Christopher Lee Poster

Quotes (45)

  • I stopped appearing as Dracula in 1972 because in my opinion the presentation of the character had deteriorated to such an extent, particularly bringing him into the contemporary day and age, that it really no longer had any meaning.
  • Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff didn't like the word "horror". They, like I, went for the French description: "the theatre of the fantastique".
  • There are many vampires in the world today - you only have to think of the film business.
  • In Britain, any degree of success is met with envy and resentment.
  • (on his friendship with Peter Cushing) I don't want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again.
  • [on doing Military Intelligence in World War II] When people say to me, you know, were you in this? Were you in that? Did you work in this? Did you work in that? I always used to say "Can you keep a secret?". And they would say "Yes, yes" and I would say "So can I".
  • Some of the films I've been in I regret making. I got conned into making these pictures in almost every case by people who lied to me. Some years ago, I got a call from my producers saying that they were sending me a script and that five very distinguished American actors were also going to be in the film. Actors like José Ferrer, Dean Jagger and John Carradine. So I thought, "Well, that's alright by me." But it turned out it was a complete lie. Appropriately, the film was called End of the World (1977).
  • I've seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I've become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise, we would never have won.
  • When you're involved in a war it's the old saying "If your name's written on the bullet, there's nothing you can do about it." So you just banished it from your mind. Of course, I was scared on some occasions and anyone who says they aren't scared during an operation probably isn't telling the truth. I know about six people who had no fear. Literally none. Whether that was due to a lack of imagination or because they'd conquered it, I don't know. In fact, one was Iain Duncan Smith's father, who was one of my closest friends. But during a war, people are taught to kill and they have the blessings of the authorities to do so, so if it's your life or somebody else's, you want to be quite sure it's not yours.
  • [on the Rhapsody DVD documentary special edition of "The Dark Secret"] One should try anything he can in his career, except folkdance and incest.
  • [Criticizing Hollywood's obsession with youth] The problem today, and I think it's a very dangerous one for the people concerned, is that there are quite large numbers of very young men and women from 18 to 30, and they are playing very large parts in huge films and they simply, through no fault of their own, don't have the background and the experience and the knowledge to pull if off. And it's dangerous for them because if they are in one failure after another, sooner or later people are going to say, "Well, he may have a pretty face but he's not bringing the public in." So many of these good-looking - sometimes even pretty - boys and girls are getting these good roles and it's not fair on them. At some point, it's going to catch up.
  • In my opinion - and I think I know as much if not more about Bond than anyone, particularly about the characters on whom [Ian Fleming] told me Bond was based - Pierce Brosnan was by far the best and closest to the character.
  • I've always acknowledged my debt to Hammer. I've always said I'm very grateful to them. They gave me this great opportunity, made me a well-known face all over the world for which I am profoundly grateful.
  • (on the technology used to film Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)) The advances have been phenomenal. There is a monitor on the camera there that is static, a monitor on the crane, and all these monitors scattered all over the place. What he's seeing is what you will see when you see the movie.
  • I was once asked what I thought was the most disquieting thing you could see on the screen and I said, "An open door".
  • Acting is like a snowstorm or perhaps a large empty vacuum. I'm not deluded by the fact that I'm getting all these offers for work, I'm very happy about it, but I know also that there is the other side and who knows, next year, they may not offer me anything. You never know.
  • I think acting is a mixture of instinct, imagination and inventiveness. All you can learn as an actor is basic technique.
  • [on how he was cast as the monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)] I was asked to play the creature chiefly because of my size and height which had effectively kept me out of many pictures I might have appeared in during the preceding ten years. Most British stars flatly refused to have me anywhere near them in a film, because I was easily the tallest man around.
  • [on Peter Cushing] He really was the most gentle and generous of men. I have often said he died because he was too good for this world.
  • (on Vincent Price and Peter Cushing) They were both grand masters of their art but more importantly as human beings... wonderful people, wonderful actors and I miss them very very much.
  • Anthony Hopkins used to say, "I don't play villains, I play people," and it's a quote I use all the time. There's not much attractive about Hannibal Lecter though, although he's obviously charming and there's a side to him that's like Scaramanga (a Bond villain played by Lee), although far, far worse. He was quite stomach-churning.
  • (2003) I vote Conservative, and I think Michael Howard is the ideal person to lead the party. When the last election was won by Labour, I said to my wife, "The man we need is Michael Howard", and I've said it ever since. He is an honourable man and his power lies in the fact that he is a splendid debater. Ann Widdecombe's comment (that Howard had "something of the night" about him) is meaningless, as far as I'm concerned.
