Being understood is not the most essential thing in life.
[on her role in "Taxi Driver", when she was age 12] I spent four hours with a shrink trying to prove I was normal enough to play a hooker. Does that make sense?
Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.
Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable.
It's not my personality to be extroverted emotionally, so acting has been helpful to me.
I could tell you the criticism backward and forward about "Little Man Tate". But it didn't bother me as long as they were talking about the work and not about "she has fat thighs" or something. But I fared really well with "Tate", so I shouldn't be complaining.
[At age 14] Kids talk like sailors now. Adults don't want to know.
[In April 2004, on the advantages of being an actress who is months from turning 40] They've lived longer, they're more confident about their choices and they don't have to be hip and cool anymore, which I think is a godsend--you make really bad choices when you are trying to be hip.
If I fail, at least I will have failed my way.
[on "Foster Child", her brother Buddy Foster's unauthorized biography about her] A cheap cry for attention and money filled with hazy recollections, fantasies and borrowed press releases. Buddy has done nothing but break our mother's heart his whole life.
[on devoting more time to parenting her sons than film work] There's something so pure about the ways boys love you.
I'm interested in directing movies about situations that I've lived, so they are almost a personal essay about what I've come to believe in.
Acting, for me, is exhausting. I'm always more energized by directing. It's more intense to direct. I can pop in and express myself, then pop out again. It's a huge passion for me.
I love to see theater but not to work in it. Too messy, and I have a bit of an inferiority complex.
What I didn't realize is how completely consumed I would be by my sons. I didn't know that the rest of my life would become so little a priority.
I'm nervous every day on a film set. The anxiety of performance is not like anything else because you never know if you'll get there or not. There is an anxiety when it comes to finding the truth.
I'm lucky that people do leave me alone. I'm not Madonna. The red carpet is work for me. I work from 9-to-5 and when I get home, I don't want to go back to work by going to an industry event. For me, putting on makeup and a fancy dress is work.
I've learned something in the last few years that I really didn't know about myself as an actor. I basically learned how to stay happy. It's important for me to be happy working or I feel resentful. I don't like it. I hate myself. What I know now is that I really need to love the director. I need him to be a good parent. And then I will lie down on the train tracks for him and go to the ends of the earth for him.
Motherhood doesn't mean I don't have a creative side that I need to nourish. It doesn't mean I don't have independence from them. I'd be a crazy person if I didn't.
As time goes on, I will play characters who get older: I don't want to be some Botoxed weirdo.
[on her role as the child prostitute Iris in "Taxi Driver"] At first I didn't want to do the part, but only because I was afraid my friends would tease me afterward. I thought, "Wow, they've got to be kidding." It was a great part for Melanie Griffith, but I couldn't believe that they were offering it to me. I was a Disney girl.
[on her role as the child prostitute Iris in "Taxi Driver"] I played something completely different. But I knew the character I had to play--I grew up three blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard and saw prostitutes like Iris every day.
[on the making of "Taxi Driver"] There was a welfare worker on the set every day and she saw the daily rushes of all my scenes and made sure I wasn't on set when Robert De Niro said a dirty word.
[on the making of "Taxi Driver"] You rarely have a director like Martin Scorsese or a co-star like Robert De Niro, who rehearses and rehearses until you get the feeling that for the time you're with him he is the character. It's so real it's frightening.
[on "Taxi Driver"] I think it's one of the finest films that's ever been made in America. It's a statement about America. About violence. About loneliness. Anonymity. Some of the best works are those that have tried to imitate that kind of film, that kind of style. It's just a classic. I felt when I came home every day that I had really accomplished something.
[on backing Mel Gibson after his 2006 anti-Semitic comments while drunk to a cop he thought was Jewish] Is he an anti-Semite? Absolutely not. But it's no secret that he has always fought a terrible battle with alcoholism. [Mel] was a shining example of how low you can go when you are young and still pull yourself up. He took his recovery very seriously, which is why I know he is strong enough to get through this now.
[Criticizing the film adaptation of "Sin City"] That was so painfully cartoonish I was offended. I don't know how you enjoy or laugh about a child abduction and molestation. What part of that sentence is funny? I can't get beyond that. I don't know if everyone understands the impact of that movie's message.
When people are there to simply do a job they don't have any passion for, those are nearly always bad films.
[on independent films] Obviously, I've made a lot of independent movies and I ran an independent production company and produced a bunch of independent movies. I don't make as many indie movies as an actress 'cause I don't think I'm well suited for them. I don't know why. As an actress, I think I'm better in mainstream movies because I have a very linear storytelling way and sometimes that's kind of boring for indie movies. So I think I'm a better indie movie director and producer than I am an actress.
[Agreeing to work with the controversial Mel Gibson in "The Beaver"] I grew up with the idea that the movie business is a family. It's like the mob. You don't rat on your friends. Who you are in a business relationship is a reflection of who you are as an artist.
Mel [Gibson] and I work in the same way. We're people who focus intensely but for a short period of time. One minute he's standing there making a joke. And then, bam! He's in it. It's all about concentration. What do you need to concentrate.
I've reached that point where I don't want to act very much anymore. I am much more interested in holding off on acting, after 45 years as an actor. It's a long period of time to do the same thing.
[at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards] I hope that you're not disappointed that there won't be a big coming-out speech tonight, because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age.
[on Jennifer Lawrence] The good news is that Jen, her good-humoured, ballsy, free-spirited ego with the husky voice and a propensity for junk food - Jen, the spirited tomboy from Kentucky - that Jen's got it together. A hoot. A gem. A gem with a killer stare.
I think "destiny" is just a fancy word for a psychological pattern.
[on Richard Gere] A lot of actors think acting is a girl's job, but Richard finds something sensuous in acting.