My philosophy is it’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.
Life’s too short to deal with other people’s insecurities.
Relish everything that’s inside of you, the imperfections, the darkness, the richness and light and everything. And that makes for a full life.
I would like to go back to Wales. I’m obsessed with my childhood and at least three times a week dream I am back there.
The magical, supernatural force that is with us every second is time. We can’t even comprehend it. It’s such an illusion, it’s such a strange thing.
I think the healthy way to live is to make friends with the beast inside oneself, and that means not the beast but the shadow. The dark side of one’s nature. Have fun with it and you know, is to accept everything about ourselves.
I have a punishing workout regimen. Every day I do 3 minutes on a treadmill, then I lie down, drink a glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette.
I’m devious, cruel, cunning and addictive.
We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.
We’re all caught up in circumstances, and we’re all good and evil. When you’re really hungry, for instance, you’ll do anything to survive. I think the most evil thing – well, maybe that’s too strong – but certainly a very evil thing is judgment, the sin of ignorance.
I tried acting, liked it, and stuck with it. I saw it as the way I would keep that promise to myself of getting back at those who had made my school life a misery.
I’m most suspicious of scripts that have a lot of stage direction at the top of the page… sunrise over the desert and masses of… a whole essay before you get to the dialogue.
Years ago I met Richard Burton in Port Talbot, my home town, and afterwards he passed in his car with his wife, and I thought, ‘I want to get out and become like him’. Not because of Wales, because I love Wales, but because I was so limited as a child at school and so bereft and lonely, and I thought becoming an actor would do that.
I’m a pretty tough guy, you know. I’m a pretty hard man. I’ve got a lot of compassion, but I don’t waste time with people.
I know that the arts are important. I’m not denying that, but I can’t associate myself with all the claptrap that goes on around it.
It’s such a pleasant surprise when you come on set and you find someone in charge like Ken Branagh or James Ivory. You know that you’re going to do a day’s work and at the end of it, it’s going to be good.
If you do things, whether it’s acting or music or painting, do it without fear – that’s my philosophy. Because nobody can arrest you and put you in jail if you paint badly, so there’s nothing to lose.
I think a certain amount of stress in life is good. The stress of just working, which takes effort – I think it keeps you going.
I come from – I came from Wales, and it’s a strong, butch society. We were in the war and all that. People didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. You had to get on with it. So my credo is get on with it. I don’t waste time being soft. I’m not cold, but I don’t like being, wasting my time with – life’s too short.
Beware the tyranny of the weak. They just suck you dry.
Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore; only the life I have lived. The pain now is part of the happiness then.
I don’t believe in nepotism. I don’t much like the idea of parents who interfere.
I always had a knack for improvisation. I can write down the notes I play, but never really had a proper academic musical background. I suppose I’m blessed and cursed by the fact I have that freedom.
If I spent all my time criticising myself, I wouldn’t be able to function. There are actors who theorise till the cows come home. I haven’t the patience for them. It’s maybe shallow, but that’s why I’ll never be part of the acting set.
It was a challenge, to work with Oliver Stone.
I’ve got no need to prove to myself that I can do Shakespeare. I’ve done it.
I am able to play monsters well. I understand monsters. I understand madmen.
I have no interest in Shakespeare and all that British nonsense… I just wanted to get famous and all the rest is hogwash.
Actors I admire? Ed Harris, or course, I think he’s terrific; because I know he always had to fight being what he looked like a lot, but I think he’s a terrific actor.
And I love a scary movie. It makes your toes curl and it’s not you going through it.
Every time I try to retire, or even think of retiring from acting, my agent comes up with a script.
I came here in 1974 to do a play, and then I went to L.A. I really like living in America. I feel more at home here than anywhere else.
I don’t have people following me around, like bodyguards. I don’t know how people live like that. Maybe the young movie stars have to live like that, I don’t know. But it seems a little crazy to me. I don’t think you need all that stuff.
I don’t know what acting is, but I enjoy it.
I have dual citizenship, it just so happens I live in America.
I like the good life too much, I’m not good at going on stage night after night and on wet Wednesday afternoons.
I love roller coasters. I don’t get a chance often, but I’ve gone to Magic Mountain and gone on the rides. I love roller coasters.
I never make conscious decisions.
I think all those actors from that generation, like Bogart – they were wonderful actors. They didn’t act. They just came on and they did it, and the characters were wonderful.
I worked with Lawrence Olivier some years ago. He was a great mentor.
I worked with Steven Spielberg on Amistad… he seemed so very secure in himself that he let me do things.
I’m always cast in these strange men… that’s not me, really.
I’m the slowest driver in the world.
I’ve got a great sense of humor.
My father was grounded, a very meat-and-potatoes man. He was a baker.
Oh yes. I’m an actor, so I just learn my lines, and show up and do it. I gave it a little bit of thought.
Richard Burton came from the same town as me, so I thought I’d follow my nose, and follow my luck. I think I’ve been very lucky.
Well, everyone likes movies when they’re a little kid.
I love life because what more is there?
This industry has been really good to me. It’s been a great life. I’m not through yet. I’m ready when you are, Mr. DeMille.
The art of acting is not to act. Once you show them more, what you show them, in fact is bad acting.
I’m one of the slowest drivers on the road. I mosey along. If you’re doing anything too fast, including living life too fast, that creates sudden death. If I have to be somewhere on time, I make sure I leave early enough.
In the theatre, people talk. Talk, talk until the cows come home about journeys of discovery and about what Hazlitt thought of a line of Shakespeare. I can’t stand it.
