'Avenger's' Samuel L. Jackson, Anne Hathaway Reveal Acting Inspiration

New book "Art & Soul" -- in stores Oct. 26, with a portion of proceeds going to The Creative Coalition -- also features "New Girl's" Zooey Deschanel and "The X Factor's" Paula Abdul.

The Avengers star Samuel L. Jackson and The Dark Knight Rises' Anne Hathaway are among 123 actors, producers, directors, dancers and singers who sat for portraits and wrote about what the arts mean to them for a new book, Art & Soul.

"An act of creation is an act of hope. Art gave me my heart," writes Hathaway (the notes are printed in the stars' own handwriting; all entries include signatures, many have doodles) before signing her name with a giant swoop. Jackson writes, "Art is the master, I am its slave!"

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"Dance class was my favorite subject. And they never made me climb a rope!" jokes actress-writer Nia Vardalos, who signs off "in theater nerd solidarity."

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Alyssa Milano and Kathy Najimy write poems, New Girl star Zooey Deschanel sketches out an elaborate flow chart and Alfre Woodard writes about how art affected her childhood in a page-long essay.  Also featured: Kerry Washington, Patricia Arquette, The X Factor's Paula Abdul, Kelsey Grammer, Modern Family's Ty Burrell and director Joel Schumacher.

The coffee-table sized book, published by Hearst Communications in association with Sony Electronics, hits stores on Oct. 26 and costs $40.

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A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Creative Coalition, the nonprofit advocacy group of the arts and entertainment communities.

It was edited by Robin Bronk, the CEO of the Creative Coalition and also the producer of Poliwood, which aired on Showtime and was helmed by Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson. The photos were snapped by Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Smith.

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"When I began this book, I asked participants to pinpoint a moment in time that changed their lives. While everyone head his or her own individual and meaningful anecdote, the common thread woven throughout everyone's story was that someone or something fostered the artistic sensibility in each of them," Bronk tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Adds Private Practice's Tim Daly, the president of the Creative Coalition: "Art & Soul couples unique portraits of today's most recognizable faces with their poignant narratives. These stories are illustrative of the unique power of the arts to feed the soul."

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