In this post, you will find great Script Quotes from famous people, such as Eddie Campbell, Eric Stoltz, Margot Robbie, Shailene Woodley, Jean-Louis Trintignant. You can learn and implement many lessons from these quotes.
When I auditioned for ‘Pitch Perfect,’ I didn’t know it was a singing movie. I didn’t read the script. I go to the audition, and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a baseball movie.’ But then I’m reading the lines, and I’m like, ‘This doesn’t seem like a baseball movie.’
And that’s what I really love, is finding a script and fantasizing and going to a different world and kind of portraying a character that is interesting. Because other lives interest us, that’s why we read magazines like ‘People’ and try and fascinate and drool over what other people are doing.
There have been times – and not just on ‘The Newsroom,’ but on ‘The West Wing,’ ‘Sports Night,’ ‘Studio 60’… – where it was hard to look the cast and crew in the eye, when I put a script on the table that I knew just wasn’t good enough.
What I look for in a script is something that challenges me, something that breaks new ground, something that allows me to flex my director muscle. You have got to think fast in this business, you’ve got to keep reinventing yourself to stay on top.
I don’t think I had a script on ‘King Kong.’ But usually you read a script and then you go and audition for it. It’s rare when there’s no script. I sort of like the latterbetter, because I’m more successful at it.
I think that you can’t make a movie without a script. But you also can’t make movies without actors. You also can’t make movies without technicians. And there has to be just one person in charge of everybody, and to me that one person is the director.
Frankly, as much as I love to improvise, it hasn’t been difficult to stick to the script on ‘Mad Men.’ The writing is so precise, and the story so carefully crafted, that I don’t think there’s room – or need – for ad libbing. I could never come up with dialogue as lovely as these writers do, anyway.
To be honest, I never went to school for acting, and I never learned to break down a script. I took acting classes my whole life, but they never taught me anything about acting. They just taught me about myself.
I am a fan of all genres. My big thing is to serve the purpose of the script and what the director wants. If it’s a comedy, I want to be funny; if it’s action, I want to bring the action. If it’s drama, I want to be the catalyst for that drama. That’s the fun part; it never getsboring being an actor.
As far as I know, if you take your time, write a good script and make a good film, then give the audience time, they will accept it.
I remember that when I got to NYU, everyone was writing scripts. But I was 18 at the time, and when you write a script, so much of it is about what you pull from life, and this sounds sort of cheesy, but I felt like I didn’t have enough life experience at that point to write a movie.
It could be a great script but the director is not the right person for me to work for at this time. So there are a lot of elements that come into play and a lot of variables, but more than anything it’s got to be a great script and a great character.
What you see in my script may not be what’s in the film. Sometimes it’s a very scary thing, when I have to shoot in the morning and the scene’s not good enough, and it’s only me there, and there’s no signal to even call the others and say, think of a better line.
Whereas with Sirk, everything is always filmed. No matter what the script, he’s always a real director.
What has always been at the heart of film making was the value of a script. It was really the writer who could make or break a film. But as we all know, the writer has always been at the bottom of the creative heap.
My agent sent me the script and I loved it. I wondered how they would turn me into a chimp. My agent said it would probably not entail to much time. Just some hair and make-up. I found out that it was not so simple.
Script for an actor is like a bible. You carry it with you, you read it over and over, you go to your passages.
Generally, if a good script comes in I read it, and if it appeals to me, it appeals to me. And it doesn’t have to be anything – it doesn’t have to be the main character, it doesn’t have to be a huge part. It could be a nicecameo – anything that I think is good and surrounded by good, enthusiastic people.
The script is the coloring book that you’re given, and your job is to figure out how to color it in. And also when and where to color outside the lines.
I like challenging parts, something I haven‘t done yet, something that scares me. There’s just a feeling I get when I read a script that I love, I feel an attachment to it, a yearning to play that character.
When I do a movie, I have the script. I know how it begins and how it ends. I know what my character does and where he’s going. If I have ideas I want to express or changes I want to make, there’s one guy: the director. It’s different in television.
The thing I noticed about Jack was when we did a reading of the script, just to warm up.
The script for ‘Infamous‘ was so poisedbetween tragedy and comedy. It’s a dream part. One reads those scripts with a sense of melancholia. When you read a script that good… I remember thinking, ‘Oh, this script is too good. They’ll never give it to me.’
All actors bring something unexpected to the role because they have to translate what’s on the page and make a real character out of the black-and-white text that’s there in the script.