  • I will play no more monsters. Dracula is different; he is such an exciting person.
  • A real actor has to have an awful lot of imagination, and I do have a great deal.
  • You can never be a proper actor without good instincts.
  • I would rather have been an opera singer than anything else.
  • I prefer to watch the old movies. The film stars of today, in my opinion, don't compare with their predecessors. The best are very good, but the last giant of cinema, I think, was Bette Davis. One actor I admire, who could become a giant, is Johnny Depp. He has elements that other actors don't possess.
  • I think that - apart from the fields of science and medicine - we live in an age of decline. Look at the world. There is decline in morals, ideals, manners, respect, truthfulness: just about everything, in fact.
  • [on Johnny Depp's hints at retiring from acting] Johnny is a star - and that's not a term I ever use lightly. There are not a lot of them around today. It makes me sad that such a genuinely talented person is considering giving it all up.
  • [from an interview in 2011] Please don't describe me as a "horror legend". I moved on from that.
  • I hate being idle. As dear Boris [Boris Karloff] used to say, when I die I want to die with my boots on.
  • "Good" people... being persistently noble can become rather uninteresting. There is a dark side in all of us. And for us "bad" people, the bad side dominates. I think there is a great sadness in villains, and I have tried to put that across. We cannot stop ourselves doing what we are doing.
  • When the Second World War finished, I was 23 and already I had seen enough horror to last me a lifetime. I'd seen dreadful, dreadful things, without saying a word. Seeing horror depicted on film doesn't affect me much.
  • To be a legend, you've either got to be dead or excessively old.
  • Of course, you can be... disappointed at times. I've done movies which are remarkably horrid. I've been wildly miscast in others. I've given some truly lackluster performances in still others. But, it's all part of your training.
  • One day, I hope somebody will sum up my career thus: "He was different". That would satisfy me.
  • It doesn't bother me to be remembered as Dracula. Why should it? What does bother me is when people say, "Ah yes, there goes Dracula," or "There goes the horror king." It simply isn't true. I'm quite annoyed when people don't acknowledge that I've done anything else.
  • Such is the power of the screen that people are sometimes apt to confuse the public image with the private individual. When I meet people socially, I'm occasionally greeted with reactions along the lines of "You mean you read books? You enjoy music? You play golf?" It's very strange. People expect me to behave off-screen as I do on. Of course, they don't expect to find me slaughtering people in all directions, but, for instance, their reaction is "I don't believe it! You're an actor! You're not supposed to sing!" And most people expect me to behave in a certain way socially. Children are the shrewdest of my fans. No child has ever drawn back from me in real life. They sense that my roles are fairy tales, morality plays.
  • If you're playing a heroic character, it's very hard not to make him a total bore. But, with a villainous character, there are many, many levels in which you can present him. He can be amusing. He can be lonely. He can be mad, childish, naive, futuristic. You can't play heroes like that. It's impossible. You just can't imbue them with all those characteristics. But, when you toy with the dark side of the soul, imagination comes into the forefront. You can enjoy it more and, hence, communicate that joy to the audience.
  • [from a 1983 magazine interview] Quite frankly, I'm grateful to Dracula. If people today remember me in the role and still enjoy it, I'm flattered. If, through some strange twist of fate, I was able to take a character some 25 years ago and create an impact where by I suddenly became known throughout the world, how can I complain?
  • Most people find my villains memorable because I try to make them as unconventional as possible. They are not overt monsters. It's easy to play a "heavy" straight down the middle, 100%, but it's boring. I don't think I've ever played a villain who didn't have some unusual, humanizing trait. When I look back at my men with the black hats, they've always had something else going for them, whether it be a sardonic sense of humor or a feeling of desolation. I always try to throw as many curves the audience's way as possible. That's probably why people enjoy my villainy.
  • I try to describe acting as a combination of the three D's and the three I's. Discipline, dedication, devotion. Imagination, instinct, intelligence. Even if all my films haven't pleased everybody, I'd like people to realize that I've always given each film my all. I would like to think that I've shown integrity and dedication in every one of my roles. I always do my best and, you know, I really do love what I do.
  • Whenever I take a role, I try to find an element in the character which appeals to me and then go to work. Occasionally, you have doubts about how the finished film will look after it's been edited, but that's a chance you always take. I play every part for what it's worth - for its merits, no matter how big or small. What's that old cliché? "There are no small roles, only small actors." It's true.
  • People sometimes come up to me, and they say, "I've seen all your films, Mr. Lee," and I say, "Oh no, you haven't.".
  • Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.