Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daniel Day-Lewis Quotes

1. 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.







2. 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.


3. How people are around a director, it really does affect everything, every detail of the life of the movie.


4. A lot of guys in jail tattoo their hands.



5. A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character.

6. Actors should never give interviews.

7. 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.


8. 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.

9. As actors, we're all encouraged to feel that each job is the last job. They plant some little electrode in your head at an early stage and you think: "Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful."

10. At a certain age it just became apparent to me that this was probably the work that I would have to do.


11. At some point in your life, if you're lucky, you get to design the way in which things evolve.


12. Everybody has to know for themselves what they're capable of.

13. 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.

14. Films exhaust me, they do, and I often want nothing more to do with them, but I'm continually surprised at the resurgence of the impulse to come back and do it all over again.


15. For about a year, I just didn't know what to do. I did laboring jobs, working in the docks, construction sites.

16. 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.

17. Germans don't speak in a German accent, they just speak German.


18. God knows, I haven't always been successful.

19. I became conflicted in my late teens.

20. How can you be a recluse in a house full of children, even if you had the inclination to be, which I don't?

21. 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.

22. I broke things to get attention.


23. I can't re-examine work I did in the past with pride.

24. 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.

25. I come from not just a household but a country where the finesse of language, well-balanced sentence, structure, syntax, these things are driven into us, and my parents, bless them, are great custodians of the English language.


26. I depleted myself to the point where I had nothing left.


27. I didn't like the idea of being foolish, but I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.

28. I don't deal at all well with the relative amount of stuff I have to face already.

29. 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.


30. I don't torture myself.

31. I don't feel my son should pay the price for what I do.

32. I feel less often compelled to do the work than I was in the past.

33. I find it difficult to be in rooms now for long periods of time. I can usually take it for about an hour. Then I stride out.

34. I find it easier to work when it's quiet.


35. I hate the domestic life.


36. I hate wasting people's time.



37. I had a very vivid, almost hallucinatory moment in which I was engaged in a dialogue with my father.

38. I have a strange relationship with time. I'm not aware of it passing.

39. I have always been intrigued by these lives I have never experienced.


40. I just knew at an early time in my life how important privacy was.

41. I like to cook things very slowly.

42. I like to learn about things.

43. 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.


44. I love what I do.

45. I live in a landscape, which every single day of my life is enriching.

46. I love to sit and watch people. I love to sit and listen to people.

47. I made the film in spite of Harvey, not because of Harvey.

48. I never retreat from films, as it were, I simply indulge in other interests, that's all.


49. 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.

50. I still relate to my father very much. I mean, I talk to him in a certain way, as we do talk to the dead.

51. 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!

52. I suppose it's a very highly developed form of denial, but some part of me completely denies that I'm a performer.


53. I suppose the place where I live is fairly remote, it would seem remote to some people.


54. I think some actors thrive on working at a much greater pace than I do.

55. I would wish for any one of my colleagues to have the experience of working with Martin Scorsese once in their lifetime.


56. I'd always felt very strongly in the power of vocation.

57. I'm a little bit perverse, and I just hate doing the thing that's the most obvious.

58. I'm a warrior when it comes to pursuing roles.

59. I'm not picky, quite honestly.


60. I'm not keen on history being tampered with...to any extent.



61. I'm not really a storyteller myself - I tend to get all tangled up when I try and tell stories.

62. I'm not sure you learn anything on film sets.


63. I'm woefully one-track-minded.

64. I'm very often still very much alive for that other being and that other world long after the film is finished.

65. I've been very lucky.

66. I've got a serious-looking head.


67. If people take an interest in you and they think there's half a chance, they might hang on. It's dreadful.






68. If you have a certain wildness of spirit, a cabinet maker's workshop is not the place to express it.

69. If you remain unsettled by a piece of writing, it means you are not watching the story from the outside; you've already taken a step towards it.


70. Ireland was a place for the renewal of hope and I still see it like that.


71. It is awesome to feel you are carrying on the family name.



72. It didn't occur to me that it was possible to breathe life into Abraham Lincoln.

73. 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.


74. It must be hard interviewing actors.


75. It's a source of great sadness to me that my father died without having seen me do anything worthwhile. He was constantly having to make excuses for me.

76. Making a film, setting it up and getting it cast and getting it together, is not an easy thing.

77. Many years ago, I really didn't know where the next work was coming from.


78. My main memories of my father are of his illness.


79. My curiosity sustains me for the period of the shoot.



80. 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.

