Well, I don’t play heroes obviously. I never played the guy who gets the girl. It might be interesting to do a part where I was a father in a functional family.
I play a lot of those parts, and it’s a chicken-and-egg thing. I don’t know whether you get scary because you play those parts or did you get those parts because you were scary? But I do believe that there’s a very close connection to what’s scary and what’s funny. So I think if you have the ability to do one, you might have the ability to do the other.
I’m not a big fan of other people’s punctuation. When I read a script I’ve got a sort of automatic eraser. I don’t see punctuation or capitals or instructions. I want to decide when the sentence is over. Who’s to say when a sentence ends and the other one begins? Sometimes it begins in the middle of the next sentence.
I’m a better actor now than I ever was, I wish I could have hurried that up, but there’s no way. Anyway, I always wanted to be around for a long time. Like a European actor, I hope I live a long time and that I’m acting until I finish.
I won’t retire. When you’re an actor, you’re forced to retire every few months. John Gielgud was 96 when he died, and he was working. It’s good to work, whatever it is that keeps you interested. I would like to do that, I would like to keep going. I don’t have kids, and I don’t have hobbies. I don’t particularly like to travel. If you’re an actor, you have to travel anyway.
It’s a natural aspect of the marketplace. It’s always been that way in storytelling. The guy who was good at playing the lover plays the lover, the funny guy gets the comic role. Movies are so expensive, when they put them together they want to have a couple of solid blocks in what they’re building. I accept that. In theater, though, I tend to look for other things, I think I tend to be best in comedy.
I have the easiest job in Hollywood, because I get paid to be me. What’s the role? A milkman? ‘Hey, I’m a milkman. Here’s your milk.’ ‘Cut. Print.’
It takes three things to make it in this business: the tenacity of a bulldog, the hide of a rhinoceros and a good home to come home to.
Will: In Shakespeare’s time, all the female roles were played by men.
Sue: There’s no way that’s true.
Sam: ‘Greased Lightning’ is my cell phone ringtone and I’ve been knocked out by a car door before, so I was really looking forward to recreating the reality of that moment on stage.
William: Did you identify with the character you are playing?
William: Why not?
Interpreter: Because he’s playing a psychopathic flesh-eating robot.
The scenery was beautiful, but the actors got in front of it.
We’re actors! We’re the opposite of people.
When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn’t acting. It’s following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. So the director’s task is just that to direct, to point the way. Then the actor takes over. And he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role. Without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons.