I’m stuck on a scene. Not quite a scene, but an opening. A crucial introduction. It has to be just right, and of course, I can’t give up. I’m not going to throw up my hands. I’ll just keep trucking.
I also enjoy searching out interviews with artists and actors I admire, taking in their thoughts on life and professionalism—much of which also boils down to no surrender. Stubbornness, persistence, heels dug in. Being true to yourself. You know what I mean. I found some gems from Mickey Rourke. I’m going to cut and paste a lot of it. Call me lazy, but the truth is that you can hear his voice in his words, and it carries a different meaning that way. Paraphrasing isn’t good enough.
I didn’t understand what it was to be a professional, to be accountable, to realize that there would be circumstance and repercussions for my actions if my fuse was lit. I didn’t care back then. It was a matter of respect and principle. And honor, respect, and principle can turn out, as I learned, to be a weak thing instead of a strong thing. But where I came from, that’s the way the men are and that’s the way I always wanted to be. There’s always going to be that in me. I just gotta adjust it and behave and realize, “Wait a minute, if I do that or say that, I could pay the price for that even though it’s the truth.”
Even though it is the fuckin’ truth, where I short circuited is when I realized how much of a business it is and how political it is. You can [be] mediocre and be a goddam movie star, for crying out loud, which, like in sports, there’s a lot of gray in the movie business, and I guess it’s always been that way. But for some reason, I was offended by that. But I guess because I studied so hard to be the actor that I am at the Actor’s Studio. Back when Lee [Strasberg] was alive, I got in there and I looked around and I saw Pacino and De Niro and Walken and Keitel, Chuck Gordon and all these people that gave a fuck about their work about being, you know – And then you go out and you start doing it and you realize they just want you to show up and know how to be a businessman. I mean, not all of it, but it just seemed that there was – At the time, that’s where I think the short circuiting began is when I lost respect for what I thought was so precious.
And this, from Playboy (which is a long, long, fantastic interview):
I think it’s instilled in you at a very early age. When you have to bend, you think, I’m going to bend, but I’m not going to break. And you channel that as you grow older. I used that same—what’s the word?—principle when I walked into auditions and said, “This motherfucker is not going to break me.”
Now, back to the book.