John Malkovich Quotes

My life before children I don`t really remember. I`ve heard references to it, but I really don`t remember.

I probably have more female friends than any man I`ve ever met. What I like about them is that almost always they`re generally mentally tougher, and they`re better listeners, and they`re more capable of surviving things. And most of the women that I like have a haunted quality - they`re sort of like women who live in a haunted house all by themselves.

I wouldn`t describe myself as lacking in confidence, but I would just say that - the ghosts you chase you never catch.

I`m drawn to a character with a lack of humanity. People give reasons for being cruel or sadistic but I think it is just a lack of humanity and concern for others. I think I`m good at them because I don`t like them. Audiences are attracted to them but I hate them. It`s strange. - On why he enjoys playing evil characters.

I was a very good baseball and football player, but my father always told me I was much more interested in how I looked playing baseball or football than in actually playing. There`s great truth in that.

Because I`ve been doing theatre so long, there isn`t a lot for me to learn about theatre acting. But there is an enormous amount for me to learn about movie acting. It`s not that I can`t do it, but it never feels quite right. I almost always feel like a race car on a go-cart track. There`s no place to unwind. Just as you get going, it`s time to go home for the night.

We`re all going to die, so the death penalty should be called the early-death penalty. And the furor about it strikes me as ridiculous. To make criminals feel what they`ve chosen to provoke others to feel would be the ideal penalty, but it`s impossible to do that. Many of them are psychopaths without conscience. People can debate all this as much as they like, but I really don`t care. I`m not a big believer in the judicial system, our laws or our Constitution. All the things Americans rave about as being sacrosanct are to me incredibly deeply flawed.

I`m supposed to be a pretty good theater actor.

(Spike Jonze wanted to borrow photographs from his childhood for Being John Malkovich (1999)) "I gave them my mother`s phone number and told them to tell her that I`m an actor and it was for a film. I don`t think my parents know what I do."

I`m not prone to talk much about what I do. But then I never have been. I mean, I don`t think hookers rush home from work and say, Honey! I had the most incredible hand-job today!"

I don`t like all of the crap associated with it. If I wanted to run wind sprints, I`d be a sprinter. Or if I wanted to lift weights, I`d be a weight lifter. - On why he doesn`t like doing research for the characters he plays.

If you don`t interfere with me, I`ll always do something really good.

It`s something I always liked. I don`t know where that came from. I always imagine it was from being very fat as a child. I was a very good baseball player and football player as a kid, but my father always told me - occasionally while striking me - that I was much more interested in how I looked playing baseball or football than in actually playing. And I think there`s great truth in that. - On Fashion.

I`m more likely to lose my temper on a film set than almost anywhere. Often the level of idiocy is so exalted that it`s impossible to comprehend.

The movie should appeal to everyone. It`s sleazy, elegant, vicious and mean, and it`s about people doing hideous things to each other. If that weren`t enough, it has a tragic end. What more could people ask for? - On Dangerous Liaisons.

I`ve lived in Europe for the better part of 12 years, and I`ve noticed that one of the big errors Europeans make is to dismiss America as having no culture. That`s an incredible mistake, and whether it`s born of arrogance or neurosis caused by the fact that America is perceived as hugely powerful, it`s wrong. For a century or two, a decent percentage of the major writers, poets, artists, musicians, painters, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, and dancers have been born in the U.S. Americans have acquitted themselves pretty well in those areas. There`s a great culture there, an enormous culture. I just don`t plain like a lot of it, but it`s OK if other people like it. (Late 1990`s qoute)

I only have two rules for my newly born daughter: she will dress well and never have sex.

Of course it`s trivial, but then most things are.

Discussing Being John Malkovich: "When I first looked at the script, the title seemed like a one-line joke, but it turned out to be a 100-page joke."

I`ve always felt that if you can`t make money as an actor, you`re either incredibly stupid or tragically unlucky.

I don`t think my parents know what I do.

You focus on how a character views the world. And, if you have talent, you focus on what they do to get what they want, on what they do when they don`t know what they want, on how they look and sound and react. I don`t go out and buy a false nose every time I pick up a script. I don`t lose or gain 40 pounds. But I think about stuff like that. I`ve done a monocle part or two. It just seems to me that monocles and canes are only useful if they help the performance.

You have to do things people see or you don`t get to do anything.

I don`t lose my temper very often now, and if I do, it`s well deserved.

It`s `Be lucky, be good, and have a good story to tell `. Cause a failure is a failure. And, believe me, I`ve had many. It`s like playing baseball. Even the best actors don`t bat 300 all the time. Sometimes, you know, you just strike out.

