I don`t think Hollywood knows what to do with me. I would imagine that when it comes to romantic comedies, my name would be pretty low down on the list.
We`re given a code to live our lives by. We don`t always follow it but it`s still there.
(on portraying famous people): It`s a double-edged sword because, in one sense, you have a lot of material to work with, but in a strange kind of way, that puts up a framework that you have to keep within. You can`t play Beethoven with pink hair but, to an extent, because no-one has ever met him, who`s going to tell me that`s not Beethoven?
With Beethoven (Immortal Beloved (1994)) I said I wanted a role where I didn`t have to do anything stupid with my hair. My agent said "Read it again!".
(on making Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)): I`ve done so much R-rated work, it`s nice to have a job you can show your kids.
I had this idea of myself as a shy, kind, sweet chap. I was working with Winona Ryder and she turned to me and said, "f**k, man, you`re really intense!" I was so shocked, I went, "What do you mean? I`m not intense, I`m sweet!" My passion and energy get mistaken for anger.
I guess what I`m trying to say is, it`s not Dracula crying, it`s Gary Oldman, but using the technique of the character. The emotion is mine, because I don`t know what it`s like to be undead and live 300 years.
Any actor who tells you that they have become the people they play, unless they`re clearly diagnosed as a schizophrenic, is bullsh*tting you.
I used to be under the impression that in some kind of wanky, bullsh*t way, acting was like therapy: you get in and grapple with and exorcise all those demons inside of you. I don`t believe that anymore. It`s like a snow shaker. You shake the thing up, but it can`t escape the glass. It can`t get out. And it will settle until the next time you shake it up.
(On the shooting for his writing/directing debut Nil by Mouth (1997)): I set aside three weeks for rehearsals. Those long scenes are like a play. But I wanted things loosely structured, more like jazz. Though there was very little improv on screen, sometimes we`d improvise, rev up, to get the energy before shooting. One rule that I broke was that you need to leave a little air between people`s lines, that you can`t overlap dialogue because you`ll clip words on a cut. But you can overlap dialogue, even though editors don`t like it. Otherwise, it`s your turn to talk, my turn. Another thing: I used only one camera! I`d say to the cameraman, "I need it from this angle!" From my brief association with Isabella Rossellini, I got a new appreciation of Pier Paolo Pasolini and how he was religious about where the camera should go, whether it was too high, too low. I would ask questions on the set, quietly: "For this emotion, is the camera angle too wide, is the camera too low?" I wanted night to look like night! I bullied the cameraman a bit until he got into the swing. You could pick up the light metre and say, seeing how little light, "You`ve got to be f**king joking!"
Change is vital to any actor. If you keep playing lead after lead, you`re really gonna dry up. Because all those vehicles wean you away from the truths of human behaviour.
There`s an uncanny thing that chemically happens to you when you`re in the chronic stages of alcoholic drinking. I have been able, on occasions, to have two bottles of vodka and still be up talking to people. That got very frightening. By nature I`m an isolationalist, so my boozing was at home, thank you. I was not a goer-outer. I mean, I didn`t drink for the taste and I didn`t want to be social. Someone once described alcoholics as egomaniacs with low self-esteem. Perfect definition.
To be able to do this job in the first place you`ve got to have a bit of an ego.
I applaud anything that can take a kid away from a PlayStation or a Gameboy. That is a miracle in itself.
I suddenly got obsessive about boxing and Muhammad Ali around the time he was fighting Joe Frazier. I went off and did boxing. I looked incredibly good in the gym.
(On True Romance) I organized Drexl`s dreadlocks under my own steam. Then I went to the dentist who made the teeth. Then I thought about the weird eye. I`m only in the film for about 10 minutes - I wanted to make my mark.
(On True Romance) I hadn`t read the script, and knew nothing about it. Tony (Scott) and I had tea at the Four Seasons and he said, `Look, I can`t really explain the plot. But Drexl`s a pimp who`s white but thinks he`s black.` That was all I needed to hear. I said, `Yes, I`ll do it.`
Well, I needed the work - that`s the honest answer. I haven`t worked for a while, a couple of years. So I thought it would be nice to get back to work and earn some money.
Growing up in a particular neighborhood, growing up in a working-class family, not having much money, all of those things fire you and can give you an edge, can give you an anger.
I had a guitar when I was 6 or 7, a plastic guitar with the Beatles` faces on it. It would be a collector`s item now. It would fetch a hefty sum, I imagine.
The film follows very much in the tradition of social realism, because I wanted to see a subject like this tackled with honesty.
Interesting things come your way but as you get older, your lifestyle changes. I don`t want to travel; I don`t want to be in a hotel room away from my family.
I got obsessed with classical music, I got obsessed with Chopin, with playing the piano.
It`s always hard when you`re playing someone for a lot of people out there who are going to see the movie after reading the books. There`s a communion between a reader and the writer, so people will have an idea who Sirius Black is and I might not be everyone`s idea of that.
I applaud anything that can take a kid away from a PlayStation or a Gameboy - that is a miracle in itself.
People have an idea that one is in control of a career, a lot more than you really are. You can engineer things to an extent. But you are at the mercy of what comes in across the desk.
Your own barometer is all you have to go by, and often what makes a good director is knowing when not to say something. On occasions you can find yourself on a film set where the person who is wearing the director`s hat is only trying to justify his position.
So Harry Potter came in and it is nice that I have kids of the right age. I took them to London and they walked around the set and met Harry Potter and that is thrilling.
Speaking very generally, I find that women are spiritually, emotionally, and often physically stronger than men.
My big love was the Beatles. I was more into music.
I wasn`t ever a huge fan of comics. Just not one of those kids, you know?
People imagine that actors are being offered everything and you are not. So things come in and sometimes there are things that I want and can`t get a meeting on, or go to a different actors.
What`s fascinating is that when you write a script, it`s almost a stream of consciousness. You have an idea that it means something, but you`re not always sure what. Then when you get on the set, the actors teach you.
I have three kids who like Harry Potter so I was sort of aware of it. You can`t really move from it: it`s on buses, in stores, it`s everywhere. One of my kids has read the books; the other two are too small but they like the movies.
How many movies do you see when you can say this director really knew what film he wanted to make? I can count them on the fingers of one hand.
Rather like Batman, I embody the themes of the movie which are the values of family, courage and compassion and a sense of right and wrong, good and bad and justice.
If one could have a wish, or an alternative life, I would`ve liked to have been John Lennon.
I hadn`t worked for a couple of years so I thought it would be nice to earn some money and pay the bills.
When I directed, it was in a bubble, a creative bubble and I was very spoilt there. I`d like to do it again but it would have to be under my method.
It`s becoming increasingly harder and harder; there`s no such thing as independent film anymore. There aren`t any, they don`t exist. In the old days you could go and get a certain amount of the budget with foreign sales, now everybody wants a marketable angle.
But you see, I have played more good guys than I have played villains.
Wanting to be a good actor is not good enough. You must want to be a great actor. You just have to have that.
I`m not the best audience for that because I`m not a great science-fiction fan. I just never got off on space ships and space costumes, things like that.
I was brought up by my mother and my two sisters, although they`re older than me and fled the nest very young, so I was technically raised as an only child, but I was very much loved.
Shakespeare doesn`t really write subtext, you play the subtext.
My passion and energy get mistaken for anger.
I never told my father I loved him before he died, and I have a lot of issues about that. They`re all swimming around in my head, in my heart, unresolved, and in a way it felt fitting to dedicate the film to him.