81. Perhaps I'm particularly serious, because I'm not unaware of the potential absurdity of what I'm doing.


82. 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.




83. Periodically over the years I've always taken periods of time away from acting.


84. 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.


85. The last time I was on a small set would've been probably "My Left Foot".


86. Shoes are strange things. If you take your shoes off in a situation in which you're vulnerable, you'll feel 10 times more vulnerable.




87. The West has always been the epicentre of possibility. One of the ways we forge against mortality is to head west. It's to do with catching the sun before it slips behind the horizon.

88. The whole thing of weight, I guess it's because there is a wider fascination we all have with weight.


89. The one thing that I appear to have been given, bearing in mind that I am capable of being very, very scatty and extremely lazy, is the ability to concentrate on something I choose to give my time to.

90. There are always practical decisions to be made about any character you're playing.


91. There must've been some part of me that wanted to make my mark. But there was never a defining moment.





92. 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.

93. To people who don't know me I'm defined by a number of things that people know about me that are entirely untrue.


94. Very often there's this misapprehension about actors being people that need to display themselves, to reveal themselves in public.


95. We all live under some repression; we have to, it's part of the deal.



96. Well, we all have murderous thoughts throughout the day, if not the week.

97. When I did make the decision to focus on acting, I think my mother was just relieved for me that I had finally started to focus.


98. When I do work, I feel the same sort of urgency as I ever did. If I didn't feel that, I don't think I would wish to be doing it. I wouldn't really see the point.

99. When I was younger, I made some decisions that I shouldn't have. And, in hindsight, I've almost always been wrong when I haven't listened to myself.

100. Where I come from, it was a heresy to say you wanted to be in movies, leave alone American movies.


101. You can never fully put your finger on the reason why you're suddenly, inexplicably compelled to explore one life as opposed to another.






102. (on acting) If I weren't allowed this outlet, there wouldn't be a place for me in society.

103. (on whether or not he will act in films more often in the future) Nothing happened over the course of making "Gangs of New York" that made me think: "Why don't I do this more often?"


104. In every actor's life, there is a moment when they ask themselves: "Is it really seemly for me to still be doing this?"



105. Life comes first. What I see in the characters, I first try to see in life.

106. (on playing Jack Slevin in "The Ballad of Jack and Rose - 2005) I was, as always, wary of taking on the role. This was a man whose soul was torn, and once you've adopted that kind of internal conflict, it's difficult to quiet.


107. (on disengaging from a character after filming) There's a terrible sadness. The last day of shooting is surreal. Your mind, your body, your spirit are not in any way prepared to accept that this experience is coming to an end. In the months that follow the finish of a film, you feel profound emptiness. You've devoted so much of your time to unleashing, in an unconscious way, some sort of spiritual turmoil, and even if it's uncomfortable, no part of you wishes to leave that character behind. The sense of bereavement is such that it can take years before you can put it to rest.

108. Before I start a film, there is always a period where I think: "I'm not sure I can do this again". I remember that before I was going to start "There Will Be Blood" (2007), I wondered why I had said yes. When Martin Scorsese told me about Bill the Butcher in "Gangs of New York" (2002), I wanted to change places with that man. But even then, I did not say yes right away. I kept thinking: "I'm not sure I can do this again".

109. (on seeing his face in Hollywood posters for "The Last of the Mohicans" - 1992) That was, and will always be, difficult for me. The work itself is never anything but pure pleasure, but there's an awful lot of peripheral stuff that I find it hard to be surrounded by. I like things to be swift, because the energy you have is concentrated and can be fleeting. The great machinery of film can work against that. I have never had a positive reaction to all the stuff that supposedly promotes the film. The thought of it will make me hesitate to do any films at all.

110. (on learning to box for "The Boxer" - 1997)) I wanted to see if I loved the sport, because if I didn't love the sport, I wouldn't want to tell the story. At its best, boxing is very pure. It requires resilience and heart and self-belief even after it's been knocked out of you. It's a certain kind of a test. And it's hard: the training alone will kill you. And that's before people start giving you a dig.

111. Playing the part of Christy Brown left me with a sense of setting myself on a course, of trying to achieve something that was utterly out of reach.


112. (after filming "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" - 1988) I was hopelessly at sea. I was extremely unhappy most of the time. I think I probably felt I'd made a fundamental error in agreeing to do that movie even though it was the part and the film that everyone wanted to do. And God help us, that is, in itself, a reason not to do something.

