Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.
At the end of the day it's not about what you have or even what you've accomplished. It's about who you've lifted up, who you've made better. It's about what you've given back.
It's simple: You get a part. You play a part. You play it well. You do your work and you go home. And what is wonderful about movies is that once they're done, they belong to the people. Once you make it, it's what they see. That's where my head is at.
I'm not interested in being a celebrity; I'm interested in being a better actor and a better director.
I even asked Saniyya Sidney why she wanted to be an actor and she said, I'm serious about this. These other little kids they want to play, and I don't have time for that.
As an actor, you're a color of paint on someone else's palette. But as a director, it's your canvas and you make the painting you want to make.
Years ago, even prior to 9 11, I did a movie called The Siege. I did a lot of research with the FBI and the CIA. And I was amazed at that time (I guess we might all know it now) how little information they shared with each other. So after that, I'm not surprised by anything.
After directing the first film it feels kind of tricky being back to being in front of the camera, because I've always got one eye over there, kind of thinking of what they are doing, and how the shot is being composed. I think it takes a couple of films to just get back to just being an actor.
When you make a movie it's always interesting, because you end up in places you never would as a normal visitor or tourist.
That's what I tell young actors. You don't have to compromise. Go do some theater and wait for an appropriate role.
We've all received our share of good fortune, so that's my definition of much. A single blessing is all the bounty in the world, and if you've been blessed at all you're meant to pass some of that on. You're meant to set a positive example. That's our responsibility.
The Bible says faith without works is nothing so destiny is great, fate is great, faith is great -- but you still have to work at it. I don't just sit at home and wait for it all to unfold.
I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you gotta get on your knees in the morning to find them. And while you're down there thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory, we all got plenty.
My mother used to tell me: You gotta smile more. Because if you don't smile, the way you look at people, they'll think you're mad at them.
I'm a parent. I think we're responsible for the problems that young people have. I believe that. I don't blame them for any of it. I blame us for what we haven't done as mothers and fathers, not sticking together as a unit.
When you trust the director you want to trust his or her choices. I don't want to say, 'No, I don't like this girl or that guy, when the director really loves them. No, you want to go with what the director likes.
You don't pick black actors or black directors because they are black. You pick them because they are good. If you lend somebody 50 million dollars you want you're money back. You don't care if they are oppressed. You just want you're money back.
People have said to me for a long time, Man you're funny. I say, Well, I'm quick, but being funny on purpose, take after take -- that's why I said for me it was new territory, and so by improvising something might come out that might be good. And it's film, so they can cut it if it isn't.
I called Scott Rudin, and I told him I wanted to do the play Fences, so that's how the ball got rolling. I never said, I'll do the play, and the next year I'll do the film, I just wanted to do the play.
A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, 'Oh, I don't like it.' One might say it's the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.
I think we're fascinated by gangsters and that whole lifestyle and crossing the line. We get sort of stuck in our normal lives, if you will, and you want to be bigger than life and I think people somehow live through these sorts of characters.
Sometimes when you're the good guy, you're sort of trapped. Oh, he can't say that. And even when you're playing a real person like a Steven Biko, you're sort of stuck within those confines. So yeah, bad guys do have more fun.
I'm a positive person, so I don't get bogged down with it. If you're expecting that, if you wall in that, if you practice that, then you'll attract what you fear.
We all are doing the best we can. I would like to say that I'm a walking poster board for feminism and women's liberation, but there are things that I do in my life that deeply, deeply fall short of being a statement for being a strong woman. I am flawed as much as anyone else.
We rehearsed for two weeks in Fences, and we taped out the whole house in the front, and the rooms, and we stood it up like a play. We tried to get off book and gave people small props.
I remember my mother and father arguing about light bulbs because my father thought he could save money by putting 25-watt bulbs instead of 60-watt bulbs and my mother was trying to explain to him that her children needed to learn to read so that they could go to college. He couldn't see that.
That's where you can find things and modulate your performance and give the other actors something fresh to respond to. We've probably all worked with actors who when it's suddenly your close up, they get sleepy. I don't like that. It's selfish acting, and I won't tolerate it.
We know what hair smells like when a hot comb hits it. That's a cultural thing. We know what that smells like on Sunday mornings, usually church-related or something. In my house, it was getting ready for church and your sister was getting her hair fried.
Some said America took a step forward electing a black president. In light of the unconstitutiona l expansion of powers, lack of transparency and fueling the fires of unrest that clearly hasn't been the case. Vote based on merits, not to fill a racial quota.
Viola Davis is one of the great actors of her generation. She has one of these moments in the theater that I don't even know how to describe.
Michelle Pfeiffer hasn't been finding a lot of work recently because she doesn't like what a woman her age is offered. That's a real double standard. You get Sean Connery, who gets older and older, still playing opposite young ladies, but it doesn't work the other way around.
I had a lot of success from the start. I never really was tested for long periods of time. I got my first professional job while I was a senior in college. I signed with the William Morris Agency before I graduated.
What it taught me was forgiveness. It taught me that when people present themselves in a certain way, there's probably some back story or issue or reason for the way that they are. It's not you. It's them. And a lot of times, its about something that's completely out of their control.
Cursed be the ground for our sake. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for us. For out of the ground we were taken, for the dust we are and to the dust we shall return.
To protect the sheep, you gotta catch the wolf. And it takes a wolf to catch a wolf, you understand?
Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.
Success? I don't know what that word means. I'm happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody's eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me.
My role 14 years ago in Richard III -- that was the first time I played a bad guy and learned a lot about it -- they have all the fun!
I've worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It's not that long ago. I like to think that I'm just a regular guy.
I wasn't allowed to go to movies when I was kid; my father was a minister. 101 Dalmatians and King of Kings, that was the extent of it.
I don't concern myself with award. I'd been to the party enough times to know it really didn't matter.
Dakota Fanning is a child, but she is a wonderful actor. I don't know what a child actor is. She's an actor who's a child.
When I did A Soldier's Story, I was very young and green and thought I knew everything-now I know I know everything!
When people protest and are upset with a movie, it becomes a big hit. They hated Passion of The Christ, it worked out pretty well for the box office. So let's get that going.
I'm very proud to be black, but black is not all I am. That's my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it's not all of who I am nor is it the basis from which I answer every question.
I still have my unemployment books and I remember when I worked for the sanitation department and the post office.
If I am a cup maker, I'm interested in making the best cup I possibly can. My effort goes into that cup, not what people think about it.
I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me -- spiritually and financially.
Quotes by Denzel Washington are featured in: