Johnny Depp

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John Christopher Depp II, widely known as Johnny Depp (born June 9, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky), is an American actor.

On Aging

  • In your teens and your 20s, you're immortal, you're untouchable. It's only later that you begin to realize you are mortal. (2004)
  • It’s amazing when you get to a certain age, and you talk about sleep in the same way you spoke about inebriates 20 or 25 years before. ‘Man, I got eight hours last night - it was fantastic.’ Happily, I haven’t found golf yet, but I’m sure that’s just around the corner. (2004)
  • Growing old is unavoidable, but never growing up is possible. I believe you can retain certain things from your childhood if you protect them - certain traits, certain places where you don't let the world go. (2004)

On America

  • "I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it. It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful." (2003)
  • I would never be disrespectful to my country, to the people, especially the kids who are over there serving in the armed forces. My uncle was wounded in Vietnam, paralyzed from the neck down. I would never say those things the way they claim I said them. (2004)
  • I essentially said the United States is a very young country compared with Europe. We're still growing. That's it. I wouldn't say anything anti-American. I'm an American, and I love my country. (2004)
  • I would never insult the American people. I used the metaphor of a puppy dog, but I never said ignorant puppy dog. I said it’s a very young country compared to old Europe, or Asia. It was misinterpreted. I was talking about the government, and especially the current administration. Never about the troops, even if I was not particularly enthusiastic about going to Iraq or whatever. I love my country. But fuck, if want to say that I don’t agree with the president’s choices or words or intentions, so what? Even if I had said what they printed - which I didn’t - what’s the big deal? Some actor blurts out this thing - who gives a shit? He’s an actor! (2004)
  • I called them, three or four people, and I said, ‘It’s very easy for a publication to print whatever they want to print as a representation of me, but it’s not me. If you would allow me just a moment to represent myself ... if you still feel like I’m a shithead or a schmuck afterwards, then fine. But at least hear me out.’ These were heavy, right-wing, military people: one was a cop ... one had a nephew who’d been wounded in Iraq. I told them, ‘What was printed was ugly, but this is what I meant...' And each one of them said, ‘I understand.” [response to hate mail and calls he received following the Stern article] (2004)

On Arrests

The Mark Hotel Incident:

  • I thought it was funny - I had to go to jail for assaulting a picture frame or a lamp! (1995)
  • The rags said, 'Well, he was drunk and he was having a huge fight with his girlfriend.' Complete bullshit! But, you know, let's say the guy over here in the bar, he's having a hard day, man, and eventually - one more stubbing of the toe - the guy's gotta hit something. So you punch a wall or do this and that. Fuck it, I'm normal and I want to be normal. But somehow I'm just not allowed to be. Why can't I be human? (1995)
  • It was a bad day. It was just feeling on display, feeling like a novelty, really. And it was being around people who only talked about the work and the money and you just think, Fuck you. Fuck you. And then you walk into this hotel you've never been at, that someone's booked you in, and you go, Blaaaagghh - I can't stand it anymore, man. I hate it! I would have been much better off in a barn with a bottle of wine and some hay. There was a part of me that was just like, Fuck it. I don't want to be stared at, I don't want to be poked at, I don't want to be prodded. You just want to live simply and not be fucked with. So it just mounted and mounted and I socked a vase or something. It felt good, felt right. It just seemed like the right thing to do, smash a couple of things. And it was. (2003)
  • The owner approached my publicist about two years after the incident and thanked her. Said, 'It was so great for us that Johnny got arrested at our hotel and sent to jail. You can't imagine the business we got out of it.' (2003)
  • Very simply, I had a bad day. I'd been chased by paparazzi and was feeling a little bit like Novelty Boy. Obviously something wasn't working in my life… So it built up, and I lost it. It was the culmination of many things, a bad spark, and I went off. I did what I felt was necessary. Thank God it wasn't a human being but a hotel room that I took it out on. It was a weird incident. There was a hotel security guard who was really kind of pissy and arrogant. I wanted to pop him. But I knew that if I did it. I did my business, and they came up to the room. By that point I had cooled down. I said, I'll of course pay for any damages. I apologize. That wasn't enough. The guy got snooty and shitty. The next thing you know, the police were at the door. As dumb as the incident was, I don't have any regrets about it. I don't think it merited the amount of press it got, and I certainly don't think that I needed to go to the Tombs in New York City in handcuffs. I was in three different jails that night. But it was all part of my education, you know? (2004)

The Paparazzi Incident:

