• I could never play the ingenue, the girl next door or the very successful young doctor. That would be a bore.
  • [on her best friend, Phoebe Cates] Your best friend is the only one who would tell you the person you are in love with is a sexually ambivalent man-child.
  • I just don't plan things. I live a month at a time.
  • I'm a typical middle child. I'm the mediator. The one that makes everything OK, puts their own needs aside to make sure everybody's happy. It's hard to change your nature, even with years and years of therapy.
  • I like a movie that the audience actively has to participate in, and not just casually observe. Whatever my part in it, just as an audience member, I find that exciting.
  • People can have so many ill-conceived ideas about me based on the parts that I play. I've had guys, when I've been single, come out of the woodwork to date me and I've found out very quickly that they were expecting some kind of whirlwind, some dramatic crazy person - and that's just not me.
  • I'd much rather be in a movie that people have really strong feelings about than one that makes a hundred million dollars but you can't remember because it's just like all the others.
  • When I did Short Cuts (1993) with Robert Altman, I went up to him on the first day and said 'Hi', and he said 'Hi, how are you? Could you get me a cup of coffee?' When I brought it back, it turned out he thought I was the PA. For him, I come alive on film. As a person, I don't really register that much. I mean, he loves me, I don't take it as a cut, although you could. But he says that as a person I disappear in a way. On film, I'm very mysterious, but in life I'm very dull. I don't feel like I'm dull, but I don't put out a lot.
  • But in mainstream movies the woman's role is mostly just to prove that the leading man is heterosexual. I'm not good at that, and I'm not interested in that.
  • I like the comparison to Johnny Depp because with him, the way he transforms himself from role to role, he's just this miraculous changeling and people really get behind it. But with me, people sometimes have a problem.
  • I think I live in this mythical world where doing the parts I do is not going to hurt me, and telling people my age is not going to hurt me. And it actually does. It's a bit sick-making but, you know, I can't change who I am.
  • [1992, on Backdraft (1991)] Ron Howard was incredibly generous and patient with me. He pursued me with this role. And I failed him. Everybody had been telling me for so long that I should stop playing women who go through grueling experiences, but there was no place for me in that character. It taught me that I can't take a role I don't really connect with.
  • When my first movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), turned out to be this big hit, I was so innocent, I thought: all movies are hits. It took a couple of years to figure out that almost every movie I made after that didn't make money. Some of them haven't made money because they're not very good movies. It's not like I look at a project and go, 'Oh, this is going to be a box-office bomb. I want it!'
  • [1992, on Miami Blues (1990)] Working with Alec (Baldwin) was like being on a roller coaster. He's thrilling, incredibly funny, completely free, unashamed, trustful. It was one of those rare experiences where you really believe your fellow actor is the character he's playing. We didn't screw, of course, but our love scenes felt alive.
  • [1982: on the death of her father, actor Vic Morrow] I always hoped we could work together and, through that, resolve whatever needed to be resolved between us. Now that chance is lost. That's the real tragedy.
  • I remember I once went to a nutritionist who said I come from good Russian- Jewish peasant stock, which means I can hold a potato in my body for a week, if need be.
  • So much of the joy of seeing Quentin [Tarantino]'s movies is just how explosively imaginative they are, and how you don't really know where things are going, and you don't really know who's who and what's what and what the truth is.
  • I think I am talented -- but I also think I'm very lucky.