When I meet a good actor, I would like to be a director. When I meet a good director, I would like to be an actor. When there is a good script, I would like to be both a director and an actor. The switch is very natural, not intentional.
I would love to direct a western. I love taking photographs and I’m always fascinated with angles. Also, my father was a film editor, and I have a talent for thinking of things that aren’t always in a script.
My approach to acting is that I am totallyintuitive. I read the script and I get it. If I don’t get it, I can’t do it.
Jerrypicked up the technique of visualizing the story as a movie scenario; and whenever he gave me a script, I would see it as a screenplay. That was the technique that Jerry used, and I just picked it up.
I only sound intelligent when there’s a good script writer around.
Well, you know, I never want to feel like I have a set plan of what I’m supposed to do. I kind of like to go script by script, and if I like the character and like the story that’s why I want to do a movie.
I love ‘Safe Men.’ Now it’s getting all this culty kind of – it just came out on DVD. That was awesome. I read that script, I never laughed so hard in my life.
In my first film, we always tried to have a script and work in a normal way, but I was constantly changing things during shooting. Because I worked as a scriptwriter for 10 years, I understood that directors always wanted to change what was originally written, to improve on it.
I liked it because it was such a dangerous script and showed just what human beings are capable of. Here was a movie in which Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who always win in every movie they ever do, simply don’t win. I felt that was outrageous for a commercial movie.
You live for those really great scenes where you almost feel that the film has gonebeyond what was printed on the script pages and been raised to another level.
A good script makes our job a lot easier.
I was a little bitwary of playing Nicholas. In the script, which I think is true of the novel and the film, he’s the only character not singing and dancing in a musical style. Playing someone who is the personification of good is a little difficult.
You need the words, you need the script, you need the material, you need the commitment, you need the passion, it’s like we depend on writers, we depend on producers, directors depend on us and once things are in the divineorder as they happen.
I’m a filmmaker; I want to make films. I don’t want to sit in a hotel room waiting to make films, and I can control my thing in Denmark; I can make the film I want to make… of course, I have to write a good script, all that, but if I do my job, it will happen.
Coming from an action background, I always approach the action sequences in any script as kind of placeholders.
I always try to stick to the script because I want to respect the writers, and I want to respect the director. But if the director and my fellow actors are okay with me playing with it a little bit, then I definitely want to play with it.
I always choose my projects for the script or what the director want to tell with that story. And if I like the story.
‘Sparkle‘ fell into my lap. I had heard a little bit about it, that it was being redone in early 2011. I was just kind of like, ‘Oh, that would be really cool,’ and not really thinking too much about it, and then it came through my agency. I read it, I fell in love with the script and I went in to audition.
Inside me, ‘Dragon Ball’ became a thing of the past, but later, I got upset at the live-action film, revised the script for the anime film, and complained about the quality of the TV anime. I guess, at some point, it became a work that I like so much that I can’t leave it alone.
I don’t work for the commercial success of the film. I work to satisfy my producers who give me the money. I work to satisfy the director who has written a script for me. Of course, I have to satisfy the actor in me, but I want to satisfy them first.
It was pretty much the way that it was when I first read it, although one exception would be that some ideas that I had were also incorporated into the script.
I love TV, don’t get me wrong. But with film, you’re just banging out this one product and you’re not waiting on another script. You have your script. It’s great, in that way.
I don’t worry too much about the script, I just ad lib, like Pearl Bailey.
For me, it’s always the script. The script which gives me the chance to do something new; that has been my primeobjective ever since I started acting. There’s nothing else that excites me more than that.
If you’re locked to the words on the script, as good as those scripted words are, if you didn’t have the time to rehearse them correctly or if the perceived dynamic between the actors is different from what the writer imagined, and you’re not allowed to stray from that, you’re going to have a stilted scene.
I’m a huge Emile Zola fan, and when Bill Gallagher said he was writing a new character for ‘The Paradise‘ and had me in mind for the role, I knew I wanted to play Tom Weston before I’d even read a word of the script.
To try to create a character without a whole lot of information can be taxing. At the same time, it’s fun to just stay on your toes and let the next bit of dialogue come in, and turn the page as you read the next script and see what they have in store for you next.
I remember when my first child was born, and I had a script that was due, and I asked the guy I was writing it for, a guy who I’m now friends with but at the time was not friend with, ‘Can I have some extra time? I had a kid born.’ He’s like, ‘No, we need it now.’