  • We were at a restaurant, and Vanessa was extremely pregnant. All they wanted were photographs of me and Vanessa and the belly. At that point I thought, 'Man, I'm not one of those whiny actors who says, 'Oh, the paparazzi, they wont leave me alone.' I could give a fuck about it. However, on this particular night I just decided, Look, this is my girl. This is our first baby. I'm not going to let you fucking people turn this into a circus. You ain't turning this deeply, profoundly beautiful, spiritual, life-changing experience into a novelty. Not without a fight. I went out and talked to them. I said, 'Look, guys, I know what you're after. I understand you have a job to do. But you're just not going to turn this into a circus. Just give us a break. You're not going to get what you want tonight. I'll see you another time.' They were very aggressive: 'Fuck you, Johnny.' That kind of shit. I swung around and told Vanessa, 'Go out the front door, get in the car so they don't get us together or get your belly. She did. She was in the car, so everything was going to be cool, but they were so shitty. One guy was trying to hold the door open. He had his hand wedged in there. I looked down at the ground, and there was a 17-inch wooden plank, a two-by-two or something. Instinct took over. I picked it up and whacked the guys hand. I went outside and said, 'Now I want you to take my picture, because the first fucking guy who hits a flash, I'm going to kick his skull in. Let's go. Take my picture.' They didn't take my picture. I was livid. They walked backward down the street. I walked them away from Vanessa in the car and down this other street. It was beautiful. It was well worth it. It was kind of poetic. The next thing I knew, I saw flashing lights on the buildings around me. And a paddy wagon. It was brief. It was around 11:30 or midnight, and I was out by five or six the next morning. No one filed charges against me, because they didn't want their names exposed. Had they filed charges they would have had to give their names and would have lost their anonymity. The cops were actually terrific, real sweet. As I said, I didn't mind as much before I had kids. Everything changes when it comes to my children. (2004)

On Art

  • There’s one of [Jean-Michel Basquiat’s] paintings called Riding With Death. That’s my favorite. (1995)
  • I like the idea that I can make a drawing or I can make a painting or I can write notes, write my sort of journal thing, and someday my kid will have that. (1999)

On Career

  • I don't want to be limited by other people's opinions. (1988)
  • I don't necessarily want to always play the leading man - I'd like to shave my head and sew my eyeballs shut. (1988)
  • I want to keep growing and learning as much as possible. I want to fill myself in on all aspects of the industry - acting and directing. (1988)
  • I was broke and Nic [Cage] asked me if I needed a job. I did and he told me I should try acting. (1988)
  • I don't want to make a career of taking my shirt off. I'd like to shave off all my hair, even my eyebrows, try it that way. (1988)
  • I'm not a Blockbuster boy, I never wanted to be. (1999)
  • I never really had an interest in it in the beginning. Nicolas Cage -we had some mutual friends - introduced me to his agent. She sent me to a casting director, and I auditioned for the first Nightmare on Elm Street. I got the job. I was stupefied. They paid me all that money for a week. It was luck, and accident. I did it purely to pay the rent. I was literally filling out job applications at the time, any kind of job. Nic Cage said, “ You should try being an actor. Maybe you are one and don’t know it.” I began acting, and I thought, Well, this is an interesting road; maybe I should keep traveling on it. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, so I started to read everything about acting-Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen, Michael Chekhov. I started soaking it up.
  • I actually feel as though I make choices with my kids in mind. It helps me to be clear about what I will and won’t make. I want to have my kids say, “My pa did only the things that he felt he should do.” I don’t want them to be embarrassed. I think maybe they can be proud of some of the work I do. Maybe they will be proud that I decided to go against the grain a little bit and fight the good fight. When you’re older, drooling, and your children are changing your diapers, they will know that there was integrity.
  • I just don't want to look back in 30 or 40 or 50 years and have my grandkids say, ‘You did a lot of stupid shit, Granddad. What an idiot you were, smiling for the cameras and playing the game.’ (1999)
  • Maybe I’m a dummy, but I don’t worry that a lot of my films haven’t had big results at the box office, because I’m not a businessman. Believe me, I would love for one of my movies to be accepted by a wide audience, but I’m not going to do a film just because it’s going to do that. (1999)
  • There are a number of years where you feel like you have to be a whore, be seen, flap your jaws, make small talk, meet the new hot filmmakers, know who's running what studio, and I couldn't do it. I didn't want to. And finally, you get out and take a breath, and you see what kind of life is available to you, and you go, 'I was right: I didn't have to play the game.' I've been very, very lucky. It's amazing I'm still around and able to get jobs. (2003)
  • I find it comforting not knowing new films, not knowing what’s happening out there. (2003)
  • What comes to my head is a simple, beautiful line from a Van Morrison song: It’s a hard road, Daddy-o. That line always kills me. The shit you put yourself through before you arrive. (2003)
  • All I can say is for a guy like me, who’s been dangling in this business for the last 20 years, to finally have something hit, it’s unexpected and very touching. (2003)
  • Nobody really knows what you're feeling, what you're really going for, what you're really trying to do. Hell, I didn't even know what I was going for. I just knew that I didn't want to be assembly line. (2004)
  • For a lot of years, I was really freaked out. Maybe I took it all too seriously, you know? I was freaked out about being turned into a product. That really used to bug me. Now, more and more, I enjoy the process. Creating a character, working that character into a scene, into the movie. I mean, the last couple of things have been just a ball. (2004)
  • Maybe I was just too dumb to sell out. (2004)
  • Shit, I may be doing TV in ten years. Or doing fucking appearances at a hamburger stand dressed as Captain Jack, you know? (2004)
  • I've kind of been able to glide through this weird little thing they call a career in terms of the business world and in terms of the industry in many movies that were considered absolute failures, flops. So I've kind of made a career of… failing. (2004)
  • I guess there have been times when I was on the brink of being bankable. But that's all so weird. All these weird lists - top five star, top 10, 'Let's get this guy because he's bankable.' I don't think about that. You're on the list two weeks and then ' poof - you're gone. It never jarred me that I wasn't on the list. If I'm considered bankable this week, that's great. Next week I'll be totally off. I'm used to that. (2004)
  • I've never had an allergy to the idea of commercial success. When you put a movie out and it's successful, that's great. I just wanted to get there in the right way, in a way that's not too compromising or demeaning or ugly. (2004)
  • I began acting, and I thought, Well, this is an interesting road; maybe I should keep traveling on it. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, so I started to read everything about acting - Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen, Michael Chekhov. I started soaking it up. (2004)
  • During [Edward Scissorhands] I got the phone call saying I was out of [21 Jump Street]. I felt like, 'Ah, possibilities.' I was freed up. I swore to myself that I would never again compromise to the degree that I had. I swore that I wouldn't just follow the commercial road. I wouldn't do what was expected of me or what was necessary to maintain whatever it is - a popular or financially rewarding career. I promised myself that I wouldn't do that. (2004)
  • I don't regret any of the things I didn't do, and I certainly don't regret any of the things I did do, down to the dumbest. Everything happened the way it should happen, even ridiculous things that I did in the beginning. I don't regret any of it. (2004)
  • I just want something different. I want to be surprised. I want something that doesn't feel formulaic or beaten to death. (2004)
  • Innocence and purity are definitely themes that I've plodded about in over the years. They're themes I'm fascinated with, because for me, growing up in America in the '50s and just into the '60s, there was still some kind of innocence. There was hope. (2004)
  • [About Tracey Jacobs, his agent]: Tracey's taken a lot of heat over the years. She has bosses and higher-ups, and every time I take on another strange project, they're going, Jesus Christ! When does he do a movie where he kisses the girl? When does he get to pull a gun out and shoot somebody? When does he get to be a fucking man for a change? When is he finally going to do a blockbuster? (2004)
  • The challenge for me is still to do something that hasn't been beaten into the moviegoing consciousness. Otherwise what am I in it for?" (2004)
  • I don't want to be 85 years old and have my grandkids go, Ewwww. Grandpa did some dumb shit. I'd rather have them say, Wow, man, you're nuts! (2004)
  • I like not knowing what's happening out there -- who's doing what, how they were, what the box office was. Even when I'm in the soup bowl of Hollywood, I just play Barbies and hang out with the kiddies. (2004)

