Paul Giamatti Poster

Quotes (34)

  • Am I really cool? You're telling me I'm cool? Well, that's good to hear.
  • I'm not a guy who has a lot of, 'I want to work with so-and-so.' I'll take whatever work I can get.
  • Well, you know, when people say stuff about you, it's always really flattering. But does it mean anything to me? It's not really real to me; there's no reality to it.
  • You start to really lose perspective on the movie when the critical response is as weirdly, regressively unanimous as it is. I'm such a natural skeptic that I start thinking, 'Maybe it actually sucks.'
  • It'd be disingenuous to say I don't like attention - I'm an actor for God's sake - and it's flattering and all, but attention was never my big goal. I just like to work and have a good time. This whole business feels kind of intense, like a bad fit. Round peg, square hole. But whatever, I'll take it.
  • You are absolutely free to describe me as a turtle or something. Seriously. When you profile someone, there has to be a narrative, and my narrative just happens to be 'Who is he?', 'Oh, he's that guy' and 'He looks like a squid!' Sideways (2004) doesn't change that. Honestly, I never wanted to be more than a good supporting actor. Really, I enjoy it.
  • Generally, when I get offered these roles they're twisted or odd. It's never a straight-up romance. Like, the character can't speak or they turn out to be a serial killer.
  • I've always managed to find stuff to do that I enjoyed. But the offers have definitely gotten more interesting since Sideways (2004).
  • I'd rather be in something interesting that doesn't work than something that's a sure-fire thing but it's just kind of ... whatever.
  • I've got to be the geekiest guy in the world in a lot of ways. I'm like a zeta male.
  • Acting can be a really silly thing. It's like playing dress-up.
  • I don't consider myself a very interesting person. I have the mentality of a supporting actor.
  • (On getting into acting) "I guess I really started doing it in college and I mean clearly for every actor, there's that sort of applause which is nice and all that stuff. I could never decide what to do and as an actor I get to be so many different things so I never had to decide to do one thing, but be an actor and be all these different things. I used to put a lot of philosophical weight on it, and I thought it was going to be something that was going to kind of answer great questions of life, which of course it is not, particularly not acting, I really did have this sort of pretentious attitude about it, which has definitely changed, and I don't have that anymore. I guess your relationship to it always changes as you grow older, so now it feels like much more of a job to me, which it actually nice. I like that, Instead of feeling it was some sort of a mission I had."
  • (On working with Russell Crowe) "Super complicated guy, but really smart. I loved working with him and had more fun working with him than anybody I think I have ever worked with. I play his trainer, so everything I did was with him and I kind of loved him, even though there was a lot about him that I can't even begin to understand and he's a dangerously complicated guy! But from an acting point of view, if you walk in the room and start throwing stuff at him, he just loves it, because he seems to me like he is only really truly happy when he's acting".
  • (On doing theatre) "For a long time it was all I basically did. I regret not doing it as much these days, and I feel like in a lot of ways I've gotten kind of soft as an actor, not doing stage stuff. In terms of being a better actor, it's really important."
  • (On his career) "I wouldn't say that I'm aggressive in going out to find work and stuff like that. I just sort of..if something comes along, and it's something I like, and they want to hire me, I'll do it. I won't just do anything."
  • (On working with Woody Allen & filming Deconstructing Harry (1997)) "He doesn't even give you the script, he just gives you your scenes. On "Harry", I was working with Philip Bosco and we were in it a lot - that Screen Actors' Guild scale minimum payment he gives you sure mounts up after a while - and then we were cut right out of it".
  • (On working with Jim Carrey) "You can't do the goofy stuff he does without being a good actor. Exciting to work with, but hard. You gotta find a way to work with him. He's so frickin' intense all the time that you gotta get a break from it once in a while. Not that he's always 'on', he's just an intense guy. Everything is just burning away inside of him. I dunno how he gets through the day. Another really smart guy, too".
  • (On working with M. Night Shyamalan "I mean, he's definitely got his own thing going on. He's got his own way of shooting things, which is great for actors because he doesn't shoot the hell out of things. He's got a very definite visual vocabulary for stuff like that. He's got a real control over it because he writes it, but I found the biggest difference with him is that the crew and everyone else feel relaxed all the time. It's like he's the host of the big party all the time. I would work with him again because he's incredibly astute about making everybody feel important and part of the process".
  • (On supporting roles) "I think you're given more license to have fun, in a way. You're supposed to be more vivid, your job is to be more eccentric. I think I just like it better. There's something about working in a smaller space that I'm more temperamentally suited to."