My life turned out to be beyond my greatest dreams.
I’m married. My wife, Stella – a beautiful woman. She’s brought a lot of peace to my life, a lot of wisdom.
My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me.
I’ve been composing music all my life and if I’d been clever enough at school I would like to have gone to music college.
A conductor can’t be too arrogant with an orchestra and try to impose himself too much.
I can’t stand directors who try to micro-manage everything. When it happens these days I just walk off set, saying if they don’t like the way I’m doing it they can get someone else.
What I do is just go over and over and over my lines and learn the script so well that I can just be easy and relaxed. That’s the way I always work.
I know that some actors and directors like to have intensity on set. I don’t, particularly. Certainly, if they want that, that’s fine, but I can’t work like that.
I like to take it easy.
I’m interested in the dream and subconscious mind, the peculiar dream-like quality of our lives, sometime nightmare quality of our lives.
We all dream. We dream vividly, depending on our nature. Our existence is beyond our explanation, whether we believe in God or we have religion or we’re atheist.
I’m fascinated by the fact that we can’t grasp anything about time.
I was lousy in school. Real screwed-up. A moron. I was antisocial and didn’t bother with the other kids. A really bad student. I didn’t have any brains. I didn’t know what I was doing there. That’s why I became an actor.
The Welsh people have a talent for acting that one does not find in the English. The English lack heart.
I think the first British actor who really worked well in cinema was Albert Finney. He was a back-street Marlon Brando. He brought a great wittiness and power to the screen. The best actor we’ve had.
I’m not a health freak. I just work out every day.
I don’t know why they gave me a knighthood – though it’s very nice of them – but I only ever use the title in the U.S. The Americans insist on it and get offended if I don’t.
I don’t have many friends; I’m very much a loner. As a child I was very isolated, and I’ve never been really close to anyone.
I was bullied as a boy – lots of kids are, but hopefully most of us get on with our lives and grow up.
My father wasn’t a cruel man. And I loved him. But he was a pretty tough character. His own father was even tougher – one of those Victorians, hard as iron – but my dad was tough enough.
I am not very good with relationships. With anyone. I can’t be locked up with anyone for too long.
People forget that Mozart wrote for commissions. There’s a thing in psychology where they think if it’s popular, it can’t be serious.
I am a bit of a solitude person – a solitary personality. I like being on my own. I don’t have any major friendships or relationships with people.
I remember coming to New York in 1974 to do a play here called ‘Equis.’ And I remember the first morning getting up and walking around the streets, and I thought, ‘I’m home.’ I felt really at peace here.
We’re always looking over our shoulders, ‘what they will think, what the press will think, what will this one – am I making the right career move?’ When you’re young you have to do all that to survive, I suppose.
I just wanted to be a composer; I became an actor by default, really. I got a scholarship to a college of music and drama, hoping to take a scholarship in music. But I ended up as an acting student, so I’ve stuck with that for the last 50-odd years.
I wouldn’t use the word ‘scared’ for my role as Hitchcock, but it was my most insecure. Taking on such a formidable, giant personality such as Hitchcock; he was one of the great geniuses of world cinema. Sheer genius.
Jonathan Demme is a very sharp editor of his movies.
I do admire Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, but I’m a philistine. I like the good life too much; I’m not good at going on stage night after night and on wet Wednesday afternoons.
I have dual citizenship; it just so happens I live in America. I would like to go back to Wales. I’m obsessed with my childhood, and at least three times a week dream I am back there.
I hope I would not be so arrogant as to doubt anyone’s religion or belief.
I’ve had no contact with my daughter for years. That’s her choice. Anyway, you move on. If people don’t want to bother with me, fine. You know, God bless them, and move on.
I don’t like freeloaders; I don’t like people who are negative.
I spent two years in the military service, then I trudged around in repertory for quite a while. I somehow wound up at the National Theatre, though, and then I was definitely on my way.
I don’t have a vast longing for the stage.
The knighthood was a tremendous honour, I don’t dismiss it. But I feel embarrassed by the flowery, theatrical stuff that goes with being an actor.
People ask, ‘Should I call you Sir Hopkins?’ But I say, ‘No. Call me Tony,’ because it’s too much of a lift-up.
Once you begin to fall off the track and believe you breathe different air to everyone else, you’re doomed; you’re finished.
I learn poetry, learn text, and that really keeps you alive.
Our existence is beyond our explanation, whether we believe in God or we have religion or we’re atheist. Our existence is beyond our understanding. No one has an answer.
For me, time is the greatest mystery of all. The fact is that we’re dreaming all the time. That’s what really gets me. We have a fathomless lake of unconsciousness just beneath our skulls.
Acting is just a process of relaxation, actually. Knowing the text so well and trusting that the instinct and the subconscious mind, whatever you want to call it, is going to take over.
I was called ‘Dumbo,’ like the elephant, as a child because I couldn’t understand things at school.
I’ve felt like an outsider all my life. It comes from my mother, who always felt like an outsider in my father’s family. She was a powerful woman, and she motivated my father.
I worked at the Steel Company Of Wales when I was 17. My job was to supply tools to the guys working the blast furnaces.
My weak spot is laziness. Oh, I have a lot of weak spots: cookies, croissants.
I tend to get bored quickly, which means I must be boring.
I couldn’t say I ever dreamt of becoming a composer, a pianist, or anything else for that matter. I have the kind of brain where nothing is set in stone.
We have a Boesendorfer piano that I play every day. It keeps my brain and my fingers active.