On Depression

  • I have a lot of love inside me and a lot of anger inside as well. If I love somebody, then I'm gonna love 'em. If I'm angry and I've got to lash out or hit somebody, I'm going to do it, and I don't care what the repercussions are. Anger doesn't pay rent, it's gotta go. It's gotta be evicted. (1995)
  • I grew up in a very different kind of family environment although I didn’t know I was living a weird kind of existence until I would go to other kids’ homes and see how they lived. I also felt very alienated and isolated in school and some kids and one particular teacher would love to pick on me. So that made me pretty defensive and angry in some ways and you want to do anything to escape that kind of aggression you’re experiencing. (2004)
  • That was the dark side of me and a pretty dismal time in my life. It’s like someone you used to know and wonder why things looked so ugly from his perspective. (2004)
  • When I was 30 I wasn’t that convinced I would make it to 40, but maybe I had to go through all the crap that had built up inside me to get to a point where I could start enjoying life. (2004)
  • It’s too easy to blame other people and things in your past for your own self-loathing. (2004)
  • Strangely, even when I was miserable in my own life, I usually loved being on a film set and I truly revelled in the atmosphere of working with the director and the actors in creating something. Making films was always a refuge for me because I was totally focused on the work and not thinking about my own problems. (2004)

On Drugs & Alcohol

  • Pretty much any drug you can name, I’ve done it. (1988)
  • It scares the shit out of me because I see my nieces and nephews growing up and it’s fucking hard. It was hard for me to grow up and it’s even harder now with all the scary, spooky shit that’s out there. (1995)
  • Oh man, I wasted so much time. I had great experiences, and a great education from all of it, but what a dumb-ass. I was just confused, and I didn't know what it was all about or what the point of anything was. I was just kind of pickling myself over a period of years. Self-medicating, trying to numb myself, and just being a self-centered prick, essentially. (2003)
  • Out on the street, you never know what you're getting, and suddenly two days later you're beating yourself in the head with a tennis racket, wearing a towel, quoting Poe. You don't want that for your kid. You really don't want that. (2003)
  • [I did] mostly alcohol. There were drugs, too - pills - and there was a danger that I would go over the edge. I could have. I thank God I didn't. (2004)
  • I was poisoning myself with alcohol and medicating myself. I was trying to numb things. I was trying not to feel things, and that's ridiculous. It's one of the dumbest things you can do, because all you're doing is postponing the inevitable. Someday you'll have to look all those things in the eye rather than try to numb the pain. (2004)
  • Thank God I never hooked on anything. I never had a monkey on my back. I just wanted to self-medicate, to numb myself through liquor. It's how I dealt with life, reality, stress, change, sadness, memories. The list goes on. I was really trying to feel nothing. (2004)
  • Family and friends sat me down and said, 'Listen, we love you. You're important to us, and you're fucking up. You're killing yourself. You're killing us in the process.' You don't listen right away because you're dumb. You're ignorant. You're human. Finally it seeps in. Finally the body and mind and heart and psyche just go, 'Yeah, you're doing the wrong thing.' (2004)
  • I could see things turning into a nasty tailspin. And then I thought, Maybe I'm slow, but this is ridiculous. Fuck it, just stop! So I stopped everything for the better part of a year. I guess I just reached a point where I said, 'Jesus Christ, what am I doing? Life is fucking good. What am I doing to myself?' Now I drink a glass or two of red wine and that's it. (2004)
  • You never think you're on the verge of disaster while you're looking over the edge yourself. It's your friends and family who are trying to get you to stop destroying yourself and after a while it kind of sank in and I just cleaned up my act. (2004)