  • I think one of the great things about acting is the instant gratification: you just get up and start being a part of the story. The immediacy is something you get really addicted to.
  • (On how he prepares for a part) "I usually just read the script a lot. And that's one thing I do, I just read the script over and over and over again. That helps me."
  • Growing up I didn't know where I was headed, except to the grave or maybe to the gutter. I went through wanting to do a lot of things, but acting wasn't one of them. I didn't really know what I was going to do until after my father died. Going into acting was as much a surprise to me as to anyone else, and I was even more surprised to find that I could make a living doing it.
  • I just sort of want to see how this movie thing plays out.
  • During his 2008 Emmy acceptance speech as Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie in John Adams (2008): I'm living proof, kids at home watching, that anybody can play the president.
  • [2009 - On watching himself on film] I definitely have a tendency to only see the blemishes of things, and see lots of things about my acting that I don't like. I think I've gotten a little easier on myself, or at least a little more usefully critical of myself. I think before, I just couldn't take looking at myself at all. I don't know. I'm happy people see something I don't see. I've very critical of myself, and film has been an adjustment for me. I'm glad; it's a challenge in some ways. Certainly not boring. But it's always been hard for me to feel like I get it, get how to act on film. I feel like I'm gradually getting it.
  • [on if filming movies in exotic locations is appealing to him] Big part of it for me, yeah. Always been a big part of it, going to some weird city. Now, actors get so familiarized with Eastern Europe. [Laughs.] I never imagined I'd get as familiar with Budapest and Prague and places like that in my life. But I definitely like that part of it.
  • [on filming The Last Station (2009) in Russia] It was great. I was only there for about 10 days. I wish I could have been there longer. But all the Russian actors - and there's a number of them in the movie - prepared us for it to be this terrifying sinkhole of vice and infamy and mobsters. Like we'd all end up in the trunk of a car, strangled with barbed wire. And it didn't end up being like that at all. They were really nice people. And it's nice shooting a movie in a place like that, because you really get to see the city in a way you wouldn't otherwise. You don't go to the touristy places. You go to the places where people are actually living. And in a city like that [St. Petersburg], it's pretty intense. People are living in pretty ghastly ways in parts of that city.
  • [on his role in Sideways (2004)] That was a hard part, and I've never felt like I actually got that part right. I always felt like I was too serious or something. I don't really know how to play jokes as jokes; it's easier for me to play all the comedy deadpan. I had a hard time doing that part. It's interesting to use the metaphor of the soul-storage thing. If I'm going to define myself as an actor in some way, I'm more of the outside-in kind of actor than the inside-out. It's often easier for me if I have an accent or an eye patch or something, you know? A funny walk - if I have no legs or something? Something like that is easier for me to hook on to. I didn't have that with that part, and I had to find my way into it. The wine stuff, actually, was what I started to use. The behaviorism's of that stuff. What do they call them? Oenophiles? That was sort of the "in" with that. So in some ways, yeah. I had to find the right soul for that guy, I guess. It wasn't an easy part. None of them are, but that one especially.
  • (2011, on going back to Yale from graduate theater program) Because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I thought that I could maybe have a stage career. So I wanted to train my voice. I wanted to get better at it, to whip myself into shape and get some technique. But I mostly thought I would do stage stuff.
  • (2011) As much as I say I didn't know if I was interested acting when I was younger, it was the most fun thing I remember doing, back to when I was a kid. I was in the school play every year and always looked forward to it as something that was fun to do. But it was just this thing I did. When I started making money, I decided to get serious about it.
  • (2011, on being stereotyped) After a while, a persona begins to accrete around you, whether you like it or not. People have a lot of associations with me playing unpleasant or difficult people. But I admit I'm more interested in playing the stranger characters...When I think about it, when I was a kid, I was always drawn to those characters. If I saw The Maltese Falcon (1941), I wanted to be Peter Lorre or Sydney Greenstreet, not Humphrey Bogart. There's something very interesting about the grotesque, something funny and vital in the idea of that kind of character. They always appealed to my imagination. It's more of an invitation to an actor to be eccentric and vivid.
  • (2009) I don't think I'm a guy who stays in character all the time, but there are definitely times when I feel I need to be a little more focused, so I'm not fucking around all the time off-camera. Other times, I feel like fucking around off-camera helps me stay looser and more up for what the thing is. So it's case-by-case. But I don't think I've ever walked around in character off-camera. No.
  • (2010, on Pretty Bird (2008)) I really liked this movie and I was disappointed that nothing happened with it...I really liked playing that part, I had a great time playing that part. It's one of my favorite parts I've played.