Jim Beaver talks about his life as an actor, writer and ‘Verdigris’

Jim Beaver (Supernatural’s Bobby Singer) is not only a beloved actor but he is also an author, screenwriter, and playwright.  His latest project is for his play Verdigris.

Verdigris was first staged as a workshop production by Theatre West in April, 1985, with a limited run of nine performances, produced by Mary Lou Belli, directed by Mark Travis, with Anne Haney playing Margaret. Though minimally publicized, the play gathered considerable attention and acclaim, winning five Los Angeles Dramalogue Critics Awards(including the Playwriting Award) and a Los Angeles Weekly Award. The play was subsequently chosen by the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for its New American Play workshop, and was performed there July 21, 1985, with Maureen Stapleton in the leading role.”

Jim has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund production for his play.  There are some great rewards including autographed photos, skype chats and tickets to the play!  For more information and to learn how you can donate go to http://www.VerdigrisThePlay.com /.

We were given the chance to ask Jim some questions about Verdigris and his career.



WinchesterBros:  What was your inspiration for the protagonist and story in Verdigris? Based on a real person?

Jim Beaver:  Verdigris is suggested by real-life events, and even as I was experiencing those events in real life, I knew I would someday write about them.  The protagonist, Margaret, was suggested by a real person, a paraplegic woman I worked for briefly in college.  Despite her physical limitations, which were almost total, she controlled everything and everyone around her, and did so with an acid wit.  The other people who worked with me in her house were wildly colorful, as well, and the situation of the play was pretty much handed to me on a silver platter.  Of course, I still had to come up with a fictional plot in which to engage these characters, but with these characters, that came relatively easily.  The real-life people were in many ways quite different from the stage versions, and the things the plot has them saying and doing are strictly from my imagination, but I hope audiences take away some human truths from the story, as well as a lot of laughs.


WB:  Have you considered writing a play based on your book, ‘Life’s That Way?’

JB:  It never occurred to me to turn Life’s That Way into a play.  There was considerable talk at the time of its publication about turning it into a film, but it’s such an internal journey that I have a hard time imagining how it would be dramatized.  But I’ve said that before about works that turned out to make great plays and movies, so obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about!


WB:  You have written plays, books, and television episodes.  What is your favorite form  of writing?

JB:  It’s hard to say what my favorite form of writing is.  They’re all fairly difficult for me.  Plays I enjoy because there’s a much better chance of seeing them produced than the other forms, and when I’m writing characters, I like the freedom to have them talk a lot that the stage welcomes.  In TV, there’s always the necessity of saying things in the fewest syllables possible because of running-time concerns.  As to books, I very much enjoy the work I do in film history, and I don’t find that writing nearly as hard as creating stuff out of thin air.  Of course, my best known book is an anomaly. Life’s That Way sort of poured out of me, long before I envisioned it as a book.  It would take special (and probably terrible) circumstances for me to write another book like that.  As to the form of writing, I guess I enjoy and hate them all equally.  I don’t care much for writing, but I love having written!


WB:  If you could only write OR act, not both, which would you choose and why?

JB:  I was, am, and always will be an actor, before anything else, career-wise.  I prefer it to any other possible occupation.  It fulfills me, thrills me, moves me, and it’s so much fun I can’t put it into words.  As I said, I love having written, but it’s terribly hard for me, much closer to intensive labor than acting is.  I work very hard as an actor, but it rarely feels like work.  I work very hard as a writer, and it always feels like work.


WB:  Why Kickstarter to fund your play? What motivated you to try that kind of fundraising route?

JB:  We came to the idea of producing Verdigris just as crowdfunding was taking the world somewhat by storm, and suddenly the idea of doing something meaningful that wasn’t likely to turn a profit or attract traditional investors became a possibility.  Kickstarter and similar methods allow the many to do much with comparatively little.   Traditional theatrical fundraising involves trying to hook investors for several thousand dollars each, and with the economy and charitable giving drastically down in recent years, those investors have been much harder to land.  But with Kickstarter, a few thousand people giving one or five or ten dollars can achieve what used to take a corporate donation or a very rich uncle.  Also, this method allows everyone to feel like they’re part of the project in some way, to get a little reward of thanks, and to journey along with us.  Everyone likes a race to the finish line, and if you’ve put a little wager on the success of the endeavor, I think it makes you feel much more engaged and intrigued by how it will turn out.


WB:   What can we, your fans, do to help make sure Verdigris meets it goal?

JB:  So many fans have already done so much to help Verdigris meet its Kickstarter goal, but there’s a long way to go yet.  Two things:  pitch a buck or two or ten or more into the campaign, or pitch a buck or two or ten or more again, and spread the word!  The more shares the campaign gets, the better its chance of success.  Remind people that there is a wide range of contribution categories, from a single dollar to thousands, and every bit helps.  And let people know that they can change or upgrade their rewards by adding a bit more.  Mainly, though, I hope all of you fans also spread the word about how grateful I am for this help in making one of my greatest dreams come true.  I am touched beyond measure at your support.