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Craig Sheffer Finds Solace in Maclean's Writings--and His Own

October 17, 1992|SUSAN KING

"I have got so many things to write about, I don't know where to start," confesses Craig Sheffer. The 32-year-old stars as the late writer Norman Maclean in Robert Redford's new film, "A River Runs Through It." The film is based on Maclean's acclaimed memoir of growing up in Montana and how fly-fishing played an important part in his family's life.

"It is really amazing I got this job," he says. "The thing that amazes me is that I didn't even tell (Redford) I was a writer until he hired me."

Sheffer, a native of York, Pa., has spent the past two years writing a book of poetry he hopes to get published and is half-way through a novel.

The actor didn't have any interest in literature until seven years ago when a "rather insane person" introduced him to the poetry of Sylvia Plath. "I was going through my dark period and I really connected to what (Plath) was feeling," says Sheffer, who appeared in "Some Kind of Wonderful" and "That Was Then, This Is Now."

"I was mostly an athlete when I was young, so I really wasn't academic," he explains. "But when I was 25, (writing) started happening and I couldn't stop myself. I may have read 10 books before (then). I just didn't have any interest in learning and reading and suddenly, that is all I wanted to do."

His big fantasy is to return to college and take literature courses. "But it may just be a fantasy," he says. "I like interpreting my own stuff and I don't know (if it would work) in a structured academic setting. I may do it. Who knows? I could talk about poetry and philosophy all night, and there are not a lot of people who really dig that."

Sheffer says he felt a real kinship with Norman Maclean, as well as with Paul (Brad Pitt), who was Maclean's younger, reckless brother. "I am a cross between Norman and Paul," he says. "My early life has been Paul and recently, I am becoming more like Norman.".

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