On being close to quitting acting after years of rejection: "Not quitting in the sense that I wasn't going to be an actress, but maybe move to New York, move back to a smaller market. I just wasn't happy. If I wasn't going to be happy, then it wasn't worth it. I was 30 when I got Junebug, so I had the same thing. Whoever was getting the job, I tried to figure out what they did and do the same thing. That gave me a lot of faith in times where I was going to quit."
On whether Hollywood is tougher on women: "I think women's concerns are different. Our priorities sometimes are different. And there is a reality: You're told constantly that you have a "shelf life," and I don't know that men are told that by the media, by other actors and other actresses, you're just told that."
On what else she would like to do: "I would really love to produce stuff for other actresses. Everyone talks about producing stuff for yourself, but I'd actually love to do it for other actresses."
Marion Cotillard on the role that changed her life: “After La Vie en Rose, I started to feel the need to clean up some relationships, which was really weird. Suddenly, I needed to start fresh. Sometimes you go deep inside yourself, and I think it opens things inside of you. I don’t know if you can really identify what it is, but you just need to heal. Did I answer the question? (Laughter.)”
On making mistakes: "I fought for a project and I fought for the director and then I spent two months in the middle of the desert wanting to kill him and wanting to beat myself because I fought for him and he was so bad. He had no idea what we were doing, he had no idea what he wanted to do. I wanted to choke everybody in the desert. Then I realized that if I don't trust the director, if I don't like him, I'm going to be bad. I got my French version of the Razzie nomination [for worst performance] and I really wanted to have it! I didn't want to be mean, but I had my acceptance speech: "Without this director, none of this would have been possible!"
On fear: "Fear is like the steam that fires the combustion engine. You need fear to get a performance going.
On her hip tattoo: "I started out very avant-garde [at Cambridge] -- I've sold out very steadily since then! It was more like performance art. It was me and another girl, and we were at university together. We had this stepladder, and we used to basically hurl each other off this ladder, and often we would bleed. We were 18 years old, and we just thought that was really cool and radical. I'm joking about it, but it's something I'm extremely proud of, and I had a ladder tattooed on my hip to commemorate this theater company -- which isn't, like, a ladder to my nether regions. It's the avant-garde theater troupe."
Naomi Watts on what makes her afraid as an actress: "I'm not happy unless I've got a little bit of fear going. I'm always trying to pull out. I'm always calling the director and saying, "I don't know if I can do it." With Mulholland Drive, I was completely terrified working with David Lynch. I was going on years and years of auditions and being told I was too this, too that, not enough of this, not enough of that, to the point where I was so afraid and diluting myself into absolutely nothing -- and then he just looked me in the eye and saw something. He just spoke to me and unveiled all those locked masks."
On her fears: "I always think I'm terrible. So it's always a relief when I find out that I wasn't. I've had roles where I realized that I was in way over my head -- and that is my biggest fear. My biggest fear is overreaching. I have been in situations where I felt swamped, and it's turned out really well; and I've had other situations where I've had to walk off the film after five minutes because I realized I was in way over my head."
On hosting the Oscars: "I went into it with a lot of trust and a lot of hope, and I had a blast doing it. And I realized afterwards, I played to the house; it's a 3,500-seat theater, so I was just shooting energy to the back of it and it was like a party! It was great! And I think it looked slightly manic and "hyper-cheerleadery" onscreen. But I have no regrets about doing it."
On what role she'd like to play: "I want to play Catherine the Great. I'm reading a biography on her life right now, and it's such a great story. It involves sex and the denial of sex, and she was so brilliant and there's just so much vastness. I'd love a crack at it."
Sally Field on how fame changed her life: "It's just such a different world. I've been here for 50 years, in the business. They had fan magazines, and they would set up young stars on these dates with people you didn't know, you didn't like. Recently, I was going through stuff, and I got horrified. I was doing this at 17, 18, 19, 20."
On fighting for the role in Lincoln: " I'm almost 66 and I have a lot of awards, but I fought like holy h*ll to get Lincoln. Steven [Spielberg] had asked me to do it a long time ago, like in 2005. By the time it was going to be made, the original person [Liam Neeson] had dropped out and Daniel Day-Lewis came on board, and from the time that he first asked me, a little voice inside me said, "You'll never do it, Field. You'll never do it." And I have a problem with that little voice, because that little voice sometimes becomes my self-fulfilling prophecy. A lot of my life and career has been about huge compromise, about selling out. I had no choice: I had children to raise, there are my priorities. And I also know that I'm 10 years older than Daniel and 20 older than Mary Todd Lincoln, and I thought, "This is going to be a problem." And Steven said, "Yes, I don't see you with Daniel. Sorry." But I said, "Steven, test me! I'm not walking away!" And Daniel out of the graciousness of his heart flew in from Ireland and we did some bizarre improv; but I became Mary and he became Mr. Lincoln for about an hour! When I got home the phone was ringing, and Steven and Daniel were on the phone saying, "Will you be Mary?"
Helen Hunt on her role in The Sessions and if nudity made her nervous: "My desire to be in something beautiful was bigger than my nerves. I met this woman whom I play [Cheryl Cohen Greene], and she's in her 60s, cancer survivor, grandmother, still a working sex surrogate who is as enthusiastic about her granddaughter as she is about the orgasm that the man who maybe was never going to have one is going to have. I heard all of that and thought: "Prostitutes. Let's not dress it up." But then you meet her, and you really hear what she does. It's really something, you know?"
On what roles she had to fight for: "I've had to fight for every part -- certainly As Good as It Gets. I was too young, too blond, too on-a-sitcom, too utterly uninteresting for this part. I had spent many, many years where the director would want me but the studio wouldn't. In this case, I had the reverse. I was suddenly on a big TV show [Mad About You] and I had been in a huge blockbuster [Twister]. The studio was saying, "Read her," but he [director James L. Brooks] didn't want to see me. My experience of acting is not this kind of lightning-in-a-bottle thing. It's like elbow grease: work with someone, work with yourself, find the shoes. You said, "What scares you?" What I thought of is the feeling of being bad. There's no feeling like acting when you know it's bad."
Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter