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January 09, 2004 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-09

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At The Movies


Shira, also an actress, directs plays for
the Piven Theatre Workshop, which
still trains both children and adults.
Not surprisingly, theater remains
Piven's first love. "Doing a play, you're
working and living with these people
every day, it's a communal atmos-
phere. You get to really workshop and
explore," he says.
"I'm so spoiled. I've been incredibly
lucky to work in film and TV, but none
of the roles has been as intricate as some
of the stage roles, where I've gotten to
really stretch myself," he adds, mention-
ing the title role in the German
Expressionist play Methuselam as an
example: "I played a 900-year-old man
in fat pads from head to toe, whiteface
and a cane."
Analyzing his career thus far, he
admits "I'm somewhat of a survivor —
50 movies into it and still lucky to
work, and feeling like I haven't even
made my move yet," Piven notes.
"It's interesting: You never know what
it is that's going to bring people's atten-
tion," says the actor, who formed New
Crime Productions — responsible for
such flicks as Grosse Pointe Blank and
with pal John Cusack,
with whom he's appeared in many
One of his upcoming projects just
might be the draw.
He's shot a pilot for an HBO series
called The Entourage, from executive
producer Mark Wahlberg, about an
actor and the people who surround
him. Piven portrays the actor's agent,
Ari Jacobs, "another Jewish character.
I'm finally getting to the Jews — it's
taken me all this time," he says.
Piven also has written a screenplay
about his late father, and hopes to direct
and star in it. "I'd play myself— or a
character based on myself had I done
things that I shouldn't do," he says,
quoting the oft-heard actors' belief that
"if you're looking for a great role, you've
got to write it for yourself."
Piven's wish list also includes "playing
some sort of a tragic hero or any kind of
a hero, characters that maybe decon-
struct, have really cool arcs. The goal is
to keep exploring stuff I haven't done,"
he says.
And for this drummer, a bio of the
Who's infamous skins-basher tops the
"My dream is to play The Keith Moon
Story," he says with a smile. "But I
gotta get someone to give me the U.S.
currency first."

Chasing Liberty, rated PG-13,
opens today in area theaters.


1/ 9



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