On Family

  • I feel like there was a fog in front of my eyes for 36 years, and the second [Lily-Rose] was born, that fog just lifted and everything became totally clear and focused. To say it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me is the understatement of the century. Look at me, I’ve become a cliché. (1999)
  • [Having a family] gave me everything. A reason to live. A reason to not be a dumb-ass. A reason to learn, a reason to breathe, a reason to care. It gave me everything. (2003)
  • [Jack's] a hellcat, boy, he's something. The best training you can have for toddlers is having spent a number of years hanging out with drunks. Helping them walk, cleaning up their vomit, putting ice on their head when they fall and smack it on the table; the uncontrollable rage and tears and joy all in, like, ten seconds. He's just a cool little drunk. (2003)
  • When I’ve got my kiddies and my girl with me, I’m good. (2003)
  • Now I'm a daddy and I go to work and the family comes with me on location and things are rather different. (2004)
  • I think it just wakes you up and kind of gives you the opportunity to be who you really are. Before my kids came along I was freaked out to hold a kid. When I was a teenager and my brother had babies, I was always freaked out to hold them. They just seemed so fragile. I'd hold them for a minute and then, 'Okay, here. Take the kid.' So I was surprised how quickly, almost instantly, I was okay with my own baby. Within 24 hours I was fine with it all the diapers, everything. One of the most amazing moments in my life was holding my brand-new baby, Lily-Rose, just after she was born. She wasn't three hours old, and I was holding her. Her little eyes were kind of half open. She was drifting into sleep. Looking into those little eyes, I thought, 'My God, I'll never be closer to another human being in my life. And you're not, until your second one comes. Before the second one came, there was this strange thing, a snippet of worry. I thought, 'How can I love the second as much as the first? Is it possible?' And when little Jack arrived, it was instant. Instant. They just seem so fragile. (2004)
  • When I told [my brother] Vanessa was pregnant, he said, "Congratulations. You'll never sleep the same way again. You'll never have another calm day as long as you live, but it's worth it." He said it just off-the-cuff, but it was right on the money. (2004)
  • Having my own children has just ripped away a lot of the confusion and insecurity that had been dragging me down for pretty much my entire life. I never knew what happiness was until I met Vanessa and we had our first child. (2004)
  • Being with Vanessa and having children has made things very easy and clear for me. There’s nothing dark about my world anymore. I watch our son and daughter playing around the house or learning new things and I wonder what on earth could be more beautiful than that. (2004)
  • I don't have to close my eyes to see [my dream life] because I live with it every day - with my kids, my girl, and my life. It's as perfect as it could possibly be. (2004)
  • I just kind of stumbled around for 35 years. And then when my daughter arrived, it was like Now, I see. Suddenly everything else is just kind of shavings, morsels, little tidbits. And this is what it's all about. This is real life. Boy, it couldn't have come at a better time. (2004)
  • More than anything, I love being with my family. I'm like a total homebody, just hanging out with my kids. (2004)
  • If someone were to harm my family or a friend or someone I love - I would eat them. I might end up in jail for 500 years - but I would eat them. (2006)
  • It took kind of meeting that right girl, her getting pregnant, and that whole beauty of nine months waiting for the kid and then BOOM — there's your baby and you go, 'My God, there is my life.' (2006)
  • The same moment your child is born, you're born. You're brand-new, because you are revealed finally to yourself. You're meeting yourself for the first time. And it's about being okay with yourself, not hating yourself anymore. (2006)