113. (while filming "My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown" 1989) I needed - and I still need - to create a particular environment. I need to find the right kind of silence or light or noise. Whatever is necessary - and it is always different. I know it sounds a little fussy and a little ridiculous, but finding your own rhythm is one of the most important things you can discover about yourself. And you have to observe it. I couldn't do this work at all unless I did it in my own rhythm. It became a choice between stopping and taking the time I needed.

114. Why would I want to play middle-aged middle-class Englishmen?

115. There's a quality of wildness that exists in Ireland that coincides with utter solitude.

116. I've managed to create a sense of banishment in so many different areas of my life. I live in Ireland, not England. I make films in America. And now I'm banished from the theater because I've slagged it off so much. And I did the unspeakable thing of fleeing from "Hamlet."


117. (on acting school) For a few years at school I tried to play the roles they wanted me to play, but it became less and less interesting to ponce around the place. Even now, when I sometimes think of doing a play, I think of rehearsal rooms and people hugging and everyone talking over cups of coffee because they are nervous. It's both very touching and it makes me a little nauseous and claustrophobic. Too much talk. I don't rehearse at all in film if I can help it. In talking a character through, you define it. And if you define it, you kill it dead.

118. Laurence Olivier might have been a much better actor on film if he hadn't had that flippant attitude. (He) was a remarkable actor, but he was entirely missing the point consistently. He felt that film was an inferior form.

119. The thing that Konstantin Stanislavski lays out is how you do the thing the first time every time - 1,000 times. That's the idea you're always searching for.

120. (on working as a teen-age extra in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" 1971) I was just a local kid. I got to come out of the church, the same church where I sang in the choir, and scratch up a row of cars - a Jag, a Bentley - parked in front. I thought, I get paid for this! Years later, I saw the director, John Schlesinger, at the Edinburgh festival, where we were showing My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). I play a hooligan punk in that too. I said to Schlesinger: "I guess I haven't progressed much."


121. I came from the educated middle class but I identified with the working classes. Those were the people I looked up to. The lads whose fathers worked on the docks or in shipping yards or were shopkeepers. I knew that I wasn't part of that world, but I was intrigued by it. They had a different way of communicating. People who delight in conversation are often using that as a means to not say what is on their minds. When I became interested in theater, the work I admired was being done by working-class writers. It was often about the inarticulate. I later saw that same thing in Robert De Niro's early work - it was the most sublime struggle of a man trying to express himself. There was such poetry in that for me.

122. (on obtaining Irish citizenship) I dare say it was still considered to be an abandonment of England A betrayal! A heresy! It is not expected that someone from my background will leave England. But I've committed so many heresies that there's no sense in not making the final gesture.

123. (on visiting the west of Ireland every year since childhood) From the day we arrived here, my sense of Ireland's importance has never diminished. Everything here seemed exotic to us. Just the sound of the west of Ireland in a person's voice can affect me deeply.


124. (on researching his role as Plainview in "There Will Be Blood" 2007) I like to learn about things. It was just a great time trying to conceive of the impossibility of that thing. I didn't know anything about mining at the turn of the century in America. My boarding school in Kent didn't exactly teach that.

125. (on researching his role as Plainview in "There Will Be Blood" 2007) Back then men would get the fever. They would keep digging, always with the idea that next time they'll throw the dice and the money will fall out of the sky. It killed a lot of men, it broke others, still more were reduced to despair and poverty, but they still believed in the promise of the West.

126. (on researching his role as Plainview in "There Will Be Blood" 2007) I read a lot of correspondence dating from that period. Decent middle-class lives with wives and children were abandoned to pursue this elusive possibility. They were bank clerks and shipping agents and teachers. They all fled West for a sniff of cheap money. And they made it up as they went along. No one knew how to drill for oil. Initially, they scooped it out of the ground in saucepans. It was man at his most animalistic, sifting through filth to find bright, sparkly things.

127. It was always assumed that the classics were a good line of work for me because I had a decent voice and the right nose. But anybody who comes from an essentially cynical European society is going to be bewitched by the sheer enthusiasm of the New World. And in America, the articulate use of language is often regarded with suspicion. Especially in the West. Look at the president. He could talk like an educated New Englander if he chose to. Instead, he holds his hands like a man who swings an ax. George W. Bush understands, very astutely, that many of the people who are going to vote for him would regard him less highly if he knew how to put words together. He would no longer be one of them. In Europe, the tradition is one of oratory. But in America, a man's man is never spendthrift with words. This, of course, is much more appealing in the movies than it is in politics.

