Boston-area arts letters

Anna Kooris

Leave the writing to writers

Matthew Gilbert left something very important out of his piece about actors-turned-writers, including B.J. Novak, James Franco (at right), and Molly Ringwald (“Playing a different part,” g, Jan. 31).

Writing fiction can be a wonderful experience, and of course lots of people would like to spend their days doing it. But some of us have spent our whole lives developing our talent and our craft. The publishing business generally is in a terrible state these days. It’s extremely difficult to get into print and to make a living as a writer.

When a celebrity — actor, media personality, sports star, former governor of Massachusetts — trades on her fame to get a novel published, she is making it that much harder for the rest of us, more so as she is likely getting an enormous advance and is guaranteed a big share of publicity and given priority among reviewers. A person who already has fame, fortune, and a great career that most people would envy ought to think twice before horning in on territory already being worked hard by folks who have been at it for years and are just getting by.


What would it mean to aspiring young actors if a bunch of famous non-actors invaded the theater and television and took a lot of the prominent roles not already going to established big names? It would be pretty rough on them, wouldn’t it?

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Hoffman had ‘it’

I think Ty Burr has said something important here: Philip Seymour Hoffman was able to get under our skin and into our lives in a way that “bigger” stars couldn’t (“Lamented last curtain for Philip Seymour Hoffman, A1, Feb. 3). I did feel like I knew the guy — kind of a movie-star-down-the-street kind of thing.


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“Boogie Nights” hooked me on Philip Seymour Hoffman. He did so much with that part. I remember thinking even then, “This guy has it.” He brought so much to each of his performances. Such a loss to his profession and to all of us.



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Seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman on a movie’s billing was for me a strong cue that the movie was probably one worth watching. The list of actors and actresses that you can say that about is quite short. Rest in peace, Philip.


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Addiction is not an appetite, it’s a disease — a terrible, painful disease, often with a genetic component, that characterizes our culture and society. You may not approve of the way Mr. Hoffman died, but his long and, for many years, successful struggle with his demons is noble.


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Good move after all


I avidly read Matthew Gilbert’s TV reviews/blog for the years he held that post at the Globe. I wailed a little when his assignment was changed, but he continues to impress me as a man who is more than the sum of his parts. His recent articles connecting what appears to be a sound knowledge of literature with the more popular media-driven venues have really impressed me and added to my enjoyment of the g section.



The people’s choice

If crowdsourcing continues, should we look forward to a Museum of Fine Arts exhibit on doe-eyed children and sad-faced clown paintings (“MFA set to open its first crowdsourced exhibit,” SundayArts, Feb. 2)? Please leave curating to experts.


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