“There’s always been this hocus-pocus
or magical, mystical thing associated with the making of film that
sort of psyches people out and makes them think that this cannot
be done; that this is a craft that cannot be learned.”

—Spike Lee, writer/director/actor

“It’s turned into a world of amateurs. There are amateur actors making millions of dollars, amateur cinematographers,
amateur directors… Jesus, these amateur directors can get deals
for anything. Another comic book? Oh, very good.”

—James Coburn, actor

“I always knew I wanted to act, but my parents never
encouraged me. If I was talentless, they didn’t want me to be heartbroken.”

—Gwyneth Paltrow, actress

“Life is nothing but chance and accidents.”

—Conrad Hall, cinematographer

“Images, not words, capture feelings in faces; nothing
can ruin the atmosphere as easily as too much light.”

—Sven Nykvist, cinematographer

“We are affected and defined by light. Light is the
most important tool we have to work with, not only as cinematographers,
but as people.”

—Laszlo Kovacs, cinematographer

“Black and white is much closer to the condition of
dreaming. It links you to the subconscious and I think that was
part of the great appeal of movies originally.. this strange otherness.”

—John Boorman, director

“American movies show you how to fight and break arms
and necks. I want to make the action in my movies like dancing.”

—Jackie Chan, actor/writer/director/producer

“Elia Kazan is full of shit. Sold his friends in Washington,
that son of a bitch… He didn’t have to do it, but he wanted to
do movies. I had friends who were not guilty of anything die of
heart attacks trying to learn to drive taxis in NYC to feed their
kids. Fuck him. I have no respect for him.”

—Rod Steiger, actor

“Perception has always interested me. The idea that
behind every face, there are a thousand faces. Beneath the placid
veneer of middle America, there lies terror.”

—Bryan Singer, writer/director/producer

“Playing normal-looking characters really intimidates
me. I got into acting to play anyone but me.”

—Billy Bob Thornton, actor/writer/director

“I always thought my first cut was better, but who
argues with David Lean?”

—Anne Coates, editor

“I don’t really care if people like a character or
not; I think in life we don’t always like everybody. But you have
to be able to understand them.”

—Julianne Moore, actor

“I’d love to direct commercials on Caribbean beaches
with luscious women rubbing on suntan lotion, but all I get are
these documentary-type things.”

—Michael Apted, director/producer

“I alternate between feeling incredibly lucky that
I’ve gotten away with almost everything I wanted to do, and feeling
like I’ve been shafted.”

—James Toback, writer/director

“Good acting is about reacting, not trying
to express something, but reacting to a situation as the character.
I don’t like acting acting.”

—Jim Jarmusch, writer/director

“You write who you are. But you also cheat, and you
write what you want to be. It’s embarrasing to be the guy who made
the movie, knowing you’re not exactly who you want to be.”

—Paul Thomas Anderson, writer/director

“My father is so in love with making movies, and he’s
so charismatic about it, that it’s hard to be around him without
wanting to make movies.”

—Sofia Coppola, writer/director/actor

“I read the script just once, and then forget it.
I just deal with what I see every day on the screen and whether
I believe it and understand it.”

—Thelma Schoonmaker, editor

“It’s different if you’re a painter. You can hide
the ones that don’t work. You can’t do that with movies. They tell
the story of who you are at the time, and that’s the wonderful thing
about it.”

—Stanley Tucci, actor/director/writer

“Many films are forgotten and deserve to be, but others
glom onto the DNA and they keep a share of the collective consciousness.
It’s a profound question: What are we here for? What is the purpose,
the sum effect of our work?”

—Oliver Stone, director

“You have to be a great storyteller. And you have 
to master the tools that you have to tell the story which are, in
order of importance, the script, the actors and then the
technical means.”

—John Frankenheimer, director

“I can’t help but think that at the end of your life,
when you look back, there’ll be a tone. And that tone will come
from the essence of how you live your day-to-day—what you did in
that between time—because this is really your life.”

—Richard Linklater, writer/director

It’s nearly impossible to make a good movie—a feat
that you bleed and die for. But that’s the way movies should be
made. You may say ‘I didn’t communicate what I wanted to,’ or ‘my
movie’s just not that great.’ But at least you die trying.”

—Jodie Foster, actor/director/producer

“I’m one of the minority of documentary filmmakers
who thinks that you can tell the truth.”

—Albert Maysles, director

“Once in a while I come across a director who has
grown up  thousands of miles from me,  and the work touches me.
Through these issues/50/images I am connected and something is illuminated.
And I know then that I am not alone.”

