I used to go over to Gene Kelly's house and play volleyball, and Paul Newman and Marlon Brando were always there. You kind of took it for granted because I was 20, 21, 22, and they were a bit older - well, Gene certainly was. But it was just part of daily living. They were in the same profession, and you didn't think that much about it.
Well, it was interesting because when I was going to do it the first time in my head was Leonardo DiCaprio [for Chris] and Marlon Brando was going to play the character that Hal Holbrook eventually played. But then when it wasn't to be and there was no promise that it ever would be I think some part of me didn't want to attach specifics to it anymore - actors or anything else - because I wanted to see it made that much more badly.
You know one scene I always think about is in 'The Godfather', when Marlon Brando's in the hospital. Al Pacino arrives there and enlists the help of the baker to protect his father. The two of them stand outside and the baker fiddles with a cigarette lighter, but Pacino's hands are rock steady. That's when we sort of realize that he can do this.
I felt as if I was the brunt of some massive joke at my expense: Can you believe this loser can be connected to Marlon Brando and Katharine Hepburn? But through the years I have learned to tolerate and sometimes embrace the idea. People have asked me if I consider it an honour. Well, all it indicates is that I've been in a lot of movies with a lot of people. And besides that there are plenty of other actors that would work.
I got in my car and followed [Marlon Brando] down to Chinatown, and got about twelve shots. Brando called me over and said, What else do you want that you don't have already? And I said, I'd like a picture without the sunglasses. He said no and punched me right in the jaw, It was so fast I didn't see it coming. Blood was gushing out of my mouth. I drove to Bellevue. The jawbone and five teeth were broken... To this day he has scars on his knuckles from my teeth.
I've never thought it was a good idea to act back-to-back. If you are going to have any chance of replicating life, you need to live it. I also never forgot something Johnny Depp said to me, which Marlon Brando said to him, 'You only have so many faces in your pocket.' I really admire artists who take the time to recharge their batteries and not continually call on it. I think you can spot tired and jaded artists quite quickly.
Jim Dean and Elvis were the spokesmen for an entire generation. When I was in acting school in New York, years ago, there was a saying that if Marlon Brando changed the way people acted, then James Dean changed the way people lived. He was the greatest actor who ever lived. He was simply a genius.
I have made great strides in my craft. After months of auditioning, I am very proud to announce that I am a member of the Actors Studio. The greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred DunnockVery few get into it, and it is absolutely free. It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong. If I can keep this up and nothing interferes with my progress, one of these days I might be able to contribute something to the world.
Before I made it big I worked as a dishwasher, washing dishes in this place called Dishwasher House where people could just come in and do whatever they wanted to the dishes and we had to clean them with our hands till they bled. A lot of struggling actors worked there-Downey Jr., Joaquin Phoenix, Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans-and we actually all kind of wish we still did.
William H. Macy
If 'The Wild One' were filmed today, Marlon Brando and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would all have to wear helmets. I used to be afraid that when (Hells) Angels became movie stars and Cal the hero of the book, the bikerider would perish on the coffee tables of America. But now I think that this attention doesn't have the strength of reality of the people it aspires to know, and that as long as Harley-Davidsons are manufactured other bikeriders will appear, riding unknown and beautiful through Chicago, into the streets of Cicero.
Lars is played by Ryan Gosling, the Prince of Tics, whose idea of acting is to wait a few beats before reacting to other people's remarks, as if acting were merely a matter of adhering to the seven-second delay rule. Jack Nicholson has made a career out of doing this sort of thing, as did Paul Newman, as did Marlon Brando (who the other two learned it from), but they didn't do it all the time and they were more fun to look at... Lars And The Real Girl joins a number of other recent films in the category of motion pictures where the director doesn't know that his protagonist is unsympathetic.
I often ask, "What do you want to work at? If you have the chance. When you get out of school, college, the service, etc." Some answer right off and tell their definite plans and projects, highly approved by Papa. I'm pleased for them but it's a bit boring, because they are such squares. Quite a few will, with prompting, come out with astounding stereotyped, conceited fantasies, such as becoming a movie actor when they are "discovered" "like Marlon Brando, but in my own way." Very rarely somebody will, maybe defiantly and defensively, maybe diffidently but proudly, make you know that he knows very well what he is going to do; it is something great; and he is indeed already doing it, which is the real test. The usual answer, perhaps the normal answer, is "I don't know, " meaning, "I'm looking; I haven't found the right thing; it's discouraging but not hopeless." But the terrible answer is, "Nothing." The young man doesn't want to do anything. I remember talking to half a dozen young fellows at Van Wagner's Beach outside of Hamilton, Ontario; and all of them had this one thing to say: "Nothing." They didn't believe that what to work at was the kind of thing one wanted. They rather expected that two or three of them would work for the electric company in town, but they couldn't care less, I turned away from the conversation abruptly because of the uncontrollable burning tears in my eyes and constriction in my chest. Not feeling sorry for them, but tears of frank dismay for the waste of our humanity (they were nice kids). And it is out of that incident that many years later I am writing this book.