I don't know what acting is, but I enjoy it. I think we ask too many questions of ourselves. We make too much importance of stuff. But I do say to actors when I have taught in classes, or when I sometimes do a talk to a group. I'll say, "If I never acted again, the world wouldn't stop, nor would it stop if I didn't stop acting. That's how important it is. I know it [seems] important when you're young. But I say, "Lighten up. Don't take it all so seriously." All the gurus and teachers will take your money and run.
You relax within the verse. You realize the structure of the verse and relax into it. It's like swimming. Or riding a bike. You can't make it sound real if you are thinking it through as you go. You can't think through Shakespeare, you have to speak it. And listen to the rhythm of it and then it takes you over. And to make it sound real you speak as if you believe it. Don't act it. Just be it.
Try not to be concerned with it. It's a spiritual thing. Don't look for the results, don't live in the payoff. Live in the moment which is a spiritual principle. Live in the moment and let the results take care of themselves. It's in the hands of God. The rest is all ego. And I have learned, over the years, it's got nothing to do with me. As my life is none of my business.
What a glorious night. Every face I see is a memory. It may not be a perfectly perfect memory. Sometimes we had our ups and downs. But we're all together and you're mine for a night. And I'm going to break precedent and tell you my one-candle wish...that you would have a life as lucky as mine, where you can wake up one morning and say, 'I don't want anything more'. Sixty-five years. Don't they go by in a blink?
I don't have any expectations about my films. If they're good, they're good - if they're not, they're not. About 10 years ago, I remember going to see one of my movies - I can't even remember which one now - and everyone was jumping up and down, getting excited, saying what a great film it was going to be. We all went in and watched it, and it was the slowest movie I've ever seen. The next day, the reviews were terrible and half the studio was fired.
Years ago I met Richard Burton in Port Talbot, my home town, and afterwards he passed in his car with his wife, and I thought, 'I want to get out and become like him'. Not because of Wales, because I love Wales, but because I was so limited as a child at school and so bereft and lonely, and I thought becoming an actor would do that.
Most of my last 30 years have been like that. Results and manifestations of things I'd dreamed of as a young kid and wanted as a child and as a young man. I realized it maybe 30 years ago. I thought, "This is unreal. This has happened as I expected it to, as I'd pictured it." My whole life has been like that and I'm fascinated by that power that we all have. That we create our lives as we go.
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When you're younger you've got a lot of ideas and you're probably more insecure. I work with young actors now and I see their insecurities, and I make them laugh because I know exactly what they're going through. When you get older you think, it's only a movie after all, it's not brain surgery.
I used to be a bit obsessed by acting but not anymore. I do enjoy acting but I probably enjoy it more now because it's easier. I can't work in the theater because to me it's too serious. It's like being in prison for me. I admire people that can do that but I can't do it. I'd rather live my life and do a bit of acting in between.
The way to make better decisions is to make more of them. Then make sure you learn from each one, including those that don't seem to work out in the short term: they will provide valuable distinctions to make better evaluations and therefore decisions in the future. Realize that decision making, like any skill you focus on improving, gets better the more often you do it.
What is so liberating about this whole business is when you see that big movies are going to come out and then you see them up in Malibu in the little triplex theatre a week later and you think, this is show business. This is the great movie career. And it's all funded in the shoe box.
I think one of the things you have to have is a respect for the camera, a real respect, and a real love for it, and to really, when I say take it seriously, quote 'seriously', I mean not patronize it. It's a big mistake to patronize it and think it's a third rate medium, because it's not, it's a great art form.
When you begin to believe you have license because you are a special person breathing special oxygen, that's when you're in big trouble. That's the road to insanity. And a lot of people in the studios are like that. They believe that they are special. I do think actors are blessed, or cursed, with maybe a slightly heightened awareness, which you have to use.
Acting is a creative process, and directing and music. I think creative people - and I take myself as a creative person and it doesn't mean you have to be an actor, a musician, or a painter - but I think if you are in a creative profession or a creative business you do have a heightened awareness.
I do my job. I do what I'm paid to do and I show up and I'm always prepared. I prepare by learning the text so well that when I show up, I'm relaxed and focused for the part. Now, whether that's good or bad I don't know. Whatever I'm going to say is going to sound very egocentric and self-centered so I'd better shut up.
I believe I am quite amiable and affable and quite fair, and I've rarely worked with people who are the opposite. Moodiness scares me. What gets to me is unkindness. Madness. Unwarranted cruelty through words. People who scream and shout at work. I hate confrontation and violence. I've done it in the past and I don't want to do it again. I guess I want a perfect world.
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I wanted to be a musician. I just wanted to be famous because I wanted to escape from what I felt was my limitation in life. I wanted to write music and I didn't know what I was doing and I never had the technique or the understanding of it. But I've always played the piano, and I can improvise on the piano. The problem is that I can't write down what I play. I can read music but I can't write it down.
I was born in the same town as Richard Burton, the actor, and I saw him, he used to come - he and his wife drove by in the car in my father's shop and Burton would come home from Hollywood and ask him for his autograph, and I thought, I want to be like him. And that's all I said to myself, I want to be like that. I want to get out of this environment of my own empty mind.
I do the best I can - I know my way around [Russian method acting pioneer] Stanislavski, but I can't take myself seriously like that. I respect people who do it, of course. I just think I'm lucky to still be working at 73. You reach a point in life where you just think, "Show up, do your job, make sure the cheque's on the way," and that's it. I'm not hungry to do anything more, really.