• I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone.
  • I should get a few ribs taken out, because I'll be in a corset for the rest of my life.
  • [on breast-feeding her baby]: People say, "You're still breast-feeding, that's so generous". Generous, no! It gives me boobs and it takes my thighs away! It's sort of like natural liposuction. I'd carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could.
  • He's very cool. Whatever Johnny does, there's something cool about it. He's very hip. It's emotional and vulnerable, too, which makes it touching. [on her friend and colleague Johnny Depp]
  • I'm drawn to emotionally damaged characters because there is more to unlock.
  • [on being awarded the CBE] I am thrilled though not sure that I deserve it. I always thought my father deserved a medal for facing 25 years of chronic disability with quiet daily heroism so I am delighted to accept such a wonderful honor in his memory.
  • [on witnessing your completed performance] You think you've transformed and then you see the bloody thing and you go, 'It's so me'. You think you've taken a holiday away from yourself and of course you haven't traveled an inch. It's painful, it's absolutely painful. But I've gotten better at recognizing those feelings and not getting involved in them. The first time you see your own film you want to slit your wrists.
  • [on playing Elizabeth Taylor] Elizabeth was about dress-up. She loved her jewels. There's part of her that didn't grow up much. I love people who are still in touch with delight. I got to wear the jewels. The problem about it was that they weren't real. I did insist on having friends of mine do the wigs and the makeup because I didn't want to look like a man in drag.
  • [on playing opposite Dominic West as Richard Burton] He was so good. You really have to suspend your disbelief as an actor. They always talk about suspension of disbelief for the audience. How are you going to go, "Am I really Elizabeth Taylor?" Who gives a fuck? If the person opposite you is doing such a good job as Burton, then you go, yeah I can do Elizabeth Taylor. It was like holding someone's hand and jumping off a cliff. We were terrified and both thought it could be a stupid decision. But it was really fun. She still hasn't gone. The voice comes back and it drives my family up the wall. It's the drawwwwwl. Sometimes I'm like, 'Am I channelling Elizabeth or Rufus Wainwright?'
  • Very early on you figure out that you put your self-esteem in the hands of strangers. There's a different commodity. There's the Helena Bonham Carter that everyone thinks they know, who really has nothing to do with me. But you just have to let that go.
  • [on undertaking the role of Elizabeth Taylor] My mother said, 'Don't do it. You're trespassing on other people's dreams'. And I said, 'Well, I know mom but the script's so good'. Good writing is very rare. And there are so many facets to her, that I couldn't say no to her personality. There was a hell of a lot to it. I had a massive file. Tim Burton was like, 'Jesus, it looks as if you're writing a book. I said, 'Well, I have a lot of responsibility'. I read so many books, I'm sure I could pass an exam on her.
  • [on Johnny Depp] You know, the man's overstuffed with talent in every direction.
  • Everyone always says you have to be strong and have a stiff upper lip, but it's okay to be fragile.
  • You've got to take very small steps, and sometimes you won't know where to go next because you've lost yourself. There's a great quote I've stuck next to the kettle. It's from Alice [in Wonderland] : 'I can't explain myself ... because I'm not myself'.
  • It's completely absurd that because we have boobs we're not treated the same as someone with a penis.