128. (replying to a compliment on his articulation) I am more greatly moved by people who struggle to express themselves. Maybe it's a middle-class British hang-up, but I prefer the abstract concept of incoherence in the face of great feeling to beautiful, full sentences that convey little emotion.

129. (on applying to theater school, the Bristol Old Vic) I picked just one because then it would be a sign from the gods if it was not meant to be.

130. (on his reluctance to expose the mechanics of his acting process) It's not that I want to pull the shutters down. It's just that people have such a misconception about what it is I do. They think the character comes from staying in the wheelchair or being locked in the jail or whatever extravagant thing they choose to focus their fantasies on. Somehow, it always seems to have a self-flagellatory aspect to it. But that's just the superficial stuff. Most of the movies that I do are leading me toward a life that is utterly mysterious to me. My chief goal is to find a way to make that life meaningful to other people.


131. My love for American movies was like a secret that I carried around with me. I always knew I could straddle different worlds. I'd grown up in two different worlds and if you can grow up in two different worlds, you can occupy four. Or six. Why put a limit on it?



132. I used to go to all-night screenings of (Clint Eastwood)'s movies. I'd stagger out at 5 in the morning, trying to be loose-limbed and mean and taciturn.

133. (on accepting the best actor Oscar for "There Will be Blood") This sprang like a sapling out of the mad, beautiful head of Paul Thomas Anderson.


134. I have no illusion about the fact that I'm an Englishman living in Ireland. Even though I do straddle both worlds and I'm very proud to be able to carry both passports. But I do know where I come from. I particularly miss south-east London - the front-lines of Deptford and Lewisham and New Cross and Charlton - because that's my patch.

135. I was very influenced by Ken Loach's work from the moment I saw "Kes" when I was a kid. It still remains for me one of the most powerful pieces of work ever. Before that, there was "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", "This Sporting Life" and "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", which all expressed a new British social realism. Undoubtedly, they opened up the possibility of examining British life in a new way. That was probably the most important film experience I had.


136. I do have dual citizenship, but I think of England as my country. I miss London very much but I couldn't live there because there came a time when I needed to be private and was forced to be public by the press. I couldn't deal with it.


137. I am rather surprised that I haven't made more stories about my own country but it is a mistake to suggest that the biggest influence on my life in terms of movies has been America. It was and remains Ken Loach and his whole body of work, not that I have ever worked with him. There is something unique and pure about the way he works, without a taint on it. His beliefs have remained unwavering since he made "Cathy Come Home".

138. Whenever we reach what we think are the boundaries of our endurance, you know ten minutes later you're thinking: I could have done that - like in any athletic pursuit - I could have gone further than that; I could have jumped higher.


139. (on why he takes long breaks between films) For my sense of continuity, I suppose I work in a certain way. But it goes beyond that. It's really about the sense of joy you have in having worked hard to imagine and discover and - one hopes - to create a world, an illusion of a world that other people might believe in because you believe in it yourself, a form of self-delusion. After achieving that, it seems far crazier to jump in and out of that world that you've gone to such pains to create. And it wouldn't be my wish to do that, because I enjoy being in there.

140. My ambition for many years was to be involved in work that was utterly compelling to me, regardless of the consequences. But I worried a lot as a young man about where such and such a thing might take me; you're encouraged to think that way. You're supposed to build a career for yourself. But there's no part of me that was able to do that. And thank God I was able to recognize it before I sort of went grey with anxiety.

141. I saw "Taxi Driver" (1976) five or six times in the first week, and I was astonished by its sheer visceral beauty. I just kept going back - I didn't know America, but that was a glimpse of what America might be, and I realized that, contrary to expectation, I wanted to tell American stories.


142. I don't particularly like westerns as a genre, but I do love certain westerns. "High Noon" (1952) means a lot to me - I love the purity and the honesty, I love Gary Cooper in that film, the idea of the last man standing. I do not like John Wayne: I find it hard to watch him. I just never took to him. And I don't like James Stewart as a cowboy. I love him, but just not as a cowboy; "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) is one of my favorite films. I love Frank Capra. I love Preston Sturges. But we're talking about westerns…I have always admired Clint Eastwood's westerns. The spaghetti westerns were a great discovery. And "Pale Rider" (1985). As a child, the John Ford film "Cheyenne Autumn" made a big impression on me. And "Five Easy Pieces". It's not really a western, but it is about the possibilities that can be found in the West. Jack Nicholson is sublime in that film, just sublime. It's the most stultifying portrait of middle-class life. You want to flee from that world and head anywhere less civilized. Which is, of course, the appeal of the West: It's not tamed yet.



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