I created the characters from what I read in the script. I decided how I should talk, accent, no accent, my own voice, or a created voice. Then, I visualize what I should look like.
They’re still working on the script – they’ve got to get that nailed down and they want the first movie to come out obviously, not get too ahead of themselves. But yeah, it’s looking good. I love the second book a lot as well, so kind of diving into that is awesome.
Most actors really love it, that’s what they want to do. They burn to do it. And so they’ll read a script and think, that’s an interesting part. And because they love acting, that blinds them to the fact that the rest of it is pretentiousnonsense, which it very often is.
I remember the first reading of the script we had and everybody was sitting around the table. I was very impressed with the level of acting that was in the room, particularly with Jennifer who has so much responsibility.
I wrote the script of Patton. I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I was fired. When the script was done, they hired another writer and that script was forgotten.
Frankly speaking, it’s only the script that matters to me the most. If I like the script, then I just commit to myself and go ahead with it. But I also look at the commitment and confidence of the director of the film because it’s him who will shape the film.
I wanted to do a film for a while, but I never found a script that I felt I was going to be the right person for; because if you’ve never made a film, you’re not taught how to make a film, and you feel like you lack skills.
All of a sudden, those few pages of script that he had shown me with the weird images I could visualize all of that in my brain, and I knew that there was this mad little genius at work here and I really wanted to do the film.
It was, when I read it, I thought, such a beautiful script. I loved the story. I thought it was well handled. I thought it was even more moving because it was a true story and that made it even more poignant.
Dave Chappelle asked me to come do his show. I read the script, and I said, ‘Has he lost his mind?’
I like challenges. That’s why if I read a script, and I feel, ‘Oh, I can’t do this,’ I’ll take that role, because if I feel like, ‘Oh, I can do this,’ I don’t want to take that because I can’t learn from that film.
And I tell ya, when I sit in that sound booth and started reading the script and starting to get into the character, man, it’s an easy jump for me, because I understand what it’s all about.
Different directors have different things, so when I left Mike Leigh, as it were, and I went into other projects after ‘All or Nothing,’ it took some getting used to – what do you mean there’s a script?!?’ That kind of thing.
We thought we’d write a good script for women, giving them the fun roles that generally men get.
I read so slow. If I have a script, I’m going to read it five times slower than any other actor, but I’ll be able to tell you everything in it. It kills me that there are standardizedtests geared towards just one kind of child.
When the script was written, it was sent to me with asterisks marking where he felt a song would be appropriate. Before the film was shot, the score was written. I made a demo of it, so they lived with the music as they were making the film.
I did all my directing when I wrote the screenplay. It was probably harder for a regular director. He probably had to read the script the night before shooting started.
I read the ‘Kapoor & Sons’ script in a half hour, forty five minutes. Not because I skimming through it… I read it like a book. By the end, I was blown away. I picked up the phone and said, ‘This script is gold.’
I worked in script development, many years ago, and read a lot of scripts. Between that and the scripts I’ve read as an actor, and I’m a writer as well, I think I have a pretty good sense about whether the bones of a story are there and whether the structure is intact.
And I’m auditioning right now for a movie, and then I have a script that I’m reading right now for a horror film, and I’m meeting for a couple of television shows that I just had yesterday, and pretty much was offered one of them.
At the same time, reading an action script… It makes me wonder. Was The Matrix a good script? I don’t know.
I’d like to do the young cadet thing again for sure, but that’s why I wanted to do this, to see if I could do it. I took the scenes out of the script and put them together and read them as one little arc, story and that seemed to work.
We have the script, we have the actors, and we’re trying to figure out what this is, and you don’t know what it is. You have to be open to what it’s going to become rather than have this thing that you’re trying to get to, which is boring.
If you think you don’t want to play another psychopath, but the script is amazing, and the director is fantastic, and the story is incredible, then you may end up playing your third psychopath in a row.
When we shoot 24, there are so many things I have to worry about, from the script to technical things to my performance, that I don’t have a second to be bored or take anything for granted. We produce 24 hours of film a season, which is like making 12 movies.
You can over-think things. If the script’s good, everything you need is in there. I just try and feel it and do it honestly. I also don’t learn things for auditions, because I feel like it’s just a test of memorising rather than being real.
Of course you want to be good and you want to do the best you can, but I am inspired by great writing. If there’s something about the script, that’s what I go for, although I know that that doesn’t always translate because sometimes it’s about the vision of the director.
