What I learned in Guinea is that we are all responsible for the state of our world. The world - and the system by which we trade, share, cooperate and conflict - is clearly not working. We are only as strong as our weakest members. UNICEF is run at every level by strong, relentlessly energetic, deeply capable people who use that strength, energy and capability to help those who need it most: the weakest, most disadvantaged women and children of our world. All I can do now is help make people aware of what is happening, of what they are doing. That is all that I can do. For now.
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I don't want to name names because I don't want to draw too many direct comparisons but the history of Fascism is populated by people who need to subjugate other people and elevate their status and power to a level which is supreme. Usually, any psychological study of those people will reveal a sort of lost, damaged child, who is somehow heartbroken and doesn't have any self-worth.
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I gave myself permission to care, because there are a lot of people in this world who are afraid of caring, who are afraid of showing they care because it's uncool. It's uncool to have passion. It's so much easier to lose when you've shown everyone how much you don't care if you win or lose. It's much harder to lose when you show that you care, but you'll never win unless you also stand to lose. I've said it before. Don't be afraid of your passion, give it free reign, and be honest and work hard and it will all turn out just fine.
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Never stop. Never stop fighting. Never stop dreaming. And don't be afraid of wearing your heart on your sleeve - in declaring the films that you love, the films that you want to make, the life that you've had, and the lives you can help reflect in cinema. For myself, for a long time... maybe I felt inauthentic or something, I felt like my voice wasn't worth hearing, and I think everyone's voice is worth hearing. So if you've got something to say, say it from the rooftops.
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This generation has lost the true meaning of romance. There are so many songs that disrespect women. You can't treat the woman you love as a piece of meat. You should treat your love like a princess. Give her love songs, something with real meaning. Maybe I'm old fashioned but to respect the woman you love should be a priority.
Actors in any capacity, artists of any stripe, are inspired by their curiosity, by their desire to explore all quarters of life, in light and in dark, and reflect what they find in their work. Artists instinctively want to reflect humanity, their own and each other's, in all its intermittent virtue and vitality, frailty and fallibility.
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It's in our nature to want to watch our human frailties played out on a huge, epic canvas. Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama: fathers and sons, star-crossed lovers, warring brothers, martyred heroes. Tales that taught us the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility. It's the everyday stuff of everyman's life, but it's writ large, and we love it.
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Maybe it's just getting older. You become so palpably aware this is not a dress rehearsal. There's a big sign in blazing neon that says You Haven't Got Long. But I think it takes a beat to learn that. Life has to knock you down in order for you to realise it, because when you're a kid you think you're immortal.
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If you get up in the morning and wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and some flip-flops, it's a signal that you might be going to the beach. If you get up in the morning and you wear a breast plate and a back plate and a cape and a pair of golden Satanic horns on your head, it's quite clear that you're doing something else.
I always found the extraordinary loss of life in the First World War very moving. I remember learning about it as a very young child, as an eight- or nine-year-old, asking my teachers what poppies were for. Every year the teachers would suddenly wear these red paper flowers in their lapels, and I would say 'What does that mean?'
For the first 10 minutes after you meet them, they have the wattage and charisma of movie stars. Then you have a coffee with them and you realize we're all the same, we're all just people. All of the actors in The Avengers are so nice. Marvel has these code names for projects and the code name for The Avengers was Group Hug. It felt very much like a group hug on set.
There are certain things in the scripts that need to be planned: you know, big stunt sequences, battle sequences... you can't improvise that stuff. You can improvise when there's just two of you standing in a kitchen and the most dramatic thing that's going to happen is someone's going to open the fridge.
My father and I used to tussle about me becoming an actor. He's from strong, Presbyterian Scottish working-class stock, and he used to sit me down and say, 'You know, 99 percent of actors are out of work. You've been educated, so why do you want to spend your life pretending to be someone else when you could be your own man?'
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As a child, I had a deck of Marvel top trumps. You can get top trumps with racing cars, or fighter planes, or football players... I had all of the Marvel superheroes and super-villains you could get, and I used to play them with my friends. They were all listed according to their height and weight and agility and their super-powers.
I love playing all kinds of roles. I hope it doesn't sound too pretentious, but I always feel human nature is like a piano, and there are 88 keys, and there are some white keys and some black keys, and each character is a different chord on the piano. Basically, I hope that in the course of my life, I will have played all 88 keys. So, I'll have played heroes and villains and princes and kings and warriors and beggars and thieves and lovers and fathers and wizards and all of those things. That is why I'm an actor... I love studying people.
