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" I think that to make something alive, instead of on a page, is an honorable task. And it turns me on. "
" Plays, especially great plays, yield their secrets over a long period of time. You can't read it three times and say, 'OK, I got it. I know what's happening.' "
" It took me forever, learning improvisation, because I had studied with Lee Strasberg - I dropped out of Chicago and went to his classes in New York for a couple of years, once or twice a week. What I didn't realize was I was learning directing because he wasn't all that good about acting, not for me. "
" Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. "
" Here's the most mysterious thing to me. I look back at those first plays I did and the first movies I did, and I only have one question, which is, 'What was I so confident about? Where did I get that? "
" The reason that most British actors are better than most American actors in the end is that they don't make any money. At the very end of their lives, they get into a space movie and they make a lot of money, but until that happens, basically, they don't have bank accounts. They live from day to day. "
" I think the main thing about comedy and humor is that it's impossible and always was impossible to define. "
" The thing is, as a film director, you're essentially alone: You have to tell a story primarily through pictures, and only you know the film you see in your head. "
" The thing about being an outsider... is that it teaches you to hear what people are thinking because you're constantly looking for the people who just don't give a damn. "
" As a director, my job is, and always has been, divided into a number of things: dealing with the crew, the money and the studio, and the marketing and publicity. These are all different jobs that have to be learned and done as well as possible. The celebrity part rarely touches a director. "
" If you lose a parent, it never goes away. As a kid, I dreamed about my father coming back for 15 or 20 years. I still do sometimes. "
" We are being entertained all the time - in the bathroom, on the train, in our beds. Sure, there is a smaller audience for theater. But we know from radio that entertainment never goes away, it just changes. And more power to it. "
" There's nothing in the American dream about character. It's a serious flaw. "
" I'm anything but confident. "
" The degree to which you're peculiar and different is the degree to which you must learn to hear people thinking. Just in self-defense you have to learn, where is their kindness? Where is their danger? Where is their generosity? "
" I love to take actors to a place where they open a vein. That's the job. The key is that I make it safe for them to open the vein. "
" Never let people see what you want, because they will not let you have it. Never let anybody see what you feel, because it gives them too much power. You're probably better off not showing weakness whenever you can avoid it, because they'll go for you. "
" I had a high school girlfriend whose mother gave us theater tickets, so I saw the second night performance of 'A Streetcar Named Desire.' My girl and I could not get up during intermission, we were so stunned. To this day it's the only thing I've seen on stage that's 100 percent real and 100 percent poetic simultaneously. "
" Whether something is a success or not has never had much to do with what you do next. "
" I've learned that many of the worst things lead to the best things, that no great thing is achieved without a couple of bad, bad things on the way to them, and that the bad things that happen to you bring, in some cases, the good things. "
" It's the hardest thing on earth to like yourself, and then when you do, it's a catastrophe. I mean, the people I know who like themselves - I don't want to see them! "
" Fear of comedy is all so much about who you do it with. "
" A great thing is happening on cable TV. You see characters change in stories over years, like in Tolstoy. That's a whole, thrilling new form that I really enjoy. They are Tolstoy-an in their endless character development and narrative changes... a show like 'Breaking Bad' is astonishing. "
" I think a director can make a play happen before your eyes so that you are part of it and it is part of you. If you can get it right, there's no mystery. It's not about mystery. It's not even mysterious. It's about our lives. "
" Nerves provide me with energy... It's when I don't have them, when I feel at ease, that's when I get worried. "
" Directing is mystifying. It's a long, long, skid on an icy road, and you do the best you can trying to stay on the road... If you're still here when you come out of the spin, it's a relief. But you've got to have the terror if you're going to do anything worthwhile. "
" Technically, maybe I learned most of all from George Stevens, and among his movies I learned the most from 'A Place in the Sun.' It's a lesson in moviemaking. "
" I came to love silence, because it's so rare, and it's now my favorite aural condition. "
" All the theories that acting is reacting to imaginary circumstances as though they are real, and directing is turning psychology into behavior, those are all stabs at something that can't be taught. All the great actors can't talk about what they do, and they don't want to begin to talk about it. They just do it. "
" I loved all movies, literally. I certainly loved 'Shane' and 'Roxie Hart.' Later on, when I was less of a kid, I loved 'L'Avventura' and 'Persona' and all Fellini movies and like everybody else I loved John Ford. Then and now, I loved Preston Sturges, maybe above anyone. "
" A play, after all, is a mystery. There's no narration. And as soon as there's no narration, it's open to interpretation. It must be interpreted. You don't have a choice... Each play can become many things. "