Alfred Molina Poster

Quotes (14)

  • When you're kind of my size and look the way I do, leading man romantic leads aren't going to come your way.
  • The worst thing that an actor can do is go into any project with a lack of respect for the material. You can have an opinion about it, but you have to respect yourself in doing it.
  • Music is an essential part of my life and I'm completely lost without a good album to listen to or my iPod in my pocket! I love world music, and am always on the lookout for new sounds from Africa - "The Best of Ethiopiques" is one of my current favorites. Then there's Brazil, Cuba, the East. I should also admit that my Italian roots come out in my love for melodic music. My mother made me listen to a lot of the pop stars from the 1950s and 1960s, like Rita Pavone, Claudio Villa, Gino Paoli and I love Luigi Tenco.
  • I love theater work because of the immediate effect your performance has on the audience. And I love the repetition, I love getting on the same stage for more than a month and reciting the same lines, trying to make a small or large step towards an improvement in my acting. That's obviously impossible when you watch your movie on the screen - at that point it's all over, too late.
  • There are many actors who have inspired me: Spencer Tracy for his incredible elegance and, of course, Cary Grant. But, there's also an Italian actor I admire a great deal: Alberto Sordi.
  • I think it's just with anyone, with any character, you have to believe in what you're saying in the same way that he does. I always use the example that the actor playing Sister Mary Teresa has exactly the same responsibility as the actor playing Adolf Hitler. The responsibility is to represent those people as accurately as you can, regardless of whether they're good or bad, evil or saintly. Regardless of what they're like, you have to represent them. You can't misrepresent them. You can't suddenly decide, 'You know what? I'm playing Mussolini but I'm going to give him an Irish accent because I think that works better for some of the dialogue.' You can't do that kind of thing. But when you're playing a character that's fictitious, really what they're paying you for is to be as imaginative as you can.
  • (On frequently playing foreigners) I'm very proud of the fact that I can play all these different nationalities. I've done it with varying degrees of success, but at least with the best of intentions. I think at some point you run the danger of becoming everyone's favorite foreigner.
  • The way I was raised was very interesting and diverse. Both my parents tried very hard to keep the old ways alive. My parents taught me how to speak Spanish and Italian. My grip on the languages is somewhat less than perfect, but my Spanish is pretty good because I use it every day, especially when I'm back home in Los Angeles. I have a great love for the culture in terms of the history, the music, the food, the art, and the great social, scientific, and cultural advances that have emanated from both those countries. I am very aware of the contributions we have all made to the general well being of the world. I'm really proud of it because my parents - although they were very happy to be living in England [because] it gave them a means to survive and work and have a pretty decent life - didn't bury themselves. They celebrated where they came from and what it gave them.
  • (2004 - On his favorite roles to date) There are a few that I've always been particularly proud of - Not Without My Daughter (1991) and Enchanted April (1991). At the time, they were parts that were so far away from me, from what I was, from what I am. I saw them as a challenge. In Not Without My Daughter (1991), I played an Iranian doctor who takes his family back to Iran and converts to a much more fundamental form of Islam. He basically kidnaps his family. That's pretty far away from what I am. So you kind of try to do things that challenge you.
  • I always look for something that is as different and as diametrically opposed to what I did last time. I try to make each job as different as I can from the last job. And that's really my only criteria. I don't have a particular game plan. You pay a price for that in certain ways. That level of variety tends to mean that you'll always be second or third lead. That's fine because it means that you've got a much wider range of parts available.
  • I've always prided myself in being able to sniff out a really bad script. But I haven't always been 'on the know' when it comes to choosing a really, really good script. We all make mistakes, but you develop an eye for certain things. As you get older and more experienced - and I've been acting now for over 30 years - it doesn't always help you to become more discerning about what's a good or a bad script. But certainly you get a better idea of what suits you or what you think is within your capabilities. I mean, if someone sent me the part of a 30-year-old romantic lead I'd have to say, 'I'm sorry, and that's very sweet of you, but let me play his dad.'
  • (On his ability to play characters with different accents) I have always enjoyed working with different accents. It's become sort of a trademark of mine. It's not because of any special skills; it's a happy accident of nature and nurture that I am able to do it. My parents were immigrants to England, and I grew up in a working-class neighborhood in London that was full of other immigrant families from all over Europe, the West Indies, Africa. When I went to school, all the kids were first-generation born in England. So all the parents spoke English with very heavy accents, if they spoke English at all. So I kind of grew up in this whole environment where I heard all these different rhythms and accents. I think I just soaked it up unconsciously, and when I became an actor I had it all there stowed away.
  • I love being added to that list of English actors playing villains. I guess somewhere in the history of American film and television someone decided that the English accent sounded somehow villainous.
  • [on Prick Up Your Ears (1987)] The actual experience of making the film is very vivid in my memory, because it was my first proper leading role in a film. It was, at the time, a groundbreaking movie. [Director] Stephen Frears had made My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) I think the year before, which touched on a gay love story. It's easy to forget that was really pushing the envelope back then, as was "Prick Up Your Ears." I knew we were making something special, something very different. (...) I think Stephen was always going to be the director, but the very first manifestation of the film was going to have Ian McKellen playing Halliwell and a British actor called Keith Allen was in the frame to play Joe. The embodiment of the film lost its funding. By the time they had regrouped and had their money together, Ian had moved on to something else and so had Keith. Then Gary [Gary Oldman] was being considered and I just got a call saying Stephen Frears wants to meet you to look at this role, and I was absolutely thrilled. I went to his home and Alan Bennett, the writer, was there, and it was the most relaxed interview I'd ever had for a job, because we barely talked about the job. We spent a good hour just talking about everything but the movie. We talked about other films, London in the '60's. It was just a very nice afternoon over a little chicken salad. I went home and two days later I was told if I wanted it, it was mine. It was a bit dreamlike. [2017]