I believe that a good comic script can succeed despite being drawnbadly, but that a bad script can’t be saved by good art. Of course, great writing and great illustration makes for a great comic 100 percent of the time.
Possibly because I did start off as a journalist, my starting point has always been that you’ve got to keep an audience with you. Whatever you’re doing, you always want a script to be a page-turner. It’s very important never, ever, to feel above that.
I got it into my head that I was going to be starring in movies that I wrote, so that’s what I did. I stopped acting in all things, and I wrote my first script, which was optioned a week after I finished it.
I’m not one of these actors who can make a bad script good. Some actors, a script can be terrible, and they can bring something to it and make it really special. I can’t.
You can dress it up, but it comes down to the fact that a movie is only as good as its script.
Three years into getting ‘The Witch’ financed, I was hanging out with my brother and he was like, ‘I’m working on this script. It’s a ghost story in a lighthouse.’ I thought, ‘Damn, that’s a really good idea, I wish I’d had it.’
I like both music and acting, and they both have a lot in common – timing, immediacy, stuff like that. But acting is more regimented. You wait around for hours, you don’t get to write the script, you get hired. Music represents me better. I’m not acting; I’m just expressing myself.
People don’t think of genres anymore. The script is all that matters. And as long as it appeals to my sensibilities as an actor-producer, I’m on.
Why not provoke some thought and get people talking about things? I like characters that are flawed because we all are. When people break up in a script, you think, Oh, right, there must be tears shed here. But maybe the fact of the matter is that they’re both laughing.
I had heard that Robert Duvall was interested in doing ‘LonesomeDove,’ and he’s one of those actors with whom I’d work on any project. So I tracked down the script and started to bug the producer, Dyson Lovell, to get in there.
We did have a script, but it didn’t consist of the routines and gags. It outlined the basic story idea and just a plan for us to follow. But when it came to each scene, we and the gagmen would work out ideas.
I know that I wouldn’t mind going back to work if I could find the right script and the right crew to work with.
I do actually dabble in a bit of poetry! And I’m yet to pen a script, but it is something that I’ve been telling myself I want to do.
I was deliciously happy filming ‘True Blood.’ I even kept all the scripts in my office, which I never do with any script. Although I did shred them all in one go when the series finished; it seemed like a ritual, somehow.
You can win more arguments then you might think as a writer, even though you legally have no recourse, and your script can get muddied and altered in any way possible. You can use reason, logic, and passion to argue persuasively for a case in your favor.
I like to rehearse with the actors scenes that are not in the script and will not be in the film because what we’re really doing is trying to establish their character, and good acting to me is about reacting.
As an actor, there are many confusingfactors that can make you take or not take a decision. It becomes difficult. Your first and last checkpoint should be the story. I always read a script as an audience.
There is always something funny going on between scenes with Adam Sandler. He’s always crackingjokes and yelling at people for no reason. It’s pretty funny. He’ll joke around during scenes, too. When he guest-starred on ‘Jessie,’ there was nothing in the script that he said first take.
If you are making a script based on a book it can be frustrating going back to the source novel, because you’re turning the story into a totally different thing; the narrative of film is different from that of a book.
I love improv. ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love,’ the script was really great, but the directors were open to letting you try different things. And that felt like a muscle I hadn’t exercised in a really long time.
The truth is, a director wins an Oscar for a writer’s script and actors’ performances.
I think the first thing I consider is whether I like the script. Once that is done, the next thing I look for is my part in the movie. Many a times you come across good offers, but the part they are offering might not be challenging. So, I don’t take up that film.
As much as most of the actors were kind of curious to know what their character meant in relation to the script and to the plot, they really were quite happy to be part of the adventure of not knowing.
It’s too bad about ‘Dark of the Sun.’ It was really about Tshombe. When I read the script, I thought it was going to be a political movie, and I thought we might even have a hassle. But the director simplified it to brutality and bad taste.
‘Warm Bodies‘ was a more long-term thing; I had to write the script, who knew if it was every really going to happen, if I’d find the right actors, and so on, so I grabbed ’50/50′ because I just fell in love with it.
Quite often, I’ll be sent a script for a movie. And I find that I like it, so I say I’ll do it. But then they rewrite it for me. They make it quirky. Odd. I find that rather annoying. I call it Walkenising.
If there is a book that the script came from you have to read it, you have to see what you can get out of it: mood, back story and things that may not even be in the film. They kick off your imagination and broaden the character, I think.
