receive everything.
“That’s hard for people to hear, when they see someone blowing up overnight because of a YouTube video. It’s a cliché, but we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. Technically, you could say on paper I was a late bloomer to success. But that was probably the best thing for me. I have no idea if I’d have been able to handle success when I was
younger. As it was, I was 40 movies into my career before it happened.
“Now, it’s not the fault of a younger generation if they want everything tomorrow.
What I tell them, though, is take any job you can get, log the hours, be around people
who inspire you and embrace the grind. To be honest? It was that much sweeter, when you had to grind it out.
“People can make you believe that so many things are impossible. I have sometimes allowed myself to be swayed by giving weight to other people’s opinions. I remember writing this script, which was something that was very close to me. I showed it to someone I knew, who said, ‘I don’t know if there’s a market for this.’ And I put so much weight in
that opinion that I never did anything with the script.
“But I love to tell people now, ‘Don’t let that happen to you.’ This country is filled with success stories of people who didn’t let opinions sway them. It’s rare that people will track you down and shower you with opportunities and gifts. You have to make your own way. If you work hard your whole life, you will be given your shot — but will you be ready?”
“Do Something Impossible” — that’s a slogan on a hat Jeremy wears. Great advice, as we all write on.