Is Nick Cave the Best Multi-Threat Artist Alive Today?

07/29/2010 11:39 AM |

Nick Cave

I’ve always known Nick Cave was a bit of a dabbler, writing novels and screenplays and suchlike, but I was a bit surprised to read this morning that our dear tenebrous Aussie has been pegged to write the next feature in the Crow “franchise” (less because Cave’s dark sensibility matches the material than because The Crow is considered “a franchise”).

I also read that Cave was named one of Variety‘s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” in 2006, which I suppose is impressive, and got me thinking about other multiple-threat artists, most of whom are just plain crappy (think “Ethan Hawke, novelist” and go from there). The list includes, but is not limited to:

—Lee Ranaldo, rock/art
—Dennis Hopper, acting/directing and photography/painting
—Common, DMX, Ludacris, hip-hop/acting
—Daniel Johnston, music/drawing
—Ryan Adams, music/painting
—Steve Earle, music/fiction
—Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, Marguerite Duras, writing/filmmaking
—James Franco, being handsome/short fiction
—Leonard Nimoy, acting/photography
—Ronnie Wood, guitar/painting

We could probably spend a lot of time coming up with names, but looking at the aforementioned list I must say Cave comes out on top in terms of bona fide success in both of his disciplines (of particular note is the degree to which Cave actually downplays his forays into writing). I really, really liked his last novel, The Death of Bunny Munro (which he’s apparently developing for a movie with Ray Winstone), and damn if I didn’t enjoy that Aussie western he wrote (and soundtracked), The Proposition.

So, basically, the point of this post is that Nick Cave is really talented, and if you can come up with a better multi-talent artistic threat, I will eat my lunch blindfolded.

4 Comment

  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Artist, designer, inventor, code-writer.

  • If the artist must be living, how about Francis Ford Coppola: Filmmaker and vintner ( (Culinary arts count, right?)

  • Sarah Lipstate – musician(Noveller) / experimental film maker / graphic designer (check out her “I Killded It” design) / short story writer: whatever she does she blows my mind.

  • More dead Italians:

    Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-75): novelist, poet, critic, filmmaker, political activist (in ways that actually meant something) and, not least, martyr (in so far as he was probably murdered for his political activism).

    Dino Buzzati (1906-72): journalist, novelist, poet, playwright and painter who also wrote and illustrated a book for children, La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia, as well as a graphic novel, Poema a fumetti (1969), a somewhat softly pornographic reenvisioning of the Orpheus myth. He also wrote opera libretti and climbed mountains.

    One could go on. One will shut up instead.