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Anything I`ve done up till 27 May, 1999 was kind of an illusion, existing without living. My daughter, the birth of my daughter, gave me life.

You use your money to buy privacy because during most of your life you aren`t allowed to be normal.

I don`t pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do.

One of the most incredible moments I`ve ever had was sitting in Vincent`s trailer . . . I was showing him this first-edition book I have of the complete works of (Edgar Allan Poe), with really amazing illustrations. Vincent was going nuts over the drawings, and he started talking about The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). Then he closed the book and began to recite it to me in this beautiful voice, filling the room with huge sounds. Such passion! I looked in the book later, and it was verbatim. Word perfect. It was a great moment. I`ll never forget that.

The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.

I was ecstatic when they re-named "french fries" as "freedom fries". Grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government showing themselves as idiots.

America is dumb. It`s like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive. My daughter is four, my boy is one. I`d like them to see America as a toy, a broken toy. Investigate it a little, check it out, get this feeling and then get out.

Taken in context, what I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation. It is a shame that the metaphor I used was taken so radically out of context and slung about irresponsibly by the news media. There was no anti-American sentiment. In fact, it was just the opposite. 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.

France and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing, though, is that people there know how to live! In America they`ve forgotten all about it. I`m afraid that the American culture is a disaster.

Captain Jack Sparrow is like a cross between Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew.

I can remember when I finished Edward Scissorhands (1990), looking in the mirror as the girl was doing my make-up for the last time and thinking -- it was like the 90th or 89th day of shooting -- and I remember looking and going, "Wow, this is it. I`m saying goodbye to this guy, I`m saying goodbye to Edward Scissorhands". You know, it was kind of sad. But in fact, I think they`re all still somehow in there.

With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise it`s just not acting. It`s lying.

The only gossip I`m interested in is things from the Weekly World News - `Woman`s bra bursts, 11 injured.` That kind of thing.

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.

(when asked by James Lipton on "Inside the Actors Studio" (1994) what attracts him to funny hats) I don`t know, maybe I just read too much Dr. Seuss as a kid.

(asked if he is a romantic) Am I a romantic? I`ve seen Wuthering Heights (1939) ten times. I`m a romantic.

(about being dragged behind a carriage in the woods on Sleepy Hollow (1999)) I wasn`t afraid of getting hurt. I was just afraid that the horses may relieve themselves on the journey.

I`m shy, paranoid, whatever word you want to use. I hate fame. I`ve done everything I can to avoid it.

When kids hit one year old, it`s like hanging out with a miniature drunk. You have to hold onto them. They bump into things. They laugh and cry. They urinate. They vomit.

This is a rumor-filled society and if people want to sit around and talk about whom I`ve dated, then I`d say they have a lot of spare time and should consider other topics... or masturbation.

The character I`ve played, that I`ve responded to, there has been a lost-soul quality to them.

Sure, I find it touching, honestly, but awards are not as important to me as when I meet a ten-year-old kid who says, "I love Captain Jack Sparrow" . . . that`s real magic for me.

The term "serious actor" is kind of an oxymoron, isn`t it? (Like) "Republican party" (or) "airplane food".

On a film you start to get closer and closer with the people you`re working with, and it becomes like this circus act or this travelling family.

If you turn on the television and see the horrors that are happening to people in the world right now, I think there`s no better time to strive to have some kind of hope through imagination. I think it`s a time to close your eyes and try to make a change, or at least hope to make a change, or we`re going to explode.

I suppose nowadays it`s all a question of surgery, isn`t it? Of course the notion is beautiful, the idea of staying a boy and a child forever, and I think you can. I have known plenty of people who, in their later years, had the energy of children and the kind of curiosity and fascination with things like little children. I think we can keep that, and I think it`s important to keep that part of staying young. But I also think it`s great fun growing old.

All the little films I`ve done that were perceived by Hollywood as these obscure, weird things, I always thought could appeal to a larger audience. I mean, box office is such a mystery to me that I can`t . . . you know . . . I have enough trouble doing my own gig.

(asked why he hides his looks behind strange wigs, fake teeth and girly squeals) I think it`s an actor`s responsibility to change every time. Not only for himself and the people he`s working with, but for the audience. If you just go out and deliver the same dish every time . . . it`s meat loaf again . . . you`d get bored. I`d get bored.

We had been shooting (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)) for about a month, and I was beginning to get nervous because there weren`t any phone calls. I called my agent and asked, "Has no one called from the studio to complain or say, `Hey, what`s he doing?` or `Hey, he`s freaking us out?` " And when she said, "No", I thought, "Christ, I`m not doing enough! Something`s wrong!" Then some of the studio brass came over to the set, and they were sitting in my trailer and I was all decked out as Wonka with the little bangs. And I just had to know. So I said, "Okay, who was the first one, when you started seeing the dailies, that got a little worried?" And there was this beautiful 30-second silence. And (Warner Bros. president) Alan F. Horn finally said, "Yeah, that was me". I felt better instantly.

