Time Out New York Interview with Adam Rapp and Billy Crudup

Fiction students are told to write what they know, but the savvy writer does at least two extra things: mix torn-from-real-life events with haunting, unsettling images and then cast a movie star (say…Billy Crudup?) as himself. In The Metal Children, opening this week at the Vineyard Theatre, prolific writer-director Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter, Kindness) lavishly embroiders one of his own experiences, an honest-to-God battle with old-fashioned censorship. And Tony Award winner Crudup plays the author’s alter ego, Tobin, who struggles with depression (as Rapp once did) while confronting those who want to strip his books from Middle American shelves.

Crudup was drawn to the self-destructive, often frustrating Tobin’s complexity. “Whenever I’m confused by someone—literally staring at the ceiling trying to work out his motivations,” he notes, “that’s when they’ve got me.” And Rapp wanted Crudup for obvious reasons. He says that when the actor’s name showed up on a list, “I pounced. He’s exactingly handsome—he looks like a leading man. His soul, though, is a mess”…

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