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The weird thing about serious acting is I've always done impressions of people, all my life, and I did the thing called a balloon debate. The idea is there's a hot air balloon traveling across the Atlantic and it's going down and you have to give a speech as to why you should stay in the balloon. Six people are going to be chucked out and you want to stay.
I am no saviour. I'm absolutely the last person on the planet who can practically help. I don't know how to make the different types of therapeutic feeding milk. I'm no chemist. I'm no doctor. I'm no engineer. I can't manufacture polio vaccines or organise their transportation to the health centres in Saramoussayah or Bissikirima. I can't build schools, or design drainage systems. I can't provide the women and children of Mandiana with water.All I can do now is help make people aware of what is happening, of what they are doing. That is all that I can do. For now.
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When you're starting out as an actor people are very interested in who you are because they want to know where they can put you. And quite often, and we're all guilty of this is our lives, we judge very quickly and we pigeon-hole people very quickly based on how they look and how they talk and how they dress and we think: "Oh yeah, we know who you are."
Since my education, I've done quite untraditional things. There are very few Etonians who went to Rada. And far fewer Etonians - certainly when I was there - went to Cambridge. I don't know whether it's the same now. Most people I knew went to Oxford, because it seemed more of an easy bridge.
Daniel Day-Lewis is particularly a sort of beacon I've been following for some time. For God's sake, I'm not even in his league but he inspires me because he's not interested in playing himself; he's only interested in playing other people and the whole thing is like an adventure for him, it seems to me. It's some kind of spiritual exploration, which is an amazing, noble thing.
I'm sure favorite moments in movies are things that just happen accidentally when the camera is there. You have to do all the homework to get yourself into the period, the costumes, the style, the voice, the hairdo or whatever it is, but once you've done all that work, you have to kind of let it go and just be there. If you're always thinking about it, it just looks a bit over-thought.
In 'Thor,' that was my own hair. I grew it out. But I have naturally curly, blonde hair, so I'll never look like that. By the time I got to 'The Avengers,' I had come off two other films, which required me to have it very short. So I dyed it again and it was long enough to use a part of my hairline.
I definitely go through periods where I'm in a particular mood, or there's a consistent imaginative context that I feel I'm in, and I'm drawn to certain things. I can sometimes feel it when I'm moving away from something that I was once interested in - an idea or an exploration of particular relationships. I go, 'Well, I think I've done that and I don't want to do it again.'
I'd like to fight everybody who wants to make war on people. I'd like to fight bullies, actually. I'd like to stand up to the bullies in this world. I was actually mugged once in London, and I was completely defenseless. They came at me with a... I was held at knifepoint. And I felt so angry that I let them do it and I think I'd like to go back and say 'Look, it's okay', and if they tried to stab me, I could just say 'You can stop that now'.
Everybody thinks that you go to Africa and you build a school, or you teach English, or you build a hospital. But actually all you need to do is play football with kids for six months and then after they've trusted you, you tell them about the truth of Aids, and that their grandmother didn't die from witchcraft, she died from Aids. And that's the biggest difference you can make.
I have a little office in my house and it is an absolute pigsty but I know exactly where everything is and there are little things stuck all over the walls, and papers in in-trays and files I have saved on my computer and playlists I have made on my iTunes - things that take me to a place that I think is appropriate,
I thought theater people wouldn't see me if I hadn't trained. I didn't want to just be the Brideshead guy, to spend the rest of my life wearing waistcoats. I got the chance to try everything. Not just Romeos, but pimps and grandfathers and even one role as a woman in a Naomi Wallace play called Slaughter City.
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I THINK IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE CONVENTIONALLY ROMANTIC YOU'VE GOT TO GO ALL THE WAY: A BEAUTIFUL DINNER SOMEWHERE LOVELY, WITH BOAT-LOADS OF FLOWERS, CHOCOLATES AND CHAMPAGNE. BUT IT MIGHT ALSO BE NICE TO WRAP UP WARM AND SIT ON A ROOF SOMEWHERE, WITH A CUP OF HOT SOUP AND YOUR GIRL, WATCH THE PLANES COME IN OVER LONDON AND LISTEN TO THE NIGHT.
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I couldn't possibly tell you. But I would say be very careful with your suppositions. People are so quick to jump. That's what I love about playing the character. People are so quick to draw conclusions about who he is. The whole thing about Loki is that he's dancing on this liminal line between redemption and destruction. Just be very careful about drawing conclusions based on what you see.