Judi Dench Poster

Quotes (28)

  • [on her long marriage to Michael Williams] We were just happy to be in the same room together.
  • My only regret is that I didn't have more children.
  • [in 1994, when asked why A Room with a View (1985) was such a success] I've never seen it, so I don't know. Florence was lovely, of course, and it's a wonderful love story. I did enjoy doing the part, because Maggie Smith and I were old friends from 1958. We both arrived in Florence on the same day and neither of us had any family with us, so we would spend all day together filming and then go out to dinner together, catching up on our Old Vic days. But I didn't enjoy working with James Ivory. I didn't feel that I was on his wavelength and I didn't feel that he wanted me in the film, I have to say that. I remember doing that scene in the middle of the square where she goes mad and attacks the man selling postcards; James went to see the rushes and told me afterwards that everyone had laughed at it, they'd thought it was very funny. "Well done", he said to me. I thought perhaps we'd turned the corner but, when I came to post-sync the film, that scene was missing. When I asked why, he told me that Helena Bonham Carter hadn't been feeling up to it that day, so he'd cut the whole sequence. I don't know if that was the real reason he cut it - I just don't know.
  • I hate how people have been attacking Daniel Craig. It's despicable and it disgusts me. I have filmed with him in Prague and the Bahamas and he is a fine actor. He brings something new and edgy to the role. His critics will be proved wrong.
  • And then it was working with Bob Hoskins, who I had never worked with before - except radio. It was like being given a wonderful meal - full of the things you love most.
  • I don't like reading scripts very much. I like it better for someone to just explain to me what it is about this story.
  • I don't think anybody can be told how to act. I think you can give advice. But you have to find your own way through it.
  • The best moment of playing [William Shakespeare's] Juliet is the nanosecond when they offer you the part.
  • On plastic surgery: I've considered it, but I'm too old now. Every time I go to America I wonder if there is some process where it could all be sucked out and I could be out of there in time for dinner, but I'm frightened it would all drop off under the anaesthetic.
  • Of course I have a temper. Who hasn't? And the older I get the more angry I get about things. It's not sudden anger, it smoulders and then if I really let it go on for a bit the shit hits the fan. I get very angry about general injustice. I get angry about the way people say 'Tomorrow X will make a speech about X'. Just let them say it. I get furious about the whole business of not allowing conkers in school, and banning things because they are supposedly dangerous. I am riveted by the current Iraq inquiry, though angry already because I feel it will end with a report and nobody's actually going to be arraigned for what happened.
  • [Celebrity culture has led to a "quick fix" mentality on the part of younger actors.] They think a big part will change their life, without any back-up. Young actors go into a run and don't do all the performances. That would have been unheard of at one time. I know I can sustain a run because of my training.
  • I mourn that there are so many repertory companies that aren't around any more. I don't want the arts to take the form of a reality programme. I heard somebody say the other day that it is good if people can bring drink and food into a theatre and get up and go if they don't like the play. Well, yes, go out if you don't like it, but where do you draw the line? They tell people not to take pictures of us on stage but when you look up you see 100 red lights twinkling at you.
  • When you go abroad people always talk with such love about British theatre, but the irony is it's not appreciated by the Government as it should be. The state of the arts has always been, and will always be, precarious. But there is something so alarming about the huge cuts made to companies, particularly when you read of the astronomical amounts some people are earning.
  • [Does she feel fulfilled?] No, no, no, no, I hope not. Being fulfilled is closing the drawer again and I don't want to do that just yet. I'd bore myself silly. I wouldn't learn anything new. I'd just sit around and I hate wasting time. I hate waste of any kind. I love quiz programmes. I am riveted by The Weakest Link (2000) but I'd be too terrified to appear on it.
  • [Could she find love with anyone else?] It's not something that's ever happened. I've loved living in the same house, in the same grounds with my family. Sammy (grandson) was 4 when Michael died and he does look extraordinarily like him sometimes.
  • [Does she miss Michael Williams?] You bet. I don't expect you ever get over that. Time changes something, I suppose, but you miss the basic things. Michael was a realist, down to earth, a Lancashire man. I'm a Yorkshire woman and so that was pretty volatile, I suppose. He was Cancerian, I'm Sagittarian. He would say: 'I'm always rushing for the dark, you're always rushing for the light. If we hold in the middle, there's a kind of balance'.
  • Once, a long time ago, I read some bad reviews and I made the decision not to read the reviews. You get some critics who don't like you, or the play. But they don't have to do it every night. I don't want to be affected like that. I loved doing "Madame de Sade. A friend told me not to apologise for myself or the play, and I won't. Then I cast it all off and go and put my feet up under the chimney with my family
  • [on ageing.] I don't like it at all. Suddenly I get up out of a chair and can't rush across the room. But there's nothing I can do about that, alas. My energy levels are OK, but I can't see very well. People have to come up and wave at me. If a restaurant is too dark I can end up talking to the backs of chairs.
  • The passion doesn't lessen over time but you get more anxious. You always worry about getting employed. But I love what I do ... You're only as good as the last thing you did. But that anxiety feeds what you're doing. It gives you energy. It's very much part of me. You know that right behind you, stretching back as far as you can see, are other people wanting to play the same part and probably better than you.
  • I'd never met [Sophia Loren] and she arrived on set just as I was about to perform my number. She sat and watched. I said to Rob Marshall: 'I can't have ever been more frightened than at this moment.' It was like someone had given me an enormous injection. I suddenly had to be on the ball.
  • I am very un-divaish. Very rarely in 52 years in the business have I met anyone who has behaved in a selfish way.
  • I had no film career until Mrs Brown (1997), which Harvey Weinstein oversaw. He gave a lunch for me at the time and I told him I had his name tattooed on my bum. I hadn't, I had my make-up lady design something that I showed him. He's never forgotten it.
  • I'm more comfortable on stage, where there is an audience to tell a story to, as opposed to a film set where you are not in charge at all. On stage you can hear an audience's reactions. Within two minutes of a play starting you know how the evening will go. On film you're more reliant on the director. The moment he leaves you, you're like a child learning to walk.
  • National treasure? I hate that. Too dusty, too in a cupboard, too behind glass, too staid. I don't want to be thought of as recognisable - I always want to do the most different thing I can think of next. I don't want to be known for one thing, or as having done huge amounts of Shakespeare and the classics. I hate speaking as myself. I could never do a one-woman show. But I love being part of a company. On stage I am not trying to be myself, I'm trying to be someone else, the more unlike me the better. I remember someone who saw me in Juno and the Paycock said I was completely unrecognisable. How marvellous. I've done two sitcoms, lots of films. Look at my character [an obsessive, damaged stalker] in Notes on a Scandal (2006). You wouldn't want to ask her around.
  • I'm always fearful. Fear in you generates a huge energy. You can use it. When I feel that mounting fear, I think, 'Oh yes, there it is'. It's like petrol.
  • You should take your job seriously but not yourself. That is the best combination.
  • Celebrate the things you can do and also try to do new things.
  • [on being called a "national treasure"] I hate that. It's not just tedious. It's some old rock in a cupboard that the glass is shut on and nobody gets it out to dust it. I loathe it. I just want to be called a joker. A jobbing actor. Somebody who has a laugh.