|Orson Welles as Macbeth.|
Orson Welles (1915-1985) was an American actor, producer and director, born to a pianist and an inventor.
One of the amazing things about Orson Welles as a director is that so many of his movies were commercial failures. Citizen Kane (1941), arguably his most popular film, lost RKO $150,000. That’s around US$2,200,000 adjusted for inflation.
Yet critics lavished high praise upon the director’s work. When you spend some time paying attention to films like Macbeth, Touch of Evil or The Trial, to name a few, you understand why this is so. Lighting design, photography, camera angles – he got these things, just like Kubrick did. And he was wise enough to surround himself with a brilliant crew.
Orson Welles also figures, if rather briefly, in the annals of science fiction.
- His dramatic War of the Worlds radio broadcast caused a bit of a stir, although rumors of widespread panic were mostly spun by the press over the following two days.
- He was asked to voice Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, but preferred not to.
- George Lucas intended to cast him as OMM’s voice in THX1138, but changed his mind and picked James Wheaton for the role.
Welles once told Peter Bogdanovitch he was so good at fortune-telling that he scared himself. After a short stint as a fraudster, his morals kicked in. Orson himself tells the tale right here.
So, what can Orson Welles teach you about writing a novel, a piece of flash fiction, or a stage play?