Acting, for me, is the last vestige of doing something that I would like to feel really naive about. - Interview, November 1995.
[on the importance of rehearsal for "Thirteen"] : I mean, some movies I walk in, "Hi, nice to meet you", we get in bed and we do a love scene. And that does happen. That happened with me with Billy Crudup on "Jesus' Son". Actors talk about that a lot, but it's not uncommon. And we could not have done "Thirteen" that way. It would not have worked.
I always feel that I am the advocate for my character. More than anyone else on the set, including the director. I'm there to protect my character, in a way.
I often get asked to direct and I've never taken anyone up on it. It would be very interesting and I would learn so much. But it's a very confrontational job - I mean, directors are forced to confront themselves, and I don't think there's really a way to prepare for the pressure of directing. And I have seen quite a few good people crash and burn at the job. Nervous breakdowns, crying, screaming fits - people buckle, so it's always scared me. But it's intriguing.
It just seems that abortion rights never ceases to be a hot topic. It's a shame. It feels to me an anachronism. I mean, why are we still talking about this? Why is this not just a woman's right, period? I find it boring and very frustrating that it remains such a high profile subject.
Actors do movies because you want to make a connection, you want an audience to recognise themselves in what it is that you're depicting. The portrait, you want it to be a reflection of some aspect of humanity that people understand, that they see in their own lives. And so, when a movie makes a connection like that, there's simply nothing better. And in some ways, an Academy Award does validate that actual hook-up.
I was trying to get as much experience as I could. But very early on, I was always extremely particular. From the beginning, I was never desperate. I did other things for money; you know, the normal, boring stuff - I temped, I did waitressing. But I actually quit a play early on in my career - it was one of the first things that I ever got cast in, but I quit because there was something about it that I didn't like. I didn't think the director was the right guy to be directing it. So I've never felt that every situation was great for me and therefore I would have to stay. To me, being creative is a very fragile thing, the environment in which one can create is a very particular one, and somehow I've always felt the need to be very protective of that.
[on how her career as an actress began] : ....Joel and Ethan (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen) had just finished the script of "Raising Arizona", and they asked me to read it and said that they'd written this part for me and would I be interested in doing it? So that was the beginning of my feature film career.
I'm just always looking for the best stuff. And also, there are things I want to do that I can't get - they want someone else. Often, in the movie business, they need somebody who will garner box office because they need to pay for the movie. So the people who are in movies that make a lot of money are the people who most often get cast in studio pictures. In my career, I've never been a box office name. Granted, a couple of my movies have made a lot of money but I'd do other movies which make very little money or they're not seen that much.
Actors are beggars and gypsies, that's just the way it is. And in many ways, I take what I can get. But I do search high and low for stuff that interests me.
Well, I think that an Academy Award has a certain kind of business shelf life. People have different speculations but definitely for a couple of years, your price is raised and there are more plentiful offers. Which only makes sense - it is a business. And the Academy Awards is a business, it enhances everything when you win one. But I think the most significant thing for me was, one, it was presented to me by Al Pacino, which I just loved. And two, that it was given to me for a role and an experience that I felt was a profound influence in my life. I know this because I was nominated for "The Firm" that same year and I don't feel the same way about "The Firm" that I do about "The Piano". So if I'd won for "The Firm" it would have been a whole different deal for me. I never actually saw "The Firm", so for me it would have been like... [grimaces]
I get cold really quickly, but I don't care. I like weather. I never understand why people move someplace so that they can avoid weather.
I've never directed, but it must be humbling.
I really admire people who are extraordinarily tolerant and patient.
Mothers and daughters can stay very connected during teenage years. In the middle of your life, you can become very alone. Even though you're connected deeply to other family members, lovers, husbands, friends.
I think it's really odd, too, that the public is so privy to how much money the actors make and what movies cost. It seems to me to be beside the point. When I go to a movie I really don't want to think about the money. I want to see the story.