Vanessa Paradis

  • Vanessa brings me the joy of living, stability, and—most obviously—love. Thanks to her, I feel like a simple human being, and not like a Hollywood actor known all over the world. She taught me to see life differently. I am more optimistic than before. And especially, she inspires me.
  • The last thing in my head was a relationship, a girlfriend, anything. I remember the first few days hanging out with Vanessa; in the front of my brain I'm thinking, No way. A real guy thing, you know? No fucking way, man. But somewhere in the back is the real truth, and you know you're fucked. It was practically like I'd said 'Never' - and boom. You know? Boom. (2003)
  • We met briefly years ago. I remember thinking, 'Ouch.' It was just hello, but the contact was electric. That was in 1993. It wasn't until 1998, when I went to do the Polanski film The Ninth Gate and was in the lobby of the hotel, getting messages. I turned around and across the lobby saw this back. She had on a dress with an exposed back. I thought, 'Wow.' Suddenly the back turned and she looked at me. I walked right over, and there were those eyes again. I knew it was her. She asked, "Do you remember me?" I said, "Oh yeah." We had a drink, and it was over with at that point. I knew I was in big trouble. (2004)
  • After we started dating I worked a long, long day and night, and I came home, back to my apartment in Paris, at three or four in the morning. Vanessa was there, and she was cooking for me. That's not to say that a woman must cook for a man, that's not what I'm saying, but it took me by surprise. It was a whole new ball game for me. I'd never experienced that before. It was like she was a woman not afraid to be a woman. I hope that doesn't sound weird or sexist, because it's not. I'm totally in agreement that women are the stronger, smarter, more evolved sex. (2004)
  • It would be a shame to ruin her last name [by getting married]. It's so perfect - Vanessa Paradis. So beautiful. It would be such a drag to stick her with Paradis-Depp. It's like a flat note. (2004)
  • When I met Vanessa, I was still drifting. But being with her has just blown me away and made me a better man. Ten years ago I never would have believed in the kind of life I have now as a father, although I still wonder if it’s OK to be this happy. (2004)
  • For all intents and purposes, we are married. We have two kids together, and she's the woman of my life. If she ever said, "Hey, lets get hitched," I would do it in a second. We'll do it if the kids want us to, or maybe when the kids are old enough to enjoy it with us. (2004)
  • I pretty much fell in love with Vanessa the moment I set eyes on her. As a person, I was pretty much a lost cause at that point of my life. She turned all that around for me with her incredible tenderness and understanding. Very quickly, I realised I couldn’t live without her. She made me feel like a real human being instead of someone Hollywood had manufactured. It sounds incredibly corny and phony, but that’s exactly what happened to me and what she has meant to me. (2004)
  • I was definitely ready to have someone be there for me when I met Vanessa but it was much more than that. She had this incredible self-assurance and naturalness to her whole way of being that it just made me feel so good to be around her. You can’t explain it but you can feel it. (2004)
  • Vanessa and I have considered ourselves husband and wife since the day we moved in together. It’s not a big issue for us because we know what we feel for each other and that kind of connection is what’s going to keep us together for a very long time. Marriage would just be a formality. (2004)

On Fans

  • I've also gotten weird letters, suicide letters, girls threatening to jump if I don't get in touch with them. So you think, 'This is bullshit,' but then you think, 'What if it's not?’ Who wants to take that chance? I write them back, tell them to hang in there, if things are that bad, they have to get better. But I'm not altogether stable myself, so who am I to give advice? (1988)
  • I’ve known that there have been a kind of select group of people, amazing die-hard supporters, even through some of the more, shall we say, odd films. These people, bless them, have stuck with me the whole length of the road. To say that you appreciate it is not nearly enough. It’s part of the essence, or fuel, of what keeps you going. These people are my boss; they’re the ones who keep me employed. A couple of times, they could have said, Let’s abandon him. And they haven’t. You don’t want to let them down. (2004)
  • I'd just thank the people out there who have been with my up-and-down, weird-road, strange career and supported me and stuck with me all these years. I mean, they're my boss. That's what keeps me working. (2004)

On Fears

I'm especially scared of boogers. Snot freaks me out. If someone ever showed me a booger, I'd smash their face. (1995)

On France

  • It’s been very good to me, this country. It's been welcoming, and it's given me what I've always wanted - a really cool, simple life. (2003)
  • Living [in France] has been good for me. It's given me the opportunity that when I do come back to Hollywood I can almost enjoy it. (2003)
  • [Being in France] was amazing at first, because I didn't speak the language. I loved that, because I didn't have to talk. It was great just to be out among people and not have the responsibility to say anything. I wasn't thrown into the spotlight to be the novelty or to entertain. (2004)
  • Ultimately, though, what I love about being [in France] is the culture, which is very old. (2004)
  • They speak French better. [on being asked how French women differ from American women] (2004)

On Growing Up

  • When I was a kid, I was just like any other boy. Boys are very curious, they like to push the walls, you know? (1988)
  • I wasn't the best kid in the world, but I wasn't an axe murderer, either. (1988)
  • I was 15, I think, [when my parents divorced]. It had been coming for quite a long time. I'm surprised they lasted that long, bless their hearts. I think they tried to keep it together for the kids, and then they couldn't anymore. (2004)
  • [My childhood] was strange, though then again, it was normal to us. It wasn't until I started going to other kids' houses and hanging out, having dinner, seeing what a family is supposed to do that I saw that we weren't normal. (2004)
  • At my house dinner easily could have consisted of a bologna sandwich, and then you'd split. You might come back later and grab a few peanuts, and then you'd split again. That was it. I would go to my buddy Sal's house for dinner. I couldn't understand what was going on with everyone sitting down together. I'll never forget seeing romaine lettuce for the first time. I thought it was weird - I was afraid of it. There was salad and appetizers and soup. I had no idea about that. I grew up on hillbilly food. (2004)
  • There was this vicious woman [at school], a teacher. If you weren't in her little handpicked clique, you were ridiculed and picked on. She was brutal and unjust. One day she told me to do something, I can't remember what. Her tone was nasty. She got very loud in my face in front of the rest of the class and tried to embarrass me. I saw what she was doing, that she was trying to ridicule me. I turned around and walked away. As I did, I dropped my drawers and mooned her. She went out of her mind. Then of course I was brought before the dean and suspended for a couple of weeks. At that time it was coming anyway. I knew my days were numbered. (2004)
  • We lived in a small house, and nobody argued in a whisper. We were exposed to [my parents’] violent outbursts against each other. That stuff sticks. (2004)
  • There are certain elements of boyhood we can't escape. And farts will always be funny. (2004)
  • You have to be honest with your kids about the world but also do your best to protect them. When I was a kid, we watched the Vietnam War on the six o'clock news, and it was desensitizing. You felt you were watching a war film; meanwhile you were really watching these guys getting blown to bits. Parents need to protect their kids from watching that stuff. (2004)