(on Gene Wilder`s comment on the remake of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)) Hearing about that was disappointing, but I can understand where he`s coming from, I guess. The one thing I didn`t understand was that apparently he was quoted as saying, "Well, they just did this for money". Well, hey, man, where have you been? When didn`t they ever do anything for money? Nobody`s ever made a film in the history of cinema where they weren`t expecting some return on their dough.

(on his daughter, Lily-Rose) I see this amazing, beautiful, pure angel-thing wake up in the morning, and nothing can touch that. She is the only reason to wake up in the morning, the only reason to take a breath. Everything else is checkers.

(on director Tim Burton) He can ask me everything. If he wants me to have sex with an aardvark in one of his next movies, then I will do that.

(on reactions to his directorial debut) You know what was traumatizing, what was very, very strange in terms of this film I directed a few years back called The Brave (1997). Well, I guess I wouldn`t say traumatizing, but I would say weird: at the premiere of the film the reception of it was beyond any expectation that I had. I had no idea I`d be looking at (Bernardo Bertolucci) or (Michelangelo Antonioni) sitting there watching my film. And then to receive the applause that my film got, it was so incredible. And then the next day the majority of the American press just turn it into this horrible thing. Once again, everybody is entitled to their opinion, man. Maybe it`s a bad film? Maybe it`s a good film? To me it`s just a film. It`s something I needed to make.

I started out as a guitarist in the early `80s. I hooked up with a guy who idolized James Dean and he gave me a copy of the Dean biography, "The Mutant King", which I thought was really interesting. While reading the book I watched Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and I thought, "Wow, this guy really has something", and I was hooked. I wasn`t really into acting at the time - but James Dean was the catalyst.

I don`t have a mental picture of the houses we lived in because there were so many.

(on being an uncle) My sister Christi had a baby when I was 17, and I had just heard about crib death. The horrible thing was that it wasn`t understood. For some unknown reason the baby would stop breathing. So I would sneak into where the baby was sleeping and put my hand in her crib, hold her little finger, and I`d sleep on the floor like that. It was stupid, I`m sure. But I thought the warmth of my hand might help, that maybe if she felt my pulse it would remind her to breathe.

Marlon Brando is 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!

There`s nothing - you know - nothing else like music. Nothing that touches us on that, uh, that deep level. Music can open up so many emotions that we didn`t know we had. It`s the magical thing about musicals, you know, on the stage or on film or whatever. Love songs. They work so well because music touches us, emotionally, where words alone can`t.

As a teenager I was so insecure. I was the type of guy that never fitted in because he never dared to choose. I was convinced I had absolutely no talent at all. For nothing. And that thought took away all my ambition, too.

(asked by Rolling Stone if there was a "gay undercurrent" in his character Capt. Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean` films) Well, there was a great book I read . . . What was it called? "Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition". A very interesting book. I wasn`t exactly going for that with the character. And Keith is not flamboyant in his actions. Keith is pretty stealth. But with Jack, it was more that I liked the idea of being ambiguous, of taking this character and making everything a little bit . . . questionable. Because women were thought to be bad luck on ships. And these pirates would go out for years at a time. So, you know, there is a possibility that one thing might lead to another.

(Marlon Brando) wanted me to escape movies for a while - "Take a year off. Go on. Study Shakespeare". So it`s one of the things that keep ricocheting around in my head. He told me that by the time he had got to the point where he felt he could do "Hamlet", it was too late. So he said, "Do it now, do it while you can". And I would like to do it - although it`s one of the more frightening ideas I`ve had. I think as an actor it is good to feel the fear of failing miserably. I think you should take that risk. Fear is a necessary ingredient in everything I do. But if I do "Hamlet" it will probably be in a small theater on a small stage and it will have to be very, very soon because I`m getting a little long in the tooth for it.

Having kids was a huge change for me. Becoming a father. But I think more than changing, I feel like I`ve been revealed to myself, I kind of found out who I was. When you meet your child for the first time and you`re looking at this angel, you start realizing what an idiot you`ve been for so many years and how much time you`ve wasted. As far as being feet-on-the-ground, once again my kids and (`girlfriend Vanessa Paradis) have given me a proper foundation. A sense of home that I never had in my life, a real sense of a place to be.

I loved playing Edward Scissorhands (1990) because there`s nothing cynical, jaded or impure about him. It`s almost a letdown to look in the mirror and realize I`m not Edward.

What I said was, the United States of America is a young country compared to Europe, compared to, you know, other countries. We`re young. We`re 200 and something years old.

(on director Tim Burton) What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my godson`s father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me.

(on preparing to sing as Sweeney Todd] It`s a bit like jumping into cold water. There`s no preparing, you just do it.

(about Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)) It was mentioned that they were considering a movie based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and I said I was in. There was no screenplay, no director, nothing. For some unknown reason, I just said I was in.

(about girlfriend Vanessa Paradis) 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 time in my life. She turned all that around for me with her incredible tenderness and understanding.

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 (girlfriend Vanessa Paradis) 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.

There`s a drive in me that won`t allow me to do certain things that are easy. I can weigh all the options, but there`s always one thing that goes: "Johnny, this is the one." And it`s always the most difficult - it`s always the one that will cause the most trouble.


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