The Bible is wonderful. It’s only one book, but you can put two grams of coke on top of the Bible, and you first take a line of coke and then you open the Bible. Because then you understand.
People never understand what a friendship is. I’ll tell you what a friendship is to me. Friendship to me is, if my friends need my little finger to live, I’m going to have it cut off. I’m going to the hospital, they cut off my finger, and maybe I have a gold finger instead, and I become famous. But I still give it to my friend.
Audition is the worst thing. It’s like cleaning furniture in a department store.
I tried all my life to be a normal person. Stars are in the sky. I like cooking and gardening.
There are certain people who I worked with, Pamela Anderson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, they are figures. And they know this. They don’t pretend to be good actors. They were made by the industry into figures.
Now the time comes that I decided I only will do art films, basically. In a way, very similar to Isabella Rossellini. I prefer to work only with people like Lars von Trier or Guy Maddin or Gus Van Sant, just to name a few. But also there’s bills to pay, and sometimes you have to make a movie. So my decision from now on is art movies, or movies which are commercial, but for real money. That is my decision.
I learned something, when you have Nazi uniform on, why people were so evil and used their power. Because it’s a very powerful uniform, it’s like boots and black and silver and skeletons everywhere, on your hat, on your shoulder.
If you go into a forest of film stories, you never can get right through the forest straight ahead; you always have to make some U-turns or whatever, because there’s some trees in the way. And that’s what I’m doing. Sometimes, as an actor, if you make only these intellectual, wonderful films, which I love, from time to time you have to make a film like Armageddon so people see that you’re still around.
When you start in movie business… It is a business, actually. Nothing to do with art. Picasso is art, and Giacometti, but film acting is no art. Just the luck of being discovered, maybe.
Werner Herzog, I knew him for so many years, when Fassbinder was at his highest moment. But we had a rule: An actor from Fassbinder could never work with an actor of Werner Herzog or Wim Wenders. Because if we would have done that, we would have been spies. “Ah, you worked with Werner – how was it? How did he direct you?” I was Fassbinder’s actor.
I’ll tell you what a friendship is to me. Friendship to me is, if my friends need my little finger to live, I’m going to have it cut off. I’m going to the hospital, they cut off my finger, and maybe I have a gold finger instead, and I become famous. But I still give it to my friend.
I’m not an ensemble actor, because it’s always a lot of ego when you’re all together in the scene. It’s kind of intellectual fighting for something.
The actor’s always as good as the stories are. And so many important things, there is the light, there is the costumes, the makeup, there’s the text, there’s so many elements which the actor himself cannot control. But the script is the most important thing. First of all the story, and then you go from there. You know, it’s like you stand in the kitchen, and say are we making a fish or do we grill a steak? And you go from there.
The vampire or the bad guy, that’s what people do remember. Lars von Trier, like Guy Maddin, their films are made for a group of exclusive people who like special films. And they are special films, they are art films. And I started with commercial films at the beginning, and later on, because you know, when you are an actor, you have the same cliché like everybody else, you want to be in big films, you want to be known and all that.
I like torture. Torture is photogenic. If you make horror movies, you always have to think what’s photogenic and what’s not. If you stay home with the candlelight and you read a book, Rilke, or whatever, or Sigmund Freud, it’s boring. But if you watch Udo Kier in a horror film and people are hunting me and trying to kill me, and there’s my love interest with big breasts and beautiful hair, and I believe in her and they kill me at the end, that’s more interesting. We’re talking about films here. We’re not talking about writing stories.