I remember once imagining what my life would be like, what I'd be like. I pictured having all these qualities, strong positive qualities that people could pick up on from across the room. But as time passed, few became qualities that I actually had. And all the possibilities I faced, and the sorts of people I could be, all of them got reduced every year to fewer and fewer until finally they got reduced to one - to who I am. And that's who I am.
It's kind of a unique concept, but it's totally real, isn't it? ... I mean, these paramedics put themselves in incredibly stressful situations, are killing themselves to save our lives and they're not really regarded or appreciated.
I don't find the same things funny that many other people seem to find funny. I don't really respond to sex jokes and things like that. Some of my friends look at me and go, "Come on, Nic, that was my best joke. Why aren't you laughing?" I go, "I really don't know why I'm not laughing. I'm sort of out of sync with it." So I'd have to find something that was really about weird human behavior for me to laugh.
Without impending on your own personal choice, there are going to be those that wear the hat of religion and those that wear the hat of science. I still don't really understand why they can't wear both hats, because personally, I think that they go beautifully together.
I'm at the point now where I know I'm doing something right when a movie gets mixed reviews, because then I'm not in the box. I don't want to make it too easy for people and I don't want to make it too easy for myself. I want to try something unusual.
That was one of the reasons why I wanted to tell the story of Colin Price. I saw someone in this fictionalized political character that was trying to do something important for his city. He meant well, but then you see that the human flaws had really derailed his past. It seems to be happening more and more in our country. I wanted to hold a mirror up to that.
Feel like real time unfolding. It's going to smack of reality and feel as real as it can ... The buildings themselves aren't (shown) ... The movie's about what happened amongst this handful of men when the buildings came down.
My father used to say to me, "It doesn't matter what the profession is, but if they're the best in their field, it will always be fascinating to watch." And I said, "Really, dad? Even like someone who makes pencils?" "Even someone who makes pencils, it will be fascinating to watch."
I invite the entire spectrum, shall we call it, of feeling. Because that is my greatest resource as a film actor. I need to be able to feel everything, which is why I refuse to go on any kind of medication. Not that I need to! But my point is, I wouldn't even explore that, because it would get in the way of my instrument.
You often feel like you are on a high wire with no net productions because you have to rely on spontaneity and come up with ideas on the spur of the moment - and then what happens is that there is electricity to it that gets caught.
I think that movies can help guide us through those experiences [the problems that are happening in our daily lives, the stresses between countries, the economy and global warming]. I think all art tries to grapple with, redefine, come to terms with, express what's happening now when it's working. You can be entertained, but you can also be stimulated to think about things.
There were two movies that asked me to go to Australia or New Zealand for long periods of time. One was 'Lord of the Rings' and one was 'The Matrix.' But I was actively involved at that time raising my family, and I couldn't really take that time out.
I always say to myself that if I can make a movie that makes a kid smile or gives them some hope or something to get excited about, then I'm applying myself in the best way that I can. I don't think that just goes for kids. I think that it goes for adults, as well, and for families.
I'm one of those people that feels that Americans that shouldn't do Shakespeare... The rhythms of the English language and the mannerisms of the English speech seems to work effortlessly with William Shakespeare, but when Americans do it, something seems stuck.
I have a love-hate relationship with New Orleans, which is the strongest sort of relationship. I've had some extraordinary, beautiful, poetic experiences in this city and I've had some terrible experiences in this city. I'm drawn to New Orleans, in many ways feel I grew up in New Orleans, even though I'm from the West.
I'm an enormous admirer of Christopher Lee. He's somebody, along with Vincent Price, who I celebrate, and I wanted my movies to show that celebration and that honoring of these great film stars that were unafraid to go into horror and Grand Guignol and the macabre.
Often you hear stories about never working with children. I disagree because children still have that residual magical thinking. They haven't had their imagination knocked out of them by turning into adults and life experiences.
Snakes are sometimes perceived as evil, but they are also perceived as medicine. If you look at an ambulance, there's the two snakes on the side of the ambulance. The caduceus, or the staff of Hermes, there's the two snakes going up it, which means that the venom can also be healing.
With the advent of this kind of TMZ culture, it sadly seems to have infiltrated the vanguard of film commentary. I see these reviews sometimes where I think, well, you have a right to say whatever you want about my work, and I will listen whether it's good or bad and see if there's something that I might work with, but personal issues don't have a place in film commentary.