I got through with my ability to mimic others and make people laugh. I swaggered through life, but, in reality, I lived in fear pretty much every day. I acted like a completely normal person, and I suppose I was good at it. But, inside, it was a very different story.
I can’t afford to step away from acting, but the one thing I’ve learnt after all these years is that I don’t fit in. It’s very difficult to be at the mercy of other people’s whims and visions.
I would hate to be thrust into the middle of a big film and not deliver. There’s young actors and they’re put into these central roles and they’re commanding armies – but they can’t quite pull it off. I’d much rather do it in small steps and build it from there.
I live in a state of hypersensitivity, and I’ve always had this feeling that something bad is going to happen to myself, or my wife and children. This manifests itself in different fears and visions.
You walk past people in streets, or they serve you in shops, and you know nothing about the horrors they may be living with.
Being a director is almost like being another sort of character, but you’re out of view.
My fascination is not for cinema; it’s for human nature and human beings because I find it quite difficult being one at times.
When you’re having conversations about actors, you realize these same conversations have happened about you. If you want to make a film for $5m, then you cast A, B and C, but if you want $20m, you won’t be able to cast them, you need X, Y and Z.
There’s no social realism in ‘Tyrannosaur.’ It’s not about the social landscape or the political landscape or any of that. It’s just about human beings. I never made ‘Tyrannosaur’ in reference to anybody – I just made it because I had to make my own films.
What’s my dilemma here? Am I making entertainment or am I making art? What am I saying? At the end of the day, cinema is entertainment for millions of people, but for me it’s expression.
The thing is, if I try to talk about acting, I come off as moaning. But I’m privileged. I think it’s all about control. Acting is vulnerable because you’re not in control of anything. You have to give up a lot of your trust; it’s up to somebody else what they do with what you’ve given them.
With directors, some have a kind of in-built ability to just know how to work with actors and get the best out of actors, and some don’t have a clue about acting. I think it’d be a good idea if directors put themselves in front of the camera, or even went on a six-week drama course, just to know a little bit about what that feels like.
It’s such a stressful environment, I find, being an actor, being put in the chair and “Touch this, that, and the other,” it’s too much for me. I find it hard to tolerate that sort of stuff. If you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it. You’re wasting everyone’s time.
People can very quickly have a very poor self-image. It doesn’t take much.
I’m trying to make sense of lot of things with ‘Tyrannosaur.’ I’m trying to make sense of people who’ve left now. They’re not here, they can’t answer for themselves any more, they’re gone. And I’m trying to make peace with those ghosts.
I don’t want to be disrespectful to people who are incredible at their craft, but the truth is, if I didn’t get paid for it, I wouldn’t act. The best-paying jobs are usually the worst films. You’re a very small cog in a big machine.
All you’ve got to do is turn up and have a few facial tics and be a lunatic and throw someone around the room or blow their brains out and people think it’s good acting.
I could never sit down and say: I’m going to do an out-and-out comedy, just to prove to people I can. You’ve just got to do what you do. Just listen to your soul and do your art and do it for the right reasons, and then you can’t fail.
At the end of the day, my life isnt about other peoples work. Ive got to stop giving stuff away. Ive got my own stories to tell, and a great need to tell them. Ive got these images, these thoughts in my head, and I need to find a way to cope with them.
I watched ‘Rocky’ and ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ over and over again. They spoke to you, man.
Its different being a director. I suppose, especially if its a story youve written and you feel compelled to tell, in some ways its a lot easier than acting because youre orchestrating the piece. As an actor, sometimes youre trying to second-guess what people want.
I think it’s a shame when the arts have to suffer because of corporate greed. People will always strive to make film, and the only important thing is that we keep trying to make ourselves heard and keep making our films, no matter what the climate is.
There is nothing worse than when actors come to a set – and it happens a lot with big stars – and they are too aware of where the camera is. They are the show. And that becomes apparent and it affects the production. I am like ‘You should not know where the camera is – you should act, and I will do the rest.’