If I'd loved my chemistry teacher and my maths teacher, goodness knows what direction my life might have gone in. I remember there was a primary school teacher who really woke me up to the joys of school for about one year when I was ten. He made me interested in things I would otherwise not have been interested in - because he was a brilliant teacher. He was instrumental in making me think learning was quite exciting.
It was mainly to do with Helen Hunt, to be honest. That's what drew my attention to it. I was interested in the fact that she was going to be directing. I'd never met her but she projects a degree of intelligence and it was convincing t me that she'd be able to handle this sort of material very well.
The skill of a good actor is to make it always seem like you're in that fantastically spontaneous moment. Very often, a stand-up comedian has a different instinct, which is to reinvent. Once you've laid down some material, and made them laugh, you move on and find some new material.
Doing a job, or even watching a film, can make a difference to your life, but I don't think it ever has an explosive impact where your life will never be the same again. It kind of seeps into your life, and perhaps realise you're a little more vigilant about certain things than you might have been.
I work with the options I have in front of me and my reasons for choosing a job can vary enormously depending on the circumstances. Sometimes I take a job because it's a group of people I'm dying to work with, and sometimes it can be a desire to shake things up a bit and not to take myself too seriously.
I don't think it's aiming at gags, I think the humour is woven into it. It's part of how the characters operate and how they deal with disaster because they're worldly enough to have a bit of irony and wryness about their own circumstances. So, I think the humour comes out of that.
So, you don't have laughs as a reference point any more, it becomes a bit of a science after that. And the last thing, you would love to be able to depend on a sense of spontaneity, but hours of waiting and then hours of repetition are not conducive to spontaneity so those are your obstacles. On the other hand it's a lot of fun. Plunging into a bit of physical comedy and abandoning all dignity, no one can really hurt you much after you much after that, once you've done it.
It's a funny thing - the reality is I have no feelings about school. It's long gone. Funnily enough, the bad memories - of which I don't have any left to be honest, I can just remember a sense of tedium - have faded. And teachers that I liked have remained quite vivid. There are three or four left.
There's no point in it unless it's a story that you really want to tell. It's a nebulous job. Unless you're doing it well, you're not doing anything. And there are a few of those. It's perfectly possible to be a passenger on a film set because if somebody else has written it, you can make nothing of that role and that's exactly what bad directors do.
There's a para-phrase about Orson Welles saying: "Great films are made by great directors and the rest are made by everyone else." I've been very lucky... before I start insulting the profession of directing, but I think a good director is everything and a bad director really is nothing at all.
Certainly, from where I stand, I'm not a specialist in wildly different walks and voices. But I find as much variation and nuance as what satisfies me in what I do. So, I don't find this particularly different. He has his own peculiarities. You're probably talking about a cluster of Englishmen in suits but I've done quite a big cluster of guys not in suits as well, which I've occupied myself with. So, I don't find that this is the one that stands out.
I think the dictator director is based upon stories from the past. I don't think anyone would put up with it now. There are a lot of people on a film set with egos. So, to be completely authoritarian, you'd probably have to have a reputation like Kurosowa or somebody to get away with it.