I’m thinking about directing, but I know it’s a lot of work and I appreciate what directors do and I would like to be good at it. The opportunity has presented itself four to five times, and I usually said no because of the script.
It’s always about trying to make everything go with the music, like a script. It’s not like, ‘Let’s have a confetti gun!’ If I ever have one of those, it will be because it’s absolutely the right thing at the moment in the song. I can’t just go get a confetti gun.
For me, I never take a job thinking it’s going to grab ratings or that it’s even going to be a success. I don’t. I just take the job because I love the character. Or I love the script. Maybe I love the director. But whatever I do, I never think about how it will do. That is not in my hands.
In general, when moviemakers talk to scientists, they usually see them as a resource to solve particular technical problems or script problems for them. So, something like: what sort of weaponry would aliens be able to wield?
I was on vacation with my family when I got the scripts for ‘Wanderlust’ and I was trying to work on the audition while I was on vacation. I remember a big gust of wind blew the entire script into the pool, so I had to dry it with a hairdryer.
My plan was to go to New York and do some theatre, and then I got the script for ‘Psych.’ I was like, ‘Ahh – just as I thought I was out, you pulled me back in!’ I had a great meeting with the show creator and we laid out the parameters to make the show work: what I would do, what he would let me do.
In television you don’t have a lot of time to spend with the role or the script. Typically you get a script a week prior to shooting. Sometimes it’s even less time, not enough time to dream about the role.
When you make feature films, you have a script, which is a bible. The final result should be as it was written down on paper. And in documentary, you can write whatever you want, but life brings you situations where you have to be fast thinking, fast moving.
And when I’m on set, I’m just thinking about the script and of working. I think I’ve stayedfocused on the work so much that I haven’t really noticed my life start to change except for I’ve gotten busier.
Film and television are just different. Film is cool because it’s a completepackage. You know the beginning, middle, and end. You can plan it out more, which I like. But with television you get a new script every week, so it’s constantly a mystery as to what you’re going to be doing.
Of all the stars whom I worked with, I think Steve knew better what worked for him on the screen than any other. He had such a sense of what he could register, and that helped a lot in terms of shaping the character and the script.
They’re naughty, all those writers – they mess around with people. I know James Gandolfini got a bit fed up on ‘The Sopranos‘: if he said anything in front of a writer, told them a story from his life, it could make its way into the script.
I’m never certain of a performance – my own or the other actors’ – or the script or anything… But to me it seems there’s only one place in the world the camera can be, and the decision usually comes immediately.
The big lesson of Reagan is: To think that he was some sort of simple figurehead and didn’t do the thinking and simply read a script in front of him woefully underestimates him. Ronald Reagan was an extremelyintelligent person with a real V8 engine under his hood.
Sometimes when it comes to the iconic kind of moments, when I read the script for the first time, you get little goosebumps or something because it really is kind of exciting.
But I loved the script to 7th Heaven and couldn’t say no. It made me laugh and cry, and I was hooked. I’d love to know who turned it down, because I’m sure at least one other actor did. But I’m glad he did, whoever it was.
I always overwrite – really awful, long bits of script – and then I trim it down to the bare bones and then add a little bit to colour it in. At the end of all of my stories, I test for wordless comprehension. So I remove the text and see if it works by itself. And if it does, I feel that that’s a successful story.
Sometimes you take a job for the money, sometimes you take it for the location, sometimes you take it for the script; there are just a number of reasons, and ultimately what you see is the whole landscape of it. But I can tell you from behind the scenes – that’s what it is, as an actor.
When I read a script, I have to see the funny, and if I can see it’s funny, it helps me to be able to transmit that.
It was cinematographerGeorge C. Williams who first told me about ‘Sakhavu.’ He said that the script was good and asked me to listen to it. Later, Sidhartha Siva called me and narrated the script over the phone.
I was a novelist first. But in the mid-’80s, I did work in television for ten years. And yes, that was frequently the reaction to my scripts. People would say, ‘You know, George, this is great. We love it, a terrific script, but it would cost five times our budget to shoot this.’
It’s a hard thing to do, to be given a script, and know that you’ve got to turn up on the first day of the shoot – generally without having had any rehearsal – and present a character. It’s really baffling; it’s incredibly hard to know how to begin, to approach it, other than just thinking about it.
Robert De Niro taught me how to listen, and how to be part of the conversation. It’s not just about reading your lines and saying what’s in the script; you have to understand your character, along with the other characters so that you can always respond.