On Hollywood

  • It's easy to make a million bucks in this business doing stuff that would exploit the piss out of you. It's like fast food. Get in frame, get the product out there, and sell it quick. (1988)
  • If there's anything I really want, it's privacy. Maybe I should do what Brando did 30 years ago - buy an island. Maybe take my girl and some friends and just go there and sleep. And read, and swim and think clear thoughts. Because you really can't do that here. You can't be normal… you can't just hang out and have a cup of coffee and pick your nose. (1999)
  • I really, more than anything, despise the competitive thing that just sort of is in this industry… It would be different if it were kill or be killed, but it's not. (2004)
  • I think Polanski is one of the few filmmakers who nearly did a perfect film, a couple of them. Chinatown is almost perfect. It may be perfect. (2004)
  • The real movie stars were Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift. How could I put myself in the same category as Clark Gable? Tom Cruise is a great movie star. Do I consider myself a movie star? I consider myself a guy with a good job, an interesting job. (2004)
  • I enjoyed acting and I loved the process, but at the same time I hated the celebrity that came with it even though I know it’s part of the game and the recognition you need to have people come see your movies. I just couldn’t get my head into the place where I could just enjoy the attention and deal with it on that level instead of feeling stalked and paranoid about it. I’m a lot cooler about it now. (2004)
  • The thing that fascinates me is: who cares what an actor thinks? [on his reluctance to give interviews] (2004)

On Hunter S. Thompson

  • When you meet someone like Hunter Thompson and watch him, get to know him - people say whatever they want to say about Hunter and his books - he's pure, he's absolutely pure. There's really not an ugly bone in the guy's body. (2004)

On Image

  • Everybody compares everyone to James Dean these days. If you're lucky, they mention Brando or De Niro or Sean Penn. It's like they have to compare you to somebody. They invite you to put on an instant image. (1988)
  • Especially in the beginning, they have to be able to label the product. So they just go -'Rebel. This one's a rebel.' Wow, I had no idea! There's that hideous pressure they hit you with initially, based on your image and how you look, and I never tended that garden. I was always scared shitless of that - it's really limiting and very dangerous. (2003)
  • For many years they said I was a wild man. Now they say I'm a former wild man, former bad boy, former rebel. I guess 'former' because now I'm a dad. The media tries to stuff you into a mold. It happens to everybody. (2004)

On Life

  • I'm an old-fashioned guy. I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch looking at a lake or something. (1999)

On Looks

  • My face - I see it in the mirror when I wash it every morning. It's an okay face. (1988)

I mean, if somebody actually believes [I’m the Sexiest Man Alive], I'm deeply flattered, but I don't get it myself. It's mortifying. (2004)

On Marlon Brando

  • [Brando’s] maybe the greatest actor of the last two centuries. But his mind is much more important than the acting thing. The way that he looks at things, doesn't judge things, the way that he assesses things. He's as important as, uh, who's important today? Jesus, not many people... Stephen Hawking! (1995)
  • One of the most important things I learned in the couple of times I worked with Marlon Brando, and just by spending time with him, is it's okay to have a ball. It's okay to have fun and fuck up because, after all, it's only film. If you're able to get to a place where maybe your only motivation in the scene is to make the crew giggle, that's okay too. (2003)

On Marriage

  • I was married when I was 20. It was a strong bond with someone but I can’t necessarily say I was in love. (1995)

On Music

  • I listen to a lot of [Bob] Dylan, who I like a lot. I like Bruce Springsteen. I like T. Rex. I like all different kinds of music. One minute I'll be listening to Benny Goodman and the next I'll be listening to the Sex Pistols! (1988)
  • I honestly have no clue how to play [piano]. But if you walk into a room with a baby grand, you’re kind of obligated to fuck around on it. (2003)
  • Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, a band out of Texas, they were basically the first psychedelic-rock band, 1965. And if you listen to old 13th Floor Elevators stuff - Roky Erickson especially, his voice - and then go back and listen to early Led Zeppelin, you know that Robert Plant absolutely copped everything from Roky Erickson. And it's amazing. And Roky Erickson is sitting in Austin, Texas; he's just there. And Robert Plant had a huge hit. It always goes back to those guys, you know? I love those fucking guys. (2004)
  • I was more interested in music than anything else. Music was like life. I had found a reason to live. (2004)
  • Music was huge for me. I loved playing the guitar and playing in a band and just hanging out with guys who loved music and pretty much felt the same way about school and life that I did. Even though I knew at one point that I would never be a great guitar player, I still loved the freedom that came from playing in a band. My band was good enough to open for Iggy Pop and that was a wild time for us. Music was the thing that got me out of pumping gas and indirectly led me into acting. (2004)
  • I was 12 when my mom bought me a $25 electric guitar. I had an uncle who was a preacher, and his family had a gospel singing group. He played guitar in church, and I used to watch him. I became obsessed with the guitar. I locked myself in my bedroom for the better part of a year and taught myself chords. I'd try to learn things off records. (2004)
  • My brother] turned me on to Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. I remember listening to the soundtracks to A Clockwork Orange and Last Tango in Paris. I loved Aerosmith, Kiss and Alice Cooper, and when I was older the Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. (2004)
  • As a guitarist, I would always look for whatever felt right, something tasteful - and I guess I still do. [I’m] more interested in finding what fits the piece musically as opposed to how many notes I can play quickly. I was never one of those ‘look at me’ players. (2004)

