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James Woods Quotes



"Reading for a part is very important, actually. There's this sort of agency mentality: If you're a big star, they should offer you a lot of money, and then you deign to read the script. Except - and this is sort of a big secret around town - no matter how big a star is, when you want a part and you ain't gettin' offered it, you find a way to sort of make yourself available."
"My parents loved each other. I was raised in a house of total love and respect. My dad worked very hard and my mother was incredibly devoted to him. I can unequivocally, without any peradventure of doubt, tell you that I was raised with the kind of love that we only dream of. My mother and my father loved me and my brother like we love the air we breathe--out of necessity. It was a necessity for them to love us in some deep inner genetic calling in their hearts and minds and souls. I have that as a standard."
"I was really bright as a kid and tested well, and it was clear that I was going to get scholarships to any schools I wanted. My dad always said I could be an engineer; at that time it was the elite of society: steady job, working in science, which was then the answer to every problem we had. It was kind of a mandate. Kind of a dream he had for me."
"It was a very wrenching and painful decision for me--in my senior year at MIT, on high dean's list and full scholarships--to decide that maybe I wanted to be an artist. I think it is actually something that my father would understand. Whether I'm making 30 grand a day or union scale, I have found something that I truly love, and that is something he would have admired." - On leaving school to go to NYC and become an actor.
"I always have a rule that acting is acting and truth is truth and you just go out there and you do it. But what happens in each medium is that you have other responsibilities. The acting remains the same, but each medium dictates assuming other halves to make the acting work. When I'm working on a film, I just play the absolute purity of the moments. I don't worry about the pacing, because the pacing is going to be dictated by the director and the editor. On the stage I have to give pacing to the play. As an actor, you, in fact, become the editor of the piece, in terms of the timing. You are required to engineer the pace yourself. In television, everything is in so close, that you realize that most of what you do has to register in your thought process."
"A cardinal rule of being a movie star, according to the agents and all the people who have wisdom, is that you should be aloof, do very little press and you shouldn't ever get on television. I don't think there is a piece of political film making in the United States that is a good as, let alone better than, Citizen Cohn. Let's assume that I am not even in the picture. I mean, just the writer of the piece, David Franzoni. I look at Promise, written by Richard Friendenberg and directed by Glenn Jordan, a wonderful director. Forgetting that I am in it, just looking at the material itself, My Name Is Bill W. would not have had the same impact if it were a feature film; it would have come and gone. But on television, 25 million people get to watch it all at the same time. So television has a power all its own and it has an allure all its own, and I think that television often deals with more meaningful subjects than many feature films do."
"If you star in movies, which I predominantly do, most agents would assume that you don't want to do a two-day part in a movie. But when you read a script like Casino and you know it is being directed by a genius like Martin Scorcese, you say, hey, I'll be an extra in this movie. I'll do anything. I called up Marty and said, 'Any part, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.' Because I want to work in good scripts with good directors, and this was a great script with a phenomenal director, it makes the choice really easy. We ended up making a two-scene part into a 10-scene part. Which proves my point. When you're working with great people and great material, you're going to milk it. I have learned that you can't be a champion unless you are in the championship zone. You can't win unless you're in the zone, whatever winning might mean. Right now, maybe they are not going to star me in a $100 million movie all by myself the way they would some other actor, but if I'm in that championship zone, I have got a shot."
"Robert Redford understands film acting better than anybody on the face on the earth. You know how some carnivores get every bit of meat off of a carcass they can? Well, there's nobody who gets as much blood out of a moment as Redford. Within the range of his talent he knows how to get every single note available, and he is a genius not only at getting those notes but in making them fully accessible to his audience. He is one of the few actors that can play three or four emotions at the same time, and he is amazing; he truly understands the subtlety of film acting."
"I am one of those guys who could do the most emotional scene and crack a joke instantly. I'm lucky. I'm just like an idiot savant. I have one enormously enjoyable, pleasurable--for me--talent, which is being able to act. I do it without any confusion or restriction or ambivalence or hesitation, and it just flows, almost as naturally as anything in my life. So I don't have a big burden about it. I'm not one of those 'method' guys. I'm tired of the Actors' Studio bullshit that has ruined movies for 40 years. All these guys running around pretending they are turnips or whatever the hell they do. You just play the character as he really is. As a loudmouth, blowhard, coward, shithead. You know, it's OK to be just who the guy is. One of the reasons that I'm not very good about talking about the process of acting is that so much of it requires you to be unconscious [of it] when you do it. When you're aware of what you're doing, it's never very good. If you just let go and you're in the scene, all of a sudden, it's good. I can't act; I swear to you, I feel like I can't. I dread it every time I do it. I feel like the more I do it, the less I know. Which is a good thing."
"My nightmare in life, my absolute fundamental, overwhelming, egregious nightmare, is Bill Gates' vision of the future, where there will be a video camera on every corner and every conversation will be recorded. Man, I'd rather put a pitchfork in my eyes than live in a world like that."
"I've never formally studied with anybody but I've always loved great photography. I like to shoot people. I always like to get into faces when there is something happening. It comes from the same motive as acting -- which is wanting to understand how people think and what they do. It feels exactly the same. You are observing human nature. I'm doing one by recreating it on film and another by capturing it on film. I just love studying human behavior."
"Achieving success as an actor has not been easy for me. My biggest, probably most irrational complaint has been that I've had to work harder for what I've gotten. I've seen other people with nepotism or wealth or cheesy good looks on their side who've had it easy, whereas I felt that I had to 'overprove' myself. No one ever went out of their way and said, 'Let's make Jimmy Woods a star.' With many frustrations and disappointments early in my career, I went into a deep depression. One time, I just sat in a chair for eighteen days. I worked my way out of that depressed state, but it took three years of therapy."
"Do you think I want to be the one lone voice against the Hollywood liberal establishment? It's not going to do me any good."
"I love George Bush right now - and I always have! I'm the only guy in L.A. who voted for him." (January 2002)
"Scratch a liberal and you'll find a fascist ... I'm not joking. You look at what's happening in this country now. Catharine MacKinnon thinks that we should now limit free speech, anything that offends a woman should now no longer be allowed - no reasonable man or woman in this country would subscribe to that, it's just insanity." (1994)
"But, you know, feminists have just destroyed the world as we, know it. I haven't met a woman lately, and I'm talking about women who work and have a high position, who doesn't agree with that. It has just destroyed relationships between men and women. Men and women are very wary of each other now. I listen to these feminists rave about, 'How dare they attack 'Bill Clinton' for having a little consensual sex act', but went nuts because Clarence Thomas allegedly made a joke about a Coke can. And the other guy is humiliating his wife and getting oral sex while he's talking about Bosnia to a congressman. Hello? Barbara Boxer is, you know, the most worthless, hypocritical 'feminist' loser on the face of the earth .... I just loathe with every fiber of my being, liars. My second ex-wife was a liar. And Nixon was a liar. And this Clinton is a liar. I have no respect for him no matter what in the world he ever does."



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