Long ago, I did a five-and-a-half-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week talk show for four years, early on, in Los Angeles – local show. And when you are on that many hours with no script, you know, you get very comfortable, maybe overly comfortable with that small audience.
My sister and I said, Dad, are you doing to do anything about that? And he mentioned treatments other people sent him that he’d been working on. So we thought it would be kind of cool to give these guys a real script.
Rae Dawn Chong
If I put the script down more than once, there’s a good chance that I probably don’t want to play the part.
I think that my script, if it gets used, would be great. But if it doesn’t, I think it inspired them.
Chris Columbus, who directed the first two HarryPotter films and was the family comedy king through the ’80s and ’90s – ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ ‘Home Alone,’ etc. – has acquired rights to ‘The Cypress House’ and is working on the script himself, with intent to direct.
It’s funny because I was offered film parts the first week after ‘The Office’ went out. I was sent a script, and I said, ‘Who’s the lead?’ They said, ‘We want you to be.’ And I said: ‘Well, who’s going to go and see that? You want John Cusack.’
If I read the right script, if that script needs $5 million, if that script needs $50 million, I don’t care. If I read a project that’s beautiful, that I really want to make, whatever it needs, it needs.
I found Hollywood pretty bruising and uncreative. The executives are all in thrall to the boss, and spend their times double-guessing him or her, and trying to remember what he/she said and then applying them to the script, whether it was useful or not. They’re all in fear for their jobs.
Fox came to us with the concept for ICE AGE and they came to us with the first draft of the script. They also gave us a mandate to make it into a comedy from what was previously a rather dramatic action concept.
When ‘Pune-52’ was offered to me, I liked the script, but I wasn’t convinced about the kissing and other intimate scenes. I tried talking to the director, but things didn’t work out.
If I had even the tiniest scrap of advice to give to a young actor who was figuring out how to audition, I would say don’t memorize the script… The reality about auditions is that 98 percent of the results has to do with what you are, not with what you did in the audition.
You can’t do things for money. You just can’t act them. There’s gotta be something about the script that you really want to do. I wouldn’t do a job if I didn’t think I could do the best work I possibly could.
But when you’re writing a script – for me anyway – you have to sort of create an enforcedinnocence. You have to divest yourself of worrying about a lot of stuff like what movies are hot, what movies are not hot, what the budget of this movie might be.
The final product in a play is not just the written word. It’s the production, the performance. The script is, of course, a very important piece; but it’s only one element. Ultimately, yours is one of several voices. People can change your work in a play for better or worse.
I tend to get comfortable with the dialogue and find out who the person is in the script and try to hit that. People are sort of independent of their occupations and their pastimes. You don’t play a politician or a fireman or a cowboy – you just play a person.
When good things come in, my agent calls or sends me the script. But I allow them to sort through the offers so that I am not just sitting and reading everything because honestly, sometimes the scripts that appeal to me are projects that are not good projects, but I just really like the script or the characters.
I would love to do another hockey movie. There are a lot of people in Hollywood looking for the right hockey script.
I’ve learnt that I’ve had the best results from just trying to be me, trying to make a movie or TV show I want to see or write a script I want to read, and that’s really all I can offer – being authentic.
Writing a great script – not just a good one, but a great one – is almost an impossible task.
The script is a blueprint for the film – there are very few bad scripts that make good movies. If you really like the character and understand the utility it serves within the movie, that’s a part of my process.
When I was in New York, a lot of my friends were studying filmmaking and would bring their scripts to me, as I was a good script doctor. I would read their scripts and make corrections to them for $20 per script and was fascinated by films.
My friends, we all improvise together usually. So we write what I think is a good script but always leave a lot of room to find stuff on the day; and we always do find something. That’s the advantage to having actors who are, in their own right, writers.
I always tend to see, right after reading the script, the character and how I want to play it. I guess that’s sort of most of the work, preparing for the role, but almost the creation of the character seems to go on as I read through the script.
We all had our reservations about possibly overdoing it but, you know, the script was great. Basically it stuck to the formula that worked for the first two movies, and for that reason I think this works as well.
Personally when I listen to a script, I think from the audience’s point of view. I would ask myself whether they would like to see me in this role?
It’s really cool when the thing you are working on as a small team gets embraced by millions, but in the end, it’s about your character and the script and your director and the rest of the cast and crew.
