Films and the actors who bring the characters to life on screen enrich our lives. But some actors, through the work they do outside the film sets, truly change people’s lives. Many actors and actresses have lent their name to one type of humanitarian work or another, and often support a charitable cause close to them, to the point where cynics wonder if they are truly looking out for humanity or mainly looking for publicity. But the two actors I am talking about today leave no doubt in my mind that they are truly set out to pay it forward, each of them having immersed in an issue they believe in.
In 1999, Viggo Mortensen started his own independent publishing house, Perceval Press – named after one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table – which publishes photography, painting and other arts-related books and CDs. The press, which runs small prints (all the books are published somewhere near Madrid, a city where Mortensen has been living for years), the books being available primarily online, is aiming to cast light on work that might not otherwise be published and present artists’ work, including the actor’s own, in a way that is tailored to the expectations and the vision of the author. Let’s put it this way: it publishes indie books for the sheer love of it. And if this is not work done solely out of passion, then I don’t know what is.
The just keep livin foundation, started by Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, in 2008, is committed to the health and well-being of youth in the American communities, by providing teenagers with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. In other words, they provide students with the greatest needs (from public schools serving low-income districts) a safe place to come to after school where they can engage in different activities, exercise and learn about the body and mind connection, how to eat right and cook healthy. These are teenagers who would normally go home after school, where they would be unsupervised, ending up in front of the tv or of the computer, or out in the streets with high juvenile crime. There are only three words I can say to Camila and Matthew’s mission: Alright! Alright! Alright!
photos: 1-Marc Hom for Esquire / 2-just keep livin Foundation (Getty Images)