The other day I was walking down the street in the rural town where we live (in France) and a truck hit me, rather hard, going fairly fast. And he starts to drive off, so I chase after him, reach in the window and grab his steering wheel. And I say, `Normally, in a civilized society, when we hit someone with a truck, we might inquire as to their well being.` So he said, `I`m sorry,` and I said, `Great. Try and be a little more careful and that would be fantastic, and so sorry to have troubled you.` I walk another 30 meters and he pulls up beside me a second time -- and asks me if he can have an autograph.

I did a million things. I worked in an office supply store, I drove a school bus, I painted houses, I worked for a Mexican landscape gardening company, picking out weeds. And generally when I was doing something it somehow took my interest. In fact, it must be a kind of shallowness. When I did office supplies mostly I thought about office supplies, and then when I got on the train I`d think about theatre, and then I would do theatre. But the next morning I would go in and, you know, reorganize the paper clips. - On menial jobs he held before becoming a successful actor.

From the start I was relaxed onstage. It`s home to me.

It`s not a gift of mine, but one given to me, to be able to criticise myself and not be crushed, by myself or by others.

I`ve permitted myself to learn and to fail with some regularity. And that is probably the one thing I was given, and that I`m still grateful for.

There`s a reason screens are only this thick.

I don`t want to be boring. But that`s not always easy.

I`m very much a typical Midwesterner, and I don`t think the condition is curable.

I want to be successful. I would like it to be a success with something that doesn`t make me want to vomit all over the screening room after I`ve seen it. (1980s quote)

Film is about what appears to be. You can`t fake theater, but you can fake anything in movies. You can fake chemistry between people. You can fake sex, love, explosions, special effects, horror...

I love Charlie Sheen. If there was a Charlie Sheen For President committee, I`d be on it. With this movie, I liked the idea that when John Malkovich is in a personal jam, Charlie Sheen is the one who provides the tough love. It seemed to me to be such an invitation to nihilism that we couldn`t resist doing it. -- John Malkovich on Charles` cameo in the film Being John Malkovich

I`m more comfortable with whatever`s wrong with me than my father was whenever he felt he failed or didn`t measure up to the standard he set.

I wasn`t really raised to be the type of person to have doubts.

Some directors expect you to do everything; write, be producer, psychiatrist. Some just want you to die in a tragic accident during the shooting so they can get the insurance.

Where women are concerned, the rule is never to go out with anyone better dressed than you.

(Acting is) always things about imaginary people, imaginary events, imaginary things. That can make you know that what you`re doing is very trivial. The nature of what it is, remaining, in some way, a child. Sometimes you look at it like an adult and think, `What difference does this make to anything?` But you can say the same thing about banking or journalism or anything in the world ...

Even if you do succeed most people wouldn`t notice anyway.

I`m not terribly articulate in many ways and particularly when it comes to what I do. And, at the risk of sounding like Holden Caulfield, I don`t know if I would talk about it even if I could.

I wouldn`t say anything I ever did in film would be something I`d use the word proud about. I`ve done better work in the theater.

I don`t think, personally, I`m much like any character I ever played, including `John Malkovich` (in Being John Malkovich"). I don`t really see the resemblance at all. It`s more a frequency you transmit than something that you fundamentally are."

I haven`t physically attacked anyone in a couple of years.

I`m more likely to lose my temper on a film set than almost anywhere. Often the level of idiocy is so exalted that it`s impossible to comprehend.

I was born in the West after World War II in a senselessly wealthy country, and I never really had to struggle. Sure, there were years when I didn`t have a refrigerator or stove, but that`s nothing compared to Rwanda.

You can`t work in the movies. Movies are all about lighting. Very few filmmakers will concentrate on the story. You get very little rehearsal time, so anything you do onscreen is a kind of speed painting.

I`m not cynical. I`m merely stating a fact. Most filmmakers` entire body of knowledge is of other movies. When they describe things, they describe them in relation to other movies. That`s why we have so many cyclical movies that look like other movies. But I`m not cynical. I even go to some of those movies.

I wasn`t really raised to be the type of person to have doubts.

I can have incredible self-discipline. But see, I think it`s obviously a form of stupidity.

I don`t think I ever - even to this day - made a conscious decision about acting.

I still don`t know if I made the right decision when I went into acting. I have driven school buses, sold egg rolls and painted houses, and I have often wondered what my life would have been like if I hadn`t gone into acting. Mind you, it`s a great life, going around pretending you`re other people and getting paid ridiculous sums of money for it.

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