Producers on Broadway approached us with an original script after relaunching ourselves as ‘A Great Big World,’ and wanted us to write the music. They asked us to make the music we would sing if we could, and so we can go a little crazier. We refer to it as ‘our music on steroids.’
I think a playwright realizes after he finishes working on the script that this is only the beginning. What will happen when it moves into three dimensions?
I’ve been quite lucky in that I’ve managed to tick off a few of my dream roles, really. Beyond that, you wait for the next script to come in that will have the dream role that you don’t know exists yet, I suppose.
I remember going to Bob Preston’s dressing room because I was losing a laugh – as you do in a long run. He said, ‘Give me the script. That’s where you’re going off the road.’ That’s comedy. It’s never the line itself; it’s in the foundation.
Together with script writers Sid Green and Dick Hills, we worked on the comedy ideas for this series.
The green-light meeting, when I first started at Paramount, would consist of maybe three or four of us in a room. Perhaps two or three of us would have read the script under discussion.
I’m a character and relationship guy, and even with the ‘Saw’ films, it’s special-effects people’s jobs to create these scary things. It’s not my job. My job is to bring some sense of humanity to the character, no matter how evil he may be. The script is going to take me there.
This new movie, ‘Full Moon in Blue Water,’ I loved the idea of working with Gene Hackman, who is a great actor, but when I read the script, I threw it right into the trash can, because I didn’t like this woman. She was just a doormat.
When Raghavendra Rao garu approached me to do a film on Lord Venkateswara, my initial response was ‘What more can we do than Annamayya?’ But he asked me to go through the script, and I really liked it.
I was one of the first to read the ‘ER’ script and the good news is George Clooney still gives me credit for helping to launch his career. I had George Clooney under contract for four years in a row before ‘ER’ happened. He’s one of the few who remembers the people who helped him.
That was, in writing the ‘Twilight‘ script I had about five weeks to write that. I’d taken about a month to write the outline and then it was slam into a script and write it down fast because the writer’s strike was looming.
I prefer working, period. I think that I like doing film more just because when you get a script, you have the story from start to finish, so you can really find the character’s arc, and when you walk away from it, you know you’re sort of powerless to what happens.
Whether you believe it or not, you have to understand the politics. In every script, there is a political bend that the writer has included. Whether you like it or not, is on you. But it’s very important to know that politics.
I really believe that when you’re playing a character that everything is contained in the script. If I’m pulling from things from my own life, then I think I’m being disingenuous to the character and the story.
For me, the work begins with a rough cut of the film. I can’t do much with the script. I’ve tried to write music to a script prior to seeing the film, but I’ve found it turns out to be a waste of time.
The thing is when you play a character it’s the persona you bring across from a book to film, or book to script to film. If I play Frank Sinatra, there’s gonna be things I do in a movie that Frank might not have done, but it’s the personality that comes across.
Things have got to add up to 100 points. The script is part of it, the character is part of it, the people I’m working with is the third part of it – and any combination of the three has got to add up to 100 points.
If you get a script and it’s really well written, that’s always exciting.
When I choose projects, I don’t stipulate between film or theatre or television. I receive scripts and I read scripts – and when I read a script that’s good, I then get married to it and talk to my agent about what happens next.
You’d go in, read the script once for timing and then you would sit around and play games. The sound effects people would come in and we would do a dress rehearsal so they could get the effects and the music cues in place. Then you would wait until you went on the air.
I get work because I’m primarily a novelist but I’ve become script doctor. I can work back and forth between French and English.
Shiddat’ is a beautiful story of love and the strong bonds between people. It is pure and intense and also very relatable. I am usually not a love story kind of person, but when I heard the script, it moved me a lot.
If I get a script that’s set in the jungle it goes to the bottom of the pile because I don’t think the playgrounds are going to be very good there! I’m really aware of how lucky I am but I have the kind of job where I can bring my child to work.
When I was 21, I wanted to write like Kafka. But, unfortunately for me, I wrote like a script editor for ‘The Simpsons‘ who’d briefly joined a religious cult and then discovered Foucault. Such is life.
Our audience is all the girls who made Britney a huge star. Those are the girls who bought the book. I didn’t read the book at first. I read the script just to see what I would think of the script and I really liked it.
But once we got on the air, everybody except Morey Amsterdam pretty much stuck to the script.
What I mostly do is take the script, analyse the hell out of it, see what’s in there, see what kind of person I’m dealing with, and then forget I’m playing a father and just play a person who exemplifies all those things.
