I’m a warrior when it comes to pursuing roles.
I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it’s no problem for me to believe that I’m somebody else!
I like things that make you grit your teeth. I like tucking my chin in and sort of leading into the storm. I like that feeling. I like it a lot.
I was a savage for so many years of my life. There was some seed of determination in me that I was not conscious of. I was mostly consciously getting into trouble and drunk.
Perhaps I’m particularly serious, because I’m not unaware of the potential absurdity of what I’m doing.
I can’t honestly account for the very personal response that I have to one story and not another, a sense of an orbit, the orbit of a world that draws me as my own life recedes.
I have a strange relationship with time. I’m not aware of it passing.
A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character.
At some point in your life, if you’re lucky, you get to design the way in which things evolve.
I see a lot of movies. I love films as a spectator, and that’s never obscured by the part of me that does the work myself. I just love going to the movies.
I’m very often still very much alive for that other being and that other world long after the film is finished.
For as long as I can remember, the thing that gave me a sense of wonderment and renewal… has always been the work of other actors.
We all live under some repression; we have to, it’s part of the deal.
I’m not really a storyteller myself – I tend to get all tangled up when I try and tell stories.
I live in a landscape, which every single day of my life is enriching.
My main memories of my father are of his illness.
Germans don’t speak in a German accent, they just speak German.
I didn’t like the idea of being foolish, but I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.
At a certain age it just became apparent to me that this was probably the work that I would have to do.
I hate wasting people’s time.
I hate the domestic life.
I love to sit and watch people. I love to sit and listen to people.
I’d always felt very strongly in the power of vocation.
Being at the centre of a film is a burden one takes on with innocence the first time. Thereafter, you take it on with trepidation
The whole thing of weight, I guess it’s because there is a wider fascination we all have with weight.
I’m woefully one-track-minded.
There must’ve been some part of me that wanted to make my mark. But there was never a defining moment.
There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation, a very demanding piece of work, and knowing that you’re not a true ally to the person who’s in charge of all that.
My preference is that, that day when someone sticks a tripod in front of you with a camera on the top, it is not day one.
I’ve got a serious-looking head.
Making a film, setting it up and getting it cast and getting it together, is not an easy thing.
You can never fully put your finger on the reason why you’re suddenly, inexplicably compelled to explore one life as opposed to another.
Actors should never give interviews.
Many years ago, I really didn’t know where the next work was coming from.
My curiosity sustains me for the period of the shoot.
When I’ve gone back to work, it’s always with that sense of inevitability. That may be a complete delusion, but it’s the one that I need to get out of bed and go about my business. That sense that I can’t avoid this thing. I better just get on with it.
If people take an interest in you and they think there’s half a chance, they might hang on. It’s dreadful.
The last time I was on a small set would’ve been probably My Left Foot.
I would wish for any one of my colleagues to have the experience of working with Martin Scorsese once in their lifetime.
I think some actors thrive on working at a much greater pace than I do.
I think I have a strange relationship with time. I’m not really aware of that time passing. I don’t feel that I’m wasteful with time. But I’m not aware of it passing.
I suppose the place where I live is fairly remote, it would seem remote to some people.
I made the film in spite of Harvey, not because of Harvey.
I find it easier to work when it’s quiet.
I don’t know what impression you might have of the way I live. I live in a quiet place. I do not live as a hermit, though other people would prefer it if I did.
I feel less often compelled to do the work than I was in the past.
How people are around a director, it really does affect everything, every detail of the life of the movie.
Everybody has to know for themselves what they’re capable of.
Where I come from, it was a heresy to say you wanted to be in movies, leave alone American movies.
One of the great privileges of having grown up in a middle-class literary English household, but having gone to school in the front lines in Southeast London, was that I became half-street-urchin and half-good-boy at home. I knew that dichotomy was possible.
As a member of the audience I don’t like it that I can’t see what’s going on in the eyes and in the face and in the most subtle responses of a performer when I’m more than a few rows back. I find it very frustrating
England is obsessed with where you came from, and they are determined to keep you in that place, be it in a drawing room or in the gutter.
I have always been intrigued by these lives I have never experienced
I avoid talking about the way I work. But in avoiding it I seem only to have encouraged people to focus their fantasies about me in an ever more fantastical way
Well, we all have murderous thoughts throughout the day, if not the week.
Quite honestly, if I were doing work related to a living being or historical being where there was visual or audio recordings available, I would find that extremely difficult because I don’t know how you would avoid the process of mimicry. And mimicry, to me at any rate, is a very dull prospect.
I’ve been very lucky.
I just knew at an early time in my life how important privacy was.
In all fields of creativity you see the result of work that has become habit. Where the creative impulse has become flaccid or has died out altogether, and yet because it is our work and our life we continue to do it.
God knows, I haven’t always been successful.
It didn’t occur to me that it was possible to breathe life into Abraham Lincoln.
I became conflicted in my late teens.
For about a year, I just didn’t know what to do. I did laboring jobs, working in the docks, construction sites.