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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

Godspell was a good leap for me; it was a good shop window. And although it pulled things out of my nature that weren't particularly good, in that I have a sort of insecurity and a desire for perfection, which when mixed is somewhat volatile, so what I was able to do with that show -- there were ten of us -- is we all developed into a very frank group and we could speak eye to eye with people and say, "What you're doing there is rubbish. We've got to do better than that. That's terrible. It's lazy." You know? And we finally were able to talk to each other like this. I've always tried since then whenever I work with people to speak like that.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

I know that if I'm to play tennis, if I play with Ivan Lendl my game is going to look better than if I play with my mother. So the better my partner or my opposition, however you like to think about it, the better my game. I love and I feed off that. And sometimes I have relationships with actors where that happens. Glenn Close and I have worked a lot together, and we are always keeping each other on our toes saying, "It has got to be better than that. You know that's not the answer." And I think many good actors are like that. Meryl Streep, she's very frank with me and I'm able to be frank with her.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

for ten people who dislike something that you've done, whether it be a film or a play, there will always be ten who like it. and the great -- i was going to say -- antidote for my business is that most people, being fine natured, will tell you that they've enjoyed something. if they haven't enjoyed it, they don't tell you. so you tend to be sort of cotton wooled as an actor from the actual truth. but i know, looking at my work, i think i know the true value of it, which is usually about 40 percent of what i'd hoped i would achieve, which is fine. it gives me something to go -- you know, to try to learn to improve, but i do think it's terribly important.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

I live in a world where one is constantly being misled, either by the length of one's limo, or the size of one's face on the screen, or the kind remarks of people that surround you, and I know that they are constantly telling you lies about the true nature of what you do. I think that's very important because when I work on the screen, or work on the stage, if I'm not in touch with truth, my true self, my true feelings, the true importance or nonimportance of what this skinny, six-foot one frame is about, then I'm lost. I'm an instrument. I'm hopefully a Stradivarius but maybe a lesser make. But if the sound I make is not pure, if it has been misled by a misunderstanding of one's importance in life, then you're in trouble, I think. I would be in trouble.
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Sir Peter Jackson

Oscar for Best Director

Harvey said that he couldn't spend more than $75 million per picture. That Disney, who owned him, had put a cap on the amount of money he could spend. He was wanting for these films to be less than $75 million, and we tried. Then he found out that they weren't going to accept part one and part two as two different films, costing $75 million each. They wanted to treat it as one film, and they didn't want to spend $150 million on these two films. They wanted just $75 million. So Harvey was stuck in a really bad place, and he came to us and said, "Listen, the only thing I can do is to basically make one movie, and you guys are going to have to support me here. I've supported you. You're going to have to now do the right thing, and you're going to have to cut the script down to one film, $75 million." And I said, "Is it like the first of three? Could we just do the first one?" "No, no. It's got to be the whole Lord of the Rings as one movie, $75 million, and it has to happen now," and I just said, "I don't think I can do that, Harvey. I don't think I can do it. I don't think you can actually collapse all this into one film, get rid of so much stuff, that you couldn't even call it Lord of the Rings.
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Sir Peter Jackson

Oscar for Best Director

I said, "You know, everybody who's read this book is going to be disappointed. There's no doubt about it. They will be let down, everybody. You are taking debatably the most popular, favorite book in the world, and you're making a film that is guaranteed to disappoint everybody who is familiar with the book." "Well, not that many people have read the book," (he said.) "We won't worry about that." You know, it was like relying on the fact that more people hadn't read the book than had, and wouldn't know the crimes that we committed cutting it down. So anyway, I just said -- we were in New York in the office, "the Miramax Sweat Box," they call it, a hot nasty little room, a windowless room in the middle of the Tribeca office he's got. We just said we just wanted to go home, Fran and I. We were just sick of the whole thing, sick of Harvey and the shenanigans. We just said, "Listen, we'll have to think about it on the flight home, Harvey. All right? And just give us a day or two. We're flying home this afternoon. Let us go, and we'll just give it some thought and give you a call back." And then we flew home, having no intention of doing this film.
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Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

I suggested in the first paper I published that there were at least two different kinds of hominids at this site. And I very soon thereafter began an extensive period of research with my colleague Tim White. And I remember the nights of argument in the laboratory in Cleveland, when we would literally be screaming at each other. Because he said: "There is only one species here. The big ones are males, the little ones are females. And if you lay them all out on the table, you have a gradual change from small, to larger, to larger, to largest. And there's no significant anatomical difference between the individuals in this collection. It represents only a single species, and the sooner you recognize that, the better off you are going to be." He was very forceful in his arguments. And I would go home and think about it, and go back the next morning and take out the jaws and see if I could establish a series of features that would vindicate me, and substantiate my view that there were two species. And, slowly this idea was eroded away, and I had to admit that what I had published was wrong. It was incorrect. I had made a mistake.
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