I feel I do my best work when it’s all there on the page, and I feel that the character is very vivid as I read the script and I’m not having to create stuff and trying to cobble together something. If I have to do that, then I don’t entirely trust what I’m doing.
For the last four or five years, I had been in the position where I didn’t have to take a pilot. I took this one because the script and the people were terrific. It never frightened me. As we were doing the pilot, I could tell that it was working.
I think the script is the key. Regardless of how great everybody else is working on a film, if you’re working on a script that you don’t think is great, you’re not gonna be able to make a great film. Whereas if the script is great, then you can.
When you first read a script is the purest moment. That’s when you can understand how an audience will ultimately receive it. The first reading of the script is so important because you’re experiencing it all for the first time, and it’s then that you really know if it’s going to work or not.
The bottom line is, it’s a great script and that’s very inspiring and makes you want to overcome whatever technical difficulties you come up against.
The reason we shot it was that the script was geared to Las Vegas and it was something commercial that we wanted to have in the can in case Butterfly was a success and we needed a follow-up.
House was the first film where I had no influence on the script. I had to buy the script with the game rights.
You make a decision whether you just work on the script and believe in every moment and pick out every moment, or if you sit down and memorize lines. Once you really dig into a script, learning lines becomes almost second nature.
Most actors go, ‘I read the script and fell in love with it’; I fall in love with the directors.
Directors are our teachers, and I’m always craving to work with a great director. They’re pretty much the first thing that interests me about a project. Let’s put it this way: It’ll take me a lot longer to read a script if there’s no director attached.
If you have a script that’s not great, if you have a great director, you can make a great movie, but if you have a great script with a director who’s not good, never are you going to have a good movie.
I’d never thought much about a series, because I liked the idea of picking a script I liked with a character I thought I could sustain for an hour. In a series, you live with one character day in and day out – and you only hope it will be one that will not drive you crazy.
If you read the script, and the character’s got something in it that you relate to, then I am keen. But I really think, a lot of the time, my successful auditions are those where I really care about the characters.
I would love to sign on to do a movie if it was the right role and if it was the right script, because I would be taking time away from music to tell a big grand story, and spend all of my time and pouring all of my emotions into being someone else. So for me to do that, it would have to be a story worth telling.
Every movie you attack has its challenges, and I was excited about the challenges presented by ‘Deadpool.’ I was a huge fan of the original, and I think, as a director, you have to put the script first.
For me, being an actress, my responsibility is not to pay attention to all the noise around me and to pay attention to the script and the director and protect the character and try to tell her story the best I can.
Many times, when a director reads a script and wants somebody who says ‘Far out’, then they let me do what I want with it and that’s usually more interesting for an actor.
Well, usually, when you’re doing a sitcom, you get a script and every word or for the most part, is written. So, you know, if it’s a 30-minute sitcom, then it’s a 35-page script or something like that.
I’d love to do a sci-fi movie, a western, or an espionage thriller. But I’m not going to limit myself. If a good script comes along, I’m not going to discount it because it doesn’t fit into one of these genres.
Howard Minsky had gotten the script to her agent prior to my involvement.
‘Liberace’s a great film. It’s a great piece of material. I have a great script and it’s a great score.
‘Sleepless‘ was a script that had been written by three or four other writers before me, and it never really worked, but it had this amazing ending on the top of the Empire State Building that just worked, no matter what came before it.
I personally take cues directly from the script, then I like to surprise the other actors. But you must maintain control on a level and see how far you can go up, down or out emotionally. You have to balance the craft with spontaneity.
It wasn’t the greatest script in the world, but not many people can say they’ve played a wicked king in a swashbuckling Arthurian special-effects monster movie.
There was one film that I really wanted. This was a long time ago; it was a film called ‘Fracture.’ Ryan Gosling ended up doing it with Anthony Hopkins. It wasn’t a giant box-office success, but I really enjoyed the script, and I enjoyed the character. I got pretty close and was kind of disappointed it didn’t go my way.
When James Cameron brought me the script, which I developed with both Cameron and Jay Cocks, I wanted to make it a thriller, an action film, but with a conscience, and I found that it had elements of socialrealism.
I almost always do things that I like, in some form or fashion. Every once in awhile that means that I don’t think the script is any good and I don’t have any trust in the people, but the film is shooting in Sri Lanka, or somewhere like that, so I’m going.
For me, being an actress, my responsibility is not to pay attention to all the noise around me and to pay attention to the script and the director and protect the character and try to tell her story the best I can.