I stay away from heavy-handed stuff,..
I stay away from heavy-handed stuff, the good guy and the bad guy. It just doesn't interest me; all it does is create more fences between people, I think.
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The properties of people and the properties of character have almost nothing to do with each other. They really don't. I know it seems like they do because we look alike, but people don't speak in dialogue. Their lives don't unfold in a series of scenes that form a narrative arc.
I find television, and particularly live television, very romantic: the idea that there is this small group of people, way up high, in a skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan, beaming this signal out into the night.
I never thought of myself as a wealthy person. I've thought of myself as a person who has had a lot of luck. I don't have the same stress that other people have, but there are too many things I could have done differently if wealth was what I was after. If I was all about money, I would have lived in L.A.
I can't complain that I've had a public all through my writing life, but people don't quite know what I've written. People don't read you too closely. Perhaps, after I've died, they'll look at my stuff, and read it through, and find there's more in it. That may be wrong, but that's what I comfort myself with.
I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval whether you deserve it or not.
People don't understand this: if you want to have a really good shot at succeeding, there are doors you have to slam in people's faces and say, 'This is my priority, and you can't depend on me to help you.' I was never good at that.
I know some people who live this much more insulated life in Los Angeles, where their feet never touch public ground. They walk out of their bathroom, their living room, they get into their garage, their car, and the next thing you know, they're at the valet parking of the restaurant or the store or the office. They're in a bubble the whole time.
I've had a relatively charmed life. I loved to be out in the city. New York was my town. I've had people come up to me and say, 'You're a great New Yorker. You've given your time and money to so many New York charities. You're a great supporter of the arts. I like some of your movies - and some of your movies suck, actually.'
There's less critical thinking going on in this country on a Main Street level - forget about the media - than ever before. We've never needed people to think more critically than now, and they've taken a big nap.
A lot of people want to not wear a tie when they go to a restaurant. They feel they don't have to wear a tie. I think it's kind of a statement they're making. I don't know what that statement is. I haven't quite figured that out yet.
When I wrote 'The West Wing,' the juice behind it was that in popular culture, our leaders in government are generally portrayed as Machiavellian, or as idiots. I thought, well, how about writing about a group of hyper-competent people?
There's three things: there's masculinity, there's intelligence, there's sensitivity. You've got to bring those three things to a leading man's role: masculinity, sensitivity, intelligence. In some people, there's a little too much in the mix of one or the other.
There are some times when you make films and you travel places, and the take that people in the business have is that the worst way to see a city is to shoot there, because you work these long 12, 13 and 14-hour days, and you go home to the hotel, you eat, and you pass out.
But HBO is less interested in how many people are watching than in how much the people who are watching are liking the show. They didn't set up their business model to make writers happy. It's just a nice unintended consequence.
Let's face facts, this is visual medium, there's a very high premium put on people who are good-looking. But the minute you rely on that you get yourself in trouble. You certainly don't make a career out of that anymore as an actor.
The way we divorce in this country hurts people on the deepest level. The ripple effect and resonance of it is remarkable, vast - vast - and if I ever went into Parliament, I would become very involved in that.
There is no better way to give comfort to an enemy than to divide the people of a nation over the issue of foreign war. There is no shorter road to defeat than by entering a war with inadequate preparation.
Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Ultraconservatism is, to me, so illogical. Everywhere you go, conservatives want to cut, cut, cut, cut - cut money for powerless people. So, that's the biggest problem I have with them.