Oh, it takes a lot for..
Oh, it takes a lot for me to walk out of a film.
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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 am truly at my happiest not when I am writing an aria for an actor or making a grand political or social point. I am at my happiest when I've figured out a fun way for somebody to slip on a banana peel.
I did not have a happy family life a few years ago. I was divorced, and I was very alienated from my daughter, and I was out there cutting every ribbon and running around New York hosting events for different causes to supplant my loss because I didn't have a family to go home to. Now I don't want to be Mr. Show Business anymore.
Look at the shows that are really successful on Broadway. They're musicals. They're things that a woman will pick out the tickets for, or a man will buy the tickets with a woman in mind. It's a date. It's boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife. That's what the theater in New York has become.
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.
When a movie is being rolled out, the studio publicists and all our individual publicists get together and come up with bullet points and talking points - 'Make sure you stay away from this,' and 'Don't say that quite that way, because that quote can be taken out of context,' and that kind of thing.
A song in a musical works best when a character has to sing - when words won't do the trick anymore. The same idea applies to a long speech in a play or a movie or on television. You want to force the character out of a conversational pattern.
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.'
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.
I'm very physical. When I'm writing, I'm playing all the parts; I'm saying the lines out loud, and if I get excited about something - which doesn't happen very often when I'm writing, but it's the greatest feeling when it does - I'll be out of the chair and walking around, and if I'm at home, I'll find myself two blocks from my house.
When we were doing 'The West Wing,' the hardest thing about doing 'The West Wing' was being compared to yourself. You go out there and want every episode to be as good as your best episode. I wrote 88 episodes of 'The West Wing,' and when you do that, one of them is going to be your 88th best, so your 88th best better be pretty good.
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.
I didn't even have a clear idea of why I wanted to go to Oxford - apart from the fact I had fallen in love with the architecture. It certainly wasn't out of some great sense of academic or intellectual achievement. In many ways, my education only began after I'd left university.
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.
I always like to break out and address the audience. In 'The History Boys', for instance, without any ado, the boys will suddenly turn and talk to the audience and then go back into the action. I find it more adventurous doing it in prose than on the stage, but I like being able to make the reader suddenly sit up.
I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.
We start out a million years ago in a small community on some grassy plain; we hunt animals, have children, and develop a rich social, sexual, and intellectual life, but we know almost nothing about our surroundings.
Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.
More and more, as civilization develops, we find the primitive to be essential to us. We root into the primitive as a tree roots into the earth. If we cut off the roots, we lose the sap without which we can't progress or even survive. I don't believe our civilization can continue very long out of contact with the primitive.
Living is like working out a long addition sum, and if you make a mistake in the first two totals you will never find the right answer. It means involving oneself in a complicated chain of circumstances.
Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.