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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quotes: Actors on acting...

"No body 'becomes' a character. You can't act unless you are what you are, and you are who you are."

Marlon Brando

“To be an actor is to play any part, large or small, that truly believes he has something to say.”

                                Montgomery Clift

“Investigate.”        Paul Newman

“Being an actor takes time. I had been in movies, I’d played leads in movies, and I was still down at unemployment, waiting in line for my check. It wasn’t until Godfather 2 that I could make a living acting.”  

                                        Robert DeNiro

“What does the camera capture when it looks at me? I’ll leave that for others to assess. But staring back at the lens from within myself, I feel so much of what I’ve otherwise kept hidden and filtered. The things I don’t like about myself, the things I do like about myself, the things I’m not but I’d like to be, the things I am but don’t want others to know about—they’re all there, percolating inside.  Courage and cowardice, strength and weakness, fear and joy, love and hate—that’s what makes up the actor, So that’s available to the camera.”

                                  Sidney Poitier

“It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.”

                                        Robert DeNiro

“One of the reasons people sell out so quickly is because even the talented think they’re frauds. It’s a culture that doesn’t encourage people to believe in the work they do. You’re told to second guess yourself all the time. That’s where I think a little hostility and arrogance can save you.”

                                        Sean Penn

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on the shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”

                                        Alan Alda

“Listening is everything. Listening is the whole deal, that’s what I think. And I mean that in terms of before you work, after you work, in between work with your friends, your mother. It’s everything. And it’s where you learn everything.”

                                        Meryl Streep

“My work is my social life. Being with other actors is my idea of fun. Acting has always been my sandbox and it’s where I’m happiest.”

                                        Christopher Walken

“I was doing a scene in class and Peggy Feury stopped the scene. I started telling her I was having a problem, she said, “No! You’re problem is not your problem. HIS (your character’s) problem is your problem!”

                                        Sean Penn

“In the second act, I entered, suffering from a whopper hangover. Harold Clurman (dir.) told me, “You have the biggest hangover in the world.”  Of course, he was talking to a guy who doesn’t drink.  I racked my brain for something to use and finally decided to make it visual for myself. When I started to analyze a hangover, the main thing I could grab onto was the fear of movement. I thought, “I don’t want to move any part of my body, no matter how tiny.”  When I came out, I moved as little as possible. I visualized a basket on top of my head containing two dozen eggs. I crossed to the table, sat down, and delivered my line: “Coffee. Black…very black.”

                                        Karl Malden

“I think it’s better for people to pursue their objectives now…”

                                        John Malkovich in rehearsal

“People say I make strange choices, but they’re not strange for me. I’m fascinated by human behavior, by what’s underneath the surface, by the worlds inside people.”

                                        Johnny Depp

“But the ultimate execution of it is almost ninety-five percent will. All the work before that is you laying the groundwork, asking the questions, understanding what you need to do, understanding what you need to look at, finding the logic to whatever needs to happen, all the character work, all the emotional through line. Once you get there, it’s will. “

                                        Philip Seymour Hoffman

“When you play a role, you don’t see yourself doing it at first, but then you get things from yourself that you ordinarily wouldn’t get.”

                                        Robert DeNiro

"People have an idea of me which is not the reality. On set I’m an actor like every other actor. Most times, for every part I play, I can think of other actors who would be better. I worry from the moment I take a job. I worry about how I'm going to do it, if I can do it. I try to work out what I have to do on set and how I do that.

"I get extremely anxious. I panic. I can't get it. It happens every time, and I get myself into this state, and then I walk on set and the director says, 'Roll', and all of a sudden all of it disappears and it's all happening, and I relax and I'm doing what I do and I'm not even thinking about it. And I relax up until the moment they yell 'Cut'."

Jack Nicholson

"If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."

Tom Hanks

‘I think there’s a myth that Actors are all extroverts and I don’t think that that’s true, I think that’s there’s something that happens in that five seconds before you walk on stage, I don’t know what it is, where you enter a different zone and that zone doesn’t always translate into everyday life’

~Cate Blanchett

"One of the reasons people sell out so quickly is because even the talented think they're frauds. It's a culture that doesn't encourage people to believe in the work they do. You're told to second guess yourself all the time...

That's where I think a little hostility and arrogance can save you."

Sean Penn

"Listening is everything. Listening is the whole deal. That's what I think."

Meryl Streep

"Being with other actors is my idea of fun.
Acting has always been my sandbox and it's where I'm happiest."

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world..."

Albert Einstein


"How you experience the world is who you are."
Wynton Marsalis

"Where you find great training has to do with your connection with a teacher. But what is imperative is that you train. Studying not only improves your craft, but also teaches you pride and respect for the work. It helps you see your place in a long, beautiful line of people who have followed this profession before you."