—Werner Herzog, writer/director/producer

“When most young directors say they want it to have
a very improvisational feel, generally it goes: ‘Fuck you./No, fuck
you./No, fuck you./No, fuck you.’ And then someone pulls out a gun.”

—Tim Roth, actor/director

“I read, I think, I play, I work. And all that thinking
and playing and reading comes into my art. I couldn’t really sit
here and delineate for you what the thought process is. I can perhaps
say that literature, psychoanalysis and theater have been very valuable
experiences that have informed and nourished me along the way.”

—Harvey Keitel, actor/producer

“I don’t need a director who’s ‘good with actors.’…
A master manipulator is heaven.”

—Frances McDormand, actor

“Because many of the films I’ve made have had an intellectual
edge, it’s harder for me to lie. It’s harder for me to go to people
with money and say “I don’t care about art, all I care about is
commerce; all I really want to do is make money.”

—Paul Schrader, writer/director

“For me, something dangerous would be playing the
babe in a huge studio film. That would be terrifying because I’d
stink… I want to explore human beings on as deep a level as I can.”

—Jennifer Jason Leigh, actor/director

“The beautiful image today means nothing. It’s worth
shit. In fact, it’s almost as if it has the opposite effect, because
you’re just like everything else out there.”

—Wim Wenders, writer/director/producer

“There are more people alive today than have ever
died. If that’s true, and you believe in reincarnation, then that
means there are a lot of people walking around without souls…
I’ve met some of them… Haven’t you?”

—Bridget Fonda, actor

“If filmmakers are ignorant of the past, they labor
to re-invent the wheel in every picture. You sit and think, ‘Well,
we’re back to 1903 here.’”

—Peter Bogdanovich, writer/director/actor

“The less money and time you have, the more you have
to plan ahead and be careful about your coverage. It’s like a gas:
it expands or contracts depending on the size of the container.”

—John Sayles, writer/director/actor

“I’m not going to be a party to this ‘it’s just an
honor to be nominated’ bullshit. If I’m going to be in a contest,
then dammit, I want to win!”

—Samuel L. Jackson, actor

“I believe my signal of maturity as a filmmaker is
when I’ll actually acknowledge the fact that the first take is usually
the best.”

—Atom Egoyan, writer/director/actor

“Women, if they play their cards right, have a tremendous
advantage over most men. Because most men—I shouldn’t say this—aren’t
really all that bright, myself included.”

—John Dahl, writer/director

“Somebody said that I’m a bit like a sponge, grabbing
things here and there, soaking stuff up. [As a director] you have
to be, really.”

—Adrian Lyne, writer/director

“Everything’s a film idea if this is what you do.
I’ve always been secretly confident that I’d never run out of ideas,
because I’ve never had any. I just live my life, see things the
way I do, and I’m just looking for a notion to hang it all on.”

—Alan Rudolph, writer/director

“Never again work in the same conditions in which
you made your first film. It’s good to take risks, but not that
much risk.”

—Pedro Almodóvar, writer/director

“I never want to feel like the way that I see it is
the only way. Sometimes mistakes happen and that’s better than what
you thought the scene could be. You allow room for the possibilities.”

—Steve Buscemi, actor/writer/director

“I wish I could play music. I think I get as close
as possible with the editing of the films. Over the years music
has been an even more important influence than—or as important as—film.
There’s no doubt about it. Painting, movement, dance, sculpture—it’s
all in cinema.”

—Martin Scorsese, writer/director/producer

“[Acting] is never something that’s easy to do—ever!
It’s like golf. No matter how well you  played yesterday, you can
really suck today.”

—Philip Seymour Hoffman, actor

“A lot of directors prescribe to the rule that they
have to pretend they know what’s happening at all times. I know
from being an actor that everybody sees through that pretty

—Jon Favreau, actor/writer/director

“We mystify the art of moviemaking, but it’s not a
mystical science. You take a good screenplay, put a group together
and you hammer it out.”

—Bill Paxton, director/actor

“When you produce and direct your own film you have
the somewhat consoling feeling that the producer will kill for you.”

—James L. Brooks, writer/director/producer

“Agree on the rules and play by them. Treat everyone
like an ally, not an enemy. And don’t bullshit anyone.”

—Tony Bill, director/producer/actor

“Performing is about developing empathy, which leads
us to a broader view of the world and encourages us to develop compassion;
so we can comfort each other and not be so brutal with each other.”

—William Dafoe, actor

“We’ve been talking about a script for a while now,
me and Hoffman. But instead of us getting together, the heads of
our little companies get together. Why don’t we get together? It’s
a strange process.”

—Robert Duvall, actor/writer/director/producer