On Outsiders

  • I'm attracted to the people who are considered freaks. Since I was young, I've identified with characters considered by "normal" society to be outcasts and oddballs. (1999)
  • I do have an affinity for damaged people, in life, in roles. I don't know why. We're all damaged in our own way. Nobody's perfect. I think we are all somewhat screwy, every single one of us. (2004)
  • I never considered myself an outsider. But I definitely didn't consider myself an insider. (2006)
  • I have a few quirks like being interested in insects and odd smells and stuff like that. (2004)

On Paparazzi

  • e've always had our run-ins with the paparazzi. That hasn't changed. They are very ambitious. They're looking for God knows what. (2004)
  • when we're in a public place, like at some opening or a premiere, I don't mind the press. It's the nature of the beast. But when you're shopping for Christmas presents for your kids, I just don't understand the fascination. (2004)
  • it's ugly. I don't mind so much when [the paparazzi] do it to me, but when it's my kids, that's another story. It's evil. (2004)
  • I haven't changed my thinking about those guys very much! Even in France, I still have them staking me out and watching our house in the countryside. I don't see the point of guys earning their living by taking photos of me and Vanessa walking our kids to a playground. But I'm trying not to let myself get worked up about it anymore. That just makes them even more money and they know that so some of them try to provoke you that way. So I've stopped playing into their hands. I'm just trying to be a boring family guy so there's no value to taking my photo anymore. (2004)
  • What's very confusing for them is why there are people who want to take Mommy and Daddy's photograph. So we have a little game where we hide our face in Daddy's shoulder. When we get in the car and we've passed all the photographers, then we can bring our face out. They don't need to be exposed to the absurdity of that frenzy. Lily-Rose asks, "Why do they want to take your picture?" My answer is always the same: "I don't know." Because I don't. (2004)

On The Paranormal

  • When I was a kid I used to have these dreams. But they weren't dreams. I was awake, but I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. And a face would come to me. Someone told me it was the spirit of someone who died that was very close and never got to say something that they wanted to say. And I believe it. (1995)
  • I've stayed at this little hotel in Paris, in the room where Oscar Wilde died. I slept in the room that Oscar Wilde died in and I thought that quite possibly, if I fell asleep too deeply, somewhere about 4 a.m. I might be abused in some obtuse way. Get taken advantage of. At least he had a good sense of humor. (1995)

On Politics

  • What can I say [about George W. Bush]? He's somebody's kid. He's somebody's father. God bless him. Good luck. You know what I mean? I don't agree with his politics, and I'm not going to pretend to, but I don't agree with a lot of people's politics. (2004)

On Relationships

  • I remember being in seventh grade and I was one of the kids that was considered a burnout. I had the most intense crush on this very popular girl. I pined for this girl, like beyond Romeo and Juliet. Shocking. I just chewed my tongue up for her. Eighth grade comes along, we hang out a little at those parties where you end up making out. So we did that and I just couldn’t have been happier. Then she goes for the football guy, and leaves me just dangling in the breeze. Years later, after I dropped out of high school. I’m playing a club. I’m on stage and I look out and I’m like, ‘Fuck, it’s her!’ So I finish the set and I go directly to the bar where she’s sitting and I walk up to her and it’s that face, man - incredible. And I went, ‘It’s so nice to see you!’ And I look at her and she’s 250 pounds! She is mammoth! She’s as wide as this table, but her face is still the same. And I went, ‘Oh my, nice to see you - how many kids do you have?’ And she had four kids. And I thought, ‘What fitting payback for fucking breaking my heart when I was a little kid.’ (1995)
  • Fidelity is important as long as it's pure. But the moment it goes against your insides - if you want to be somewhere else, if she wants to dabble - then you need to make a change. (1998)

On Religion

  • I would hope to think that this is maybe hell. Maybe this is hell because then we could go on to something else. Because this ain’t so bad. (1995)
  • I'm interested in all religion. (2004)
  • When I grew up my uncle was a Baptist minister, a heavy-duty 'Hallelujah praise God' guy. I was exposed to that and didn't quite buy into it. Not so much the belief in something, more my uncle; it was like he went into character to become the preacher, and even as a kid I thought, 'There's something funny here.' (2004)
  • We overcomplicate things, if you get down to the real base needs of a human being. We don't wake up every morning and go, 'Thank God, another day.' Yet every time we take in a breath, it's a gift." (2004)

