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"One of the most painful things of the L.A. Confidential (1997) character I played was that the author, James Ellroy, kept telling me that Bud White wasn't a drinker. I said, 'come on, this is 1953. He's a blue-collar bloke, a cop. You're telling me he doesn't sit around with the boys after his shift and have a beer?' And Ellroy says, 'absolutely not'. So for five months and seven days, I didn't have a drink. It's probably the most painful period of my life".


(on winning the Best Actor Oscar) "If you grow up in the suburbs of anywhere, a dream like this seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unattainable. But this moment is directly connected to those imaginings. And for anybody who's on the downside of advantage, and relying purely on courage, it's possible."


"It's not really what I'd call a movie. I was stunned that Miramax wanted to buy it. I mean it's really rude. It showed me in a really bad light. It's also shoddily made. It's cobbled together." -- expressing surprise that a low-budget documentary of his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, has been picked up for worldwide distribution.


I'd move to Los Angeles if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed up by a huge tidal wave, if there was a bubonic plague in Europe, and if the continent of Africa disappeared from some Martian attack.


"I felt this tap on my shoulder and I turned around and, you know that De Niro fellow? Well, he didn't say a word. He didn't say 'Hello', 'Good evening' or anything or 'Hi, I'm Robert'. He just looked at me and he nodded his head and he smiled. And he walked off." - About meeting Robert De Niro.


You don't have to like an actor to do a scene with him. You don't have to like a director. But it's just better if you do. And I think, you know, you've got to begin that with respect.


All that stuff, this public persona of me - let's call him 'the wild man' - that is not helpful. It doesn't make me more of a box office draw. It's the quality of my work that makes people want to go to my films.


I always say I've given 24 insufficient performances and I'm looking forward to the time in my life when I'll do something that I think is good. There's always stuff you can do better, stuff that maybe you didn't uncover enough. But if you do something that you truly believe is perfect, then that's got to be the last movie you do.


I'd like to play passionate women, but no one will let me.


If there's anything about someone's life that's important enough to make a movie about it, I have to take responsibility to get all of it right. It's a huge responsibility.


I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford. And on one level, people go, 'Well, more fault to you, mate, because there's free money to be handed out.' But to me it's kind of sacrilegious - it's a complete contradiction of the f**king social contract you have with your audience. I mean, Robert De Niro's advertising "American Express". Gee whiz, it's not the first time he's disappointed me. It's been happening for a while now.


Dani was three weeks early last time, she gave birth just a few days after she was chased down the street by four photographers. Nobody cares, particularly the photographers, nobody cares to focus on what that is. She was just walking down the street with her girlfriend and they rushed her - four of them all surrounded her. So she panicked and slipped and all this sort of stuff. If I'd been there that would have been a really serious situation. I tell you right now, they will be tarred and feathered if they hassle my pregnant wife again.


"Well if what I've heard about it is fair dinkum that he spent $25 million making a movie that's shot in Aramaic and Latin and he's intending to release it without subtitles, I think he's got to get off the glue. What's the point of making a movie where people can't understand what's going on? I don't understand that. If you want it for reality or whatever, I think, 'Wow, what an amazing idea,' but also what a waste of time if nobody can get what the point is. Well, if we know the story, if we know it that well, why did he bother making it again? Mr Gibson, get off the glue!" - On The Passion of the Christ (2004)


I'm a virtuoso in my job in that there's not an actor I can't go into a scene with and be absolutely confident that, whatever is required of my character, I can do it.


I just didn't want to work on that movie in the type of environment that was being created because of the needs of the budget. I do charity work, but I don't do charity work for major studios.


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