John Hurt

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    • John Hurt: People like us, who turn ourselves inside out for a living, we get into an emotional tussle rather than a marriage. It's fire I'm playing with and it isn't surprising I'm not the ideal companion on a daily basis. But it takes two. I mean, Christ, I haven't forced anybody.

    • John Hurt: We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know they're all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how.

    • John Hurt: I've done some stinkers in the cinema. You can't regret it; there are always reasons for doing something, even if it's just the location.

    • John: When you're really working well with a director then you can be as outrageous as you like and so can he. And there's no worry about it.

    • John: Pretending to be other people is my game and that to me is the essence of the whole business of acting.

    • John: Obviously, the arrogance of my own nature in regards to other people's work would suggest that I think I'm talented.

    • John: Nudes are the greatest to paint. Everything you can find in a landscape or a still life or anything else is there: darkness and light, character dimension, texture. I painted heads too, of course.

    • John: My parents felt that acting was far too insecure. Don't ask me what made them think that painting would be more secure.

    • John: My mother's father drank and her mother was an unhappy, neurotic woman, and I think she has lived all her life afraid of anyone who drinks for fear something like that might happen to her.

    • John: It's quite a dangerous career move to go wilfully on making films that may not find a distributor.

    • John: It's an immensely competitive business, and I can tell you the older you get, the parts are fewer, and the people who are proven performers are greater.

    • John: It would be difficult to have any unfulfilled ambitions because I don't have any ambitions. I've never been that kind of performer.

    • John: If you do an interview in 1960, something it's bound to change by the year 2000. And if it doesn't, then there's something drastically wrong.

    • John: If I'm in theatre, cinema doesn't even cross my mind. Similarly when I'm making a film, theatre doesn't cross my mind.

    • John: I've spent a great deal of my life doing independent film, and that is partly because the subject matter interests me and partly because that is the basis of the film industry. That's where the filmmakers come from, it's where they start and sometimes its where they should have stayed.

    • John: I was keen on sports-that's how my nose got this way. It's not actually broken; the nose was just pushed up a little bit and moved over. It's an aquiline nose, quite Irish.

    • John: I turn up in Los Angeles every now and then, so I can get some big money films in order to finance my smaller money films.

    • John: I think the director, John Huston, took on the picture because he's been trying to outdo his father, Walter Huston, and that's impossible. How do you cope with a genius? I couldn't communicate with my own father.

    • John: I think it would be very difficult to play somebody if they didn't think they had any virtues or redeeming characteristics.

    • John: I remember once when I told Lindsay Anderson at a party that acting was just a sophisticated way of playing cowboys and Indians he almost had a fit.

    • John: I put everything I can into the mulberry of my mind and hope that it is going to ferment and make a decent wine. How that process happens, I'm sorry to tell you I can't describe.

    • John: I never quite understand why we watch the news. There doesn't really seem much point watching somebody tell you what the news is when you could quite easily listen to it on the radio.

    • John: I never had any ambition to be a star, or whatever it is called, and I'm still embarrassed at the word.

    • John: I mark a script like an exam, and I try not to do anything under 50 per cent. Similarly with the part. And also film is a peculiar thing, parts don't necessarily read in script form anything like as well as they can do when it comes to materialising.

    • John: I loathed school. I don't have an academic mind, and besides I was so bored by my teachers! How teachers can take a child's inventiveness and say yes, yes, in that pontifical way of theirs, and smother everything!

    • John: I left drama school and went straight into a 10-week film for which I was paid $75 I might say, which for 1962 was one heck of a lot of money.

    • John: I have lots of favourite memories but I can't say that I have a favourite film.

    • John: I first decided that I wanted to act when I was 9. And I was at a very bizarre prep school at the time, to say high Anglo-Catholic would be a real English understatement.

    • John: I am not an enormous believer in research being the be-all and end-all. I get suspicious when I read about actors spending six months in a clinic, say, in order to play someone who is sick.

    • John: Being a painter is a lonely, desolate life, but I learned by observing people, observing conditions around me, the way things worked. And I've found that painting-which I still do-has helped me a great deal as an actor. There's a surprising amount in common.

    • John: As far as movies go, my master is Fred Zinnemann.

    • John: As Beckett said, it's not enough to die, one has to be forgotten as well.