On River Phoenix

  • He made a mistake, you know? And if he hadn’t done this particular thing that night, it wouldn’t have been... but he was... it happened. (1995)
  • The thing is, he came with his guitar to the club. You could cut me open and vomit in my chest because that kid... what a beautiful thing that he shows up with his girl on one arm and his guitar on the other. He came to play and he didn’t think he was going to die - nobody thinks they’re gonna die. He wanted to have a good time. It’s dangerous. But that’s the thing that breaks my heart, first that he died, but also that he showed up with his guitar, you know? That’s not an unhappy kid. (1995)
  • It was just a nightmare you never recover from. You're watching this thing go down, and you have no arms, no legs, no tongue; you're just an amoeba. There's nothing you can do. (2003)
  • What a waste. What a waste of a talented, beautiful guy. Obviously, whatever 'it' is, he had it. He was luminous - a brilliant guy with great taste. But on the other side of that, he was a kid, and that can be a dangerous thing to be, especially in that world, being in that position. I was very lucky I pulled out of it, but River - he didn't get out. There was so much ahead for him. Like the beauty and the luxury of making a family. (2003)
  • It was devastating. I can't imagine the depth of pain that his family and close friends felt. It was rough for me, but for them it must have been unbearable. (2004)
  • We knew and were certainly respectful of each other. There was always the sort of promise, 'Hey, we'll get together and do something sometime.' I liked him. I liked his work ethic, and I liked his choices. He was a sharp guy. He had so many amazing possibilities before him. Fuck, what a waste. For what? (2004)

On Smoking

  • I cut down [on smoking], I'll have you know. I cut down drastically. After all these years, I've finally figured it out. It's really pointless. (2004)

On Tattoos

Winona Forever:

  • It's here on my arm. It was the kind of thing you do on the spur of the moment - Fuck it, lets do it. Then you break up, but it's still there: a girl's name on my arm. (2004)
  • It can turn a situation a little sticky. I changed it to Wino Forever, which is actually a bit more accurate. (2004)

Black boxes:

  • I used to just draw these. Somehow they mean something for me, a personal significance. I don't understand it totally yet. I think I will someday. (1995)

On Teen Idols

  • I'm going to do everything I can - fight tooth and nail - to not be put in some teen-idol category. (1988)
  • I could do a Bruce Willis thing and make a record now, but it would just milk my teen-boy, pop-idol image. I'd rather do nothing than do that. (1988)

On Teeth

  • I've got loads of cavities. I had a root canal done eight years ago that's unfinished. It's like a rotten little stub, but I like it. It's like when the Indians would make something beaded, they would always put imperfections on it. (1995)
  • When I see people with perfect teeth, it drives me up the wall. I'd rather swallow a tick than have that! (1995)


  • I'm shy, paranoid, whatever word you want to use. I hate fame. I've done everything I can to avoid it.
  • I like being confused, I enjoy the look it leaves on my face.
  • I don't care if they take my photograph. I don't care if they take Vanessa's photograph, we're adults. But when they start taking photos of my kids and putting them in their magazines, that I can't support. Just make sure that you're really far away because if I'm able to get my hands on you I'll swallow your nose. I'd bite your nose off and swallow it.
- referring to intrusive paparazzi.
  • The only gossip I'm interested in is in the Weekly World News- 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured.' That kind of thing.
  • Lance Hallström (the director) and I have been examining many boys for the part of my younger brother, and it was Leonardo (Dicaprio) who was chosen. He's a good kid...
  • I've always liked everybody. [Laughs.] I'm not sure everybody likes me.
  • One of the greatest pieces of advice I've ever gotten in my life was from my mom. When I was a little kid there was kids who were bugging me in school. And she said, "Okay, I'm going to tell you what to do." She said, "This kid's bugging you. He puts his hands on you, you pick up the nearest rock, or whatever you can get your hands on, and you lay him out." ...So, for me, that was a great lesson because someone had invaded my space; invaded my being, you know, and was doing something against me that I didn't want to be done. So I took control of the situation and ran with it. And many years later, after being turned into a product by a very huge corporation that had their hands all over me and I couldn't escape it, I promised myself that I would continue to move forward and do my best not to compromise in any way whatsoever; not allow anyone to put their hands on me and affect me in that way. So that's the best advice that I could give, is just to keep moving forward, and don't give a shit what anybody thinks, you know. Just keep moving forward and do what you have to do for you.
  • I love our house in the country. I can walk to the nearby village and have a coffee and no one pays any notice. I'm just another dad with my daughter on my knee. The time I've spent in France with Vanessa has solidified my belief that I can keep a major distance from Hollywood and still keep in the game. Acting is my living, but I don't want to live it. Living in France is the first time I can honestly say I feel at home.
  • I want to do kiddie movies now. I'm fed up with adult movies - most of them stink. At a certain point with movies it becomes all about mathematics: this has to lead up to this, this has to lead up to that - you're always bound by some kind of formula. But since having kids and watching lots of animated cartoons and all those great old Disney films, I think they're better, they're much better. They're more fun and take more risks. Even things like Shrek - it's really funny and well made and intelligent.
  • The beauty, the poetry of the fear in their eyes. I didn't mind going to jail for, what, five, six hours? It was absolutely worth it.
  • Awards are not as important to me as when I meet a 10-year-old kid who says, "I love Captain Jack Sparrow."
  • I'm not sure I'm an adult yet.
  • Ohh yeah.. I play with Barbies all the time.
  • Am I a romantic? I've seen "Wuthering Heights" 10 times. I'm a romantic.
  • I don't pretend to be "Captain Weird", I just do what I do.
  • The term "serious actor" is kind of an oxymoron, isn't it? [Like] "Republican Party" or "airplane food."
  • So the American Dream - I don't think it exists at all. I think it's propaganda.
  • If you haven't made some mistakes by 28, it's abnormal.
  • Ugliness is better than beauty. It lasts longer and, in the end, gravity will get us all.

See also

External links

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