Pam Grier Poster

Quotes (6)

  • [1/7/06, interview in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution"] I can't talk about myself. I just can't. I know I've influenced people, and I'm proud of that. But as I see it, I really haven't done anything. I haven't saved anybody from a burning building. Foxy Brown actually approached me at the start of her career to ask if she could use the name. I told her, "You didn't need to ask". If you're an independent woman, every woman is Foxy Brown.
  • Film and television is the bulk of my work. I get my personal fulfillment from theater; plays are where you can take chances and really work with the moment. Movies and TV just aren't like that.
  • People see me as a strong black figure, and I'm proud of that, but I'm a mix of several races: Hispanic, Chinese, Filipino. My dad was black, and my mom was Cheyenne Indian. So you look at things beyond just race, or even religion: I was raised Catholic, baptized a Methodist, and almost married a Muslim.
  • (On the emotional back-story of how she landed Mars Attacks! (1996)) I was familiar with the comic book, and Tim Burton had called me to audition, but one of my dogs was dying of cancer, so I wasn't in the frame of mind to audition to do that role. So I said, "I can't," and I turned down Tim Burton. And I remember one of my dearest friends who I knew before he became an actor - Michael Keaton, who was in Beetlejuice (1988) and should've won an Oscar for that role, he was so brilliant - I told him that I'd turned Tim down. I said, "I'm just not ready to read, because one of my dogs, one of my family members, is very ill. I just can't do it. So I passed." But they called back again, and they said, "Well, would you put something on camera?" And I said, "No, because what I'll put on camera is sadness, and I'm not ready to do that right now." I'm one of those people who can afford to say "no." Even to Tim Burton, as badly as I wanted to work with him because of Beetlejuice. And he related. He respected that. And then they called back again...and they said, "Well, you've just auditioned. Because in the story, she's a mom who protects her children. Even under the worst situations, she won't leave her children. She's a true mom." And I wouldn't leave my dog, not for anybody - including Tim Burton - or for a huge salary or to work with Jack Nicholson or Glenn Close or the rest of the stellar cast of that film. So he said, "You passed the audition. You wouldn't leave your family for me, so you've got it. And we'll shoot around you. We'll wait, and you let us know when the time is right, when you're ready to shoot." And I said, "Thank you, but it could be awhile. I don't know. But I'm not leaving his side, because I had cancer, and he was with me." But they waited. They shot around me until I was ready to say, "Okay, he's passed on. He let me go." And Tim and I have been great friends ever since...because I said "no." Sometimes you just have to say "no." But once I was in it, it was such a joy working in those scenes, and with Ray Jay and Brandon. And it was great to work with James Brown. We had scenes, too. It's amazing when you work on films of such stellar directors, you know the budgets are gonna be incredible and the sets are gonna be incredible. There's no expense spared. It's just gonna be fabulous. When you work with directors like that, on that level, you go, "Oh, my God, just enjoy it!" Because you know it's just going to be a superb experience. And not only did I learn a lot about myself, but I learned that I want to work with Tim Burton in anything. He's just a very special person.
  • When I was a young girl, I never thought of acting. I never thought of television, of fans, movie stars, signing autographs. It never crossed my mind.
  • You know, I had to bump heads with a lot of men in the industry. They were not comfortable with showing a progressive black female in an action role. As a strong woman, I was seen as a threat. There was a fear that women would mimic me in real life. I remember certain people saying: "Oh, she's taking our jobs, she's castrating men" -- as far as I was concerned, I thought: "We don't need to walk behind you, we should walk beside you."