Sam Mendes Quotes (67 Quotes)


    I think movies are a director's medium in the end. Theater is the actor's medium. Theater is fast, and enjoyable, and truly rewarding. I believe in great live performance.

    I don't think of it as a competition - which might surprise you, given the way movies are reported constantly.

    I still can't quite believe it. Although there was something about the fact that it was a first-time writer, a first-time producer, and a first-time director all at the same time.

    You make the movies for audiences. You get as many people to see the movie as possible. You do not make them for Academy voters. There are only 6,000 and me. It's going to get at least one vote. I'll vote across the board for my movie.

    It's 115 degrees, you're away from trees, cars, everything. You can't hear anything because the wind's blowing. You don't have your clothes, your car, your girlfriend, anything. And I really think Jake forgot he was acting a lot of times.


    When I drive through a field, I want to see green grass sometimes, and I don't want to see black and white.

    I found that it was one of the things that attracted me to this project. It's the idea that you train a huge group of men to go to war, and then what happens when you take away the war, what happens during that period of time, which is really at the center of the movie. They turned on themselves and each other. They create their own warsAll the war literature that I had read had been about combat, and here was a story about there being no combat even though you're trained to kill.

    Comparing the two actors, Jarhead ... They're alike in some ways, both great listeners, but they react very differently. Jake is reacting to everything that passes him by, and is very readable in his reactions, whereas Peter has mastered watching as an art. He sits on it and holds it, holds it, holds it, and then it all explodes in a volcanic way. But they were both right on the edge.

    I suppose once in a while, a filmmaker makes a movie that's more than just a sum of its parts, more than good acting or good filmmaking. It's something else that has nothing to do with what you've done. This is in 1999, made by people in 1999 for people in 1999 about people in 1999.

    There'll always be a section of a war movie that gets people pumped up in the same way there will always be men who will want to go to war, ... There is something that entices them there, that can be found in no other walk of life.

    I'm from the theater, where the process of creating a character from the ground up is something that's not imposed on him. We started working on it months in advance, and we rehearsed for two weeks, and even the look of his apartment came out of discussions with him and the production designer.

    Kevin and Annette... I wanted them to do it together. They clearly wanted to work with each other.

    It always gets worse as you get older. You get more nervous, there's more to lose. He's got to live up to being Paul Newman.

    I want to try and work in different genres with different types of actors, on small movies and big movies.

    There's one thing better than having a great actor, and that's having a great actor who's never done this kind of role before and is hungry to do it. They're testing themselves every day. They want to get out of their trailer and get to work.

    Truly great actors carry their characters in silence with them. They communicate without words the relationships that predate the movie.

    I deliberately, in a way, went for something that was a huge challenge and was a big period film. I was excited about the canvas on which I could tell the story as much as the story itself.

    The movies that influenced me were movies that told their stories through pictures more than words.

    Obviously, there's a good bit of irony to that scene, ... A lot of what began in that first war (in 1991) can be extrapolated to what we're seeing today. I think those remain issues we should be talking about, even arguing about.

    I'm completely amazed and delighted. I kept my fingers crossed it would get good critical reaction, but the real surprise is that it's crossed over into the mainstream so comprehensively. I wasn't expecting that.

    It took me a long time to film the plastic bag, and then I had to get the cut of the scene right. But if you find it as beautiful as the character does, then suddenly it becomes a different movie, and so did he as a character.

    The characters are trapped within the lifestyle. It's about what goes on before the movie starts.

    People are capable of good and bad. As long as we continue perpetrating these absurd two-dimensional stories that everything is black and white - you're either good or bad - then the longer we'll misunderstand how many interesting stories you can tell in the space that exists between the two.

    I am not a master-class director. I am not a teacher. I am a coach. I don't have a methodology. Each actor is different. And on the film set, you have to be next to them all.

    We did ask, ... And luckily, instead of saying, 'Well, maybe, if you make a few adjustments,' there was some intelligent person at the Pentagon who flat-out said, 'No way.' Which is what you want, because there are lots of stories about them saying yes, then at the last minute wanting changes and, before you know it, everything's compromised.

    I'm certainly getting a lot more mail... that's basically it.

    It's very hard doing a period movie. You have to do everything, from the streetlamps to covering up the road markings. Every bystander has to be in period costume. You have to plan very carefully.

    They thought the book was evil and a bad advertisement for the US Marine Corps.

    Actors get used to scenes being cut.

    One of the reasons I loved working with Tom is people feel they know who he is... I think working with an actor who the audience already has a relationship with actually helps you in a film like this.

    I wanted to keep exploring... I'm not about to choose a series of movies in which I can use the same bag of tricks and style that I used in the first film.

    For me, certain shots or scenes are keys in the movie.

    You've got to work. You've got to want an audience to sit forward in their chairs sometimes, rather than sit back and be bombarded with images.

    I froze for a bit, in truth-for about six months after the Oscars... There were lots of scripts landing on my desk.

    If you lived through the shooting of Jaws, you can live through anything.

    I like throwing snowballs at small children.

    I think one of the things I was worried about with Jake was that we all know him, soft and puppyish and doe-eyed and sensitive and floppy hair and all of those things, ... This was a tough, young Marine. Yes, he was innocent and he needed to be accessible but he also needed to be angry, frustrated, difficult, dark, doubting, all sorts of other things and I'd never seen him do that before.

    As I got everything wrong at the same time-costume, design and performance-it made it easier in a way, because I could see the film I didn't want to make.

    The bad thing about all this awards stuff is, it pits one film-maker up against another, it pits one movie up against the other. But, the good thing, there's no big movie this year that's gonna blitz everybody. You don't have to see all these movies and debate. And that's great.

    Directing, I realize, on film is far more personal, you know. Cinema really is a director's medium. This is a very personal film.

    Tony's book confronts head-on the idea that the reason the men joined up is because of these movies. It gave me the opportunity to shoot this moment where you're shooting a bunch of guys about to go to war who are watching a movie about a bunch of guys at war, knowing that our film will be seen by a bunch of guys who are possibly going to go to war. It's all a weird discussion of how movies affect us.

    Actors get pigeonholed very quickly, particularly movie actors. In the theater, one is more used to casting people against type and trusting that their talent and skill will get them through.

    There is an immense, childlike enthusiasm about the man. It's inspiring when you work with a 77-year-old man who has that kind of love and excitement still in him about what he does. And like Paul Newman, each day is like the first day of his career.

    I think that's a wonderful thing when there's somebody at the top of their game but they still want to test themselves.

    You think about taking audiences on a journey.

    You try to explain what you see. You have to do it with everyone. You're explaining how it looks, how it feels, its atmospheres and colors, what you feel thematically, what you feel the film is reaching for. You hope that they want to make it with you.

    The perceived wisdom is that people do not go in large numbers to black-and-white movies anymore - which is a great shame, but I'd love to make a black-and-white movie one day.

    Thank God I don't live in Los Angeles. I think if you're there the whole time it just gets out of proportion and you lose touch completely with reality.

    There's good and bad in everybody. I wasn't looking for the good, or looking for the bad. This is a man who signed his pact with the devil 20 years ago, and he's learned to live with it. He's tried to protect his family from it.

    You do things bit by bit. That's the only way to play something really original, where the details stand out. You're not just showing us a cliched, generic character that you've seen before.


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