Something in me was instinctively drawn to the life of a misunderstood, brilliant and wilful artist. I wanted to become one.
The thing early on that you think is ‘wrong’ with you, that makes you not fit in with everyone else, becomes the key to your career as an actor. Start embracing it.
I think the knowledge that that’s what you wanna do and there’s nothing else that you wanna do is actually the main ingredient in succeeding at it.
My highest ideal is to choose roles that uplift people or teach them something. I always wanted to communicate something like that, I think I’m sort of a “closet politician”, but I find it far more satisfying to do it through art than to do it through politics.
The first time I’ve ever heard Frankie Valli I was a little kid, he was singing “Sherry”. And I remember thinking to myself “why they’re singing like a girl?”. All these years later, playing Frankie Valli on Broadway, I’ve often thought to myself “now you are singing like a girl, so you are getting your payback for that disrespectful comment that you made when you were 7”.
I like the idea of taking a can of SPAM and making it into jewelry, something like that you revere and put in a case, I think that’s a funny irony.
My special interest in President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is how do we make arguments to our opponents, in ways that they can feel, in ways that they won’t forget and that are incontrovertible.
The arts are not just someone making a drawing, and many people think that that’s all they are. Because they don’t go through life thinking about art, or realizing that the box of “Ritz” crackers that they are drawn to in the grocery store, they’re drawn to because it’s not a white box that says “cracker” on it, because there’s art on it that attracts them to it.
The arts are important because you don’t teach empathy in a math class.
If you wanna be a good citizen (in America) you should know Spanish.
If you don’t speak Spanish in America, it’s like going through life with one eye closed.
Clint Eastwood came to my trailer and we had a little talk. And he told me a story about there’s an actor who told him a story, when Clint was a younger actor, about Laurence Olivier, the famous actor, and what he would do before he would go on stage before every performance was he would imagine that the entire audience was against him and he’d hate them, he hated the audience. And when the curtain would come up the audience couldn’t keep their eyes off him, because they could feel this energy from him and they didn’t know what it was and it was that he hated them.