Feudal societies don't create great cinema; we have great theatre. The egalitarian societies create great cinema. The Americans, the French. Because equality is sort of what the cinema deals with. It deals with stories which don't fall into 'Everybody in their place and who's who,' and all that. But the theatre's full of that.
There are characters that have made me uncomfortable. I did a film called 'Rob Roy,' and I played Killearn, who was this sort of greasy fallen-angel character who was voyeuristic and sleazy and really unpleasant. It was a great role, but I didn't especially enjoy living with this awful man for the length of time it took to make the movie.
For me, it's just acting. It's pretending. The best actors are children, and children don't do research. You never see a child going, 'I'm wondering about my motivation here. How can I do this toy? How can I do this train? I don't feel train.'
Actors in general have become very spoiled in the roles they choose these days. When I first started in this profession - about a hundred years ago in the last century - it was all about taking risks, it was about doing the job and honing the craft.
The fact is that Hollywood, from as early as the sixties to the present time, has ghettoized cinema into the big industry, a marketing industry. In doing this, the audiences have lost touch with the aspects of film which were to be informative and educational and even spiritual.
Ah, there's a director. Astonishing, Spike Lee. A feisty guy, but a guy who's, I think, incredibly misunderstood. I think people review his politics or his color as opposed to his filmmaking sometimes. Because he's a wonderful, wonderful filmmaker and a lover of the art.
The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!
Don't undermine the science just because you don't like the economics. That's a dangerous slope, because the problem of course is you're not undermining just that, you're undermining the basis of rational decision-making in society.
I enjoy acting now more than I ever have. I've had lots of difficult times when I was younger, but that was all tied up with thwarted ambition. It's hard being a young actor, because you don't realise until later that it's only ever about doing the work.
The heritage of a British actor revolves around the challenges of playing the classic roles to meet certain levels of success as an actor. In America, the heritage of an actor is based on cinema mainly.
Even the Australians don't know how beautiful their own country is. Particularly where we were shooting 'The Straits.' Most of my stuff was done on an aboriginal settlement on the south shore, opposite Cairns, which I believe was the site where the last person was eaten in Australia.
I actually went to see 'Rushmore,' and I came late, and I missed myself. It was great, that scene. I caught that scene the other day on TV, funny enough, the first scene that you see with Jason Schwartzman and myself, where we talk about his grades. That's a brilliant scene, and I have to say, we play it brilliantly.
My mother Molly had a nervous breakdown after my father Chic died, aged 50. He was a very generous man who ran a shop in Dundee giving a lot of people tick. When he died, a lot of people hadn't paid their bills, so he died with a lot of debt. After he died, my mother went doolally.
The hardest thing to do in movies is be a day-part player. You have to go in, make your mark, and get out. There's a lot of leading actors who are not good for a lot of a movie, and then suddenly they have good moments, and they're like stepping-stones across a particularly feisty stream. They build careers out of that.
I used to do a lot of fencing in the theater and a lot of horse riding in the early days, so I'm used to it in a way. If you're classically trained like I am, it's a little bit like mother's milk to me. I enjoy it.
I did a film in which Andy Garcia and Michael Keaton both played the leads, 'Desperate Measures,' and interestingly enough it was their biggest payday. The film didn't do well, and it kind of marked their careers. They've done less since. It all changed.