                                               Tim Guinee, Actor--the Good Wife

"Where you find challenge is where you approach development."
Harold Clurman

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on the shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”

                                        Alan Alda

"I think dancing is a primal urge coming to life at the first moment we need to express joy."
           James Cagney

"The hardest thing for an actor is to tell the truth, to simply tell the truth. And, of course, truth is relatable only to one's experience. But if you can take what's happening in the play and equate it with your own life, to speak it in the way you understand it in your soul and not try to figure out what anyone else thinks about it, that's it. Because one's vision of something is different from anyone else's in the world and the trick is to find it yourself."

Christopher Walken 

On the initial driving force that took him into acting:

"I didn't think I was particularly good at it, but I wanted to be, I had a strong WILL to be good at it. And it was my need to know,  my need to draw my pictures on the cave walls about what my fears were, what my needs were. Somewhere in there. I was in a cave and I needed to draw some pictures on the wall about what my journey was, and that drive, that need, led me to acting. I wasn't good at it, but I had a deep, intense desire to be good at it, and all my failings didn't stop me. I had that will to learn that kept me going through all my effort, through all of my struggle."

harvey keitel 

 “The very first time I saw myself on-screen, I almost died."

Annabella Sciorra

 "I remember the first time I saw myself on screen, in Heat and Dust, I just hated everything I was doing, I just hated myself,' Scacchi says, putting her hands to her neck in a strangling gesture. 'I kept sneaking out at the Baftas to dry-retch in the loo. And when the lights came up I ran out, down the stairs and on to Piccadilly and hid in a doorway gasping. But, over the years, seeing the rushes on screen, I started to swallow that… allergy to myself.'"

Greta Scacchi

“When I saw myself on screen for the first time, I was horrified. I had a bad wig and they took the words from a scene I shot with Jane and put them in my mouth in a different scene. I thought, I’ve made a terrible mistake, no more movies. I hate this business”.

Meryl Streep


There is a certain combination of anarchy and discipline in the way I work.

It`s true: I spent lunchtime in a grave during the filming of Bloody Mama. When you`re younger, you feel that`s what you need to do to help you stay in character. When you get older, you become more confident and less intense about it -- and you can achieve the same effect. You might even be able to achieve more if you take your mind off it, because you`re relaxed. That`s the key to it all. When you`re relaxed and confident, you get good stuff.

Don`t talk it away, do it!

Movies are hard work. The public doesn`t see that. The critics don`t see it. But they`re a lot of work. A lot of work. When I`m directing a great dramatic scene, part of me is saying, `Thank God I don`t have to do that.` Because I know how fucking hard it is to act. It`s the middle of the night. It`s freezing. You gotta do this scene. You gotta get it up to get to that point. And yet, as a director, you`ve got to get the actors to that point. It`s hard either way.

The characters that I play are real. They are real so they have as much right to be portrayed as any other characters.


“We start to realize that there are anodynes in life that help us through the day. I don't care if it's a walk in the park, a look out the window, a good bubble bath - whatever. Even a meal you like, or a friend you want to call. That helps us solve all this stuff in our head.”

I`m constantly striving to break through to something new. You try to maintain a neutral approach to your work, and not be too hard on yourself

The challenge? It`s always a challenge of a sort. It`s a challenge to get up and go and leave your family and go out there in all different parts of the world and do a picture and try to make it come alive . . . You`re still challenged for that. I mean, it`s the same story. It`s just not changed. It seems to be the same thing it always was. It`s this effort. If you get excited about a thing then things are generally a little easier. If you get enthusiastic and you want to do something and you feel you are into something then things start to come. But usually to find the enthusiasm and the appetite, that`s the challenge.

I think you start to prepare the minute you read something.

My favorite thing to do is not act - it's that simple.

There is no re-inventing the wheel.

What happens is things come to you - director, script - and if you respond to it, it's because it's tapping into some part of what's inside you, and different roles tap into different parts.

The minute that you're not learning I believe you're dead. Jack Nicholson

At the end, the realization is that she had to get to a place in her life where she could drop her guard and make peace with the fact that whether she had a small amount of time, that she had to kind of live it completely through, instead of living by the rules. Charlize Theron

I played Othello, but I didn't sit around thinking how Laurence Olivier did it when he played it. That wouldn't do me any good. Denzel Washington

I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. Denzel Washington

If I am a cup maker, I'm interested in making the best cup I possibly can. My effort goes into that cup, not what people think about it. Denzel Washington

The time to worrying about flying is when you're on the ground. When you're up in the air, it's too late. No point in worrying about it then. Denzel Washington

I can't just say the words. I love each person I play; I have to be that person. I have to do him true. Richard Pryor

I know that if I wasn't scared, something's wrong, because the thrill is what's scary. Richard Pryor

Actors are responsible to the people we play. Philip Seymour Hoffman

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