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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

I don't think it's a bad thing, but I've always had a very strong sense of self. And whenever I'm in a situation where I'm wearing the same as 600 other people and doing the same thing as 600 other people, looking back, I always found ways to make myself different, whether it be having a red lining inside of my jacket, having red shoes, it hasn't changed. Having the only bicycle which could fold in half and be dropped from a parachute, having the only Macintosh, which was -- it was a raincoat in this country -- which was shiny and black and three-quarter length. Just various things, looking through my school days. Having the only farm nearby where I could go and smoke and drink beer on a weekend without anybody knowing.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

A career seemed to me something rather like a prison sentence. That was how I viewed a career, that I would start at the bottom and I'd work my way up the ladder and then I'd retire, and after a little bit I'd die. And I thought there's nothing I want to do like that really. Nothing I want to do enough but I'd like to -- I had read a lot of autobiographies of actors, from Burbage (Shakespeare's leading man), through to Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, and all the people in between. That was while I was at school, under the notion that I was collecting them but with no knowledge as to why. But in fact, a lot was -- you know, you don't collect things without reason, and a lot of their lives soaked into me and their attitudes. And to be an outsider seemed to me to be very, very attractive.
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John Irving

National Book Award

No adult in my family would ever tell me anything about who my father was. I knew from an older cousin -- only four years older than I am -- everything, or what little I could discover about him. I mistakenly thought that he and my mother were married and divorced before I was born. As it turned out, I was born in 1942, and my parents didn't divorce until 1944, when I was two. But I was born with that father's name, John Wallace Blunt, Jr., and it probably was a gift to my imagination that my mother wouldn't talk about him, because when information of that kind is denied to you as a child, you begin to invent who your father might have been, and this becomes a secret, a private obsession, which I would say is an apt description of writing novels and screenplays, of making things up in lieu of knowing the real answer.
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John Irving

National Book Award

I think working my way through that process, begin with the end and then work your way back to where you began. Sometimes that's a year, sometimes it's 18 months, where all I'm doing is taking notes. I'm reconstructing the story from the back to the front so that I know where the front is. Now people always ask me, "Well surely something changes. Surely somewhere along the way you get a better idea." In the sequence of events in the middle of the story, that's often true. Sometimes a character I had never thought of -- a minor character or a major/minor one-- will make an appearance in the middle of the story and move the story in a slightly different way. But the ending never changes. It never has. Eleven novels, it never has changed. I might fool around with that first sentence over time, but I won't fool around with the last. It's as clear as a note of music. It is where I'm going.
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Sir Peter Jackson

Oscar for Best Director

I wanted to do something fantastical, and I thought that that would be so much fun to take that sort of Sinbad genre and combine it with computer effects. 'Cause Jurassic Park had come out. We had seen the great dinosaurs had now been done, but to actually take fantastical monsters and swashbuckling heroes, and something like Sinbad, and do a movie like that, I thought would be really neat. So I started to think about that being our next film after Frighteners, and needed to write a story -- didn't have a story -- and started to talk to Fran (Walsh) about it, and we kept referencing Lord of the Rings all the time. We just kept thinking, saying, "Well, it's got to be like Lord of the Rings," or "It should be just like that, but like Lord of the Rings, something like that's got to happen." After a few days of doing this, we thought, "Well, why don't we find out about Lord of the Rings? We talk about it all the time, and it was just an absolute assumption that Lord of the Rings would be tied up, unavailable. Just assumed that. I mean, it's such a big title, but I thought it was worth a phone call. So eventually, I called my agent and said could he find out who has got the Lord of the Rings rights.
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Sir Peter Jackson

Oscar for Best Director

We had a meeting with Bob Shaye, and Bob basically at that meeting, you know, he looked at the scripts and the various bits of artwork and a videotape that we had put together, and it was in Bob's words were, "Why would you want to charge nine dollars to see this when you could charge $27?" is the words that he used, and I thought, "What's he talking about?" It was a little bit of a mental puzzle, and then I realized he was thinking about three movies. I said, "You mean three movies?" "Yeah. Tolkien wrote three books. Why shouldn't we do three movies?" So they were immediately embracing. They saw the potential that if this was going to be as good as they hoped it would be, you'd want three of these movies, not one. You'd want $27, not nine dollars.
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Sir Peter Jackson

Oscar for Best Director

I just thought this is a wonderful story. The time is now here, both from the point of view of nobody sees King Kong anymore, and the fact that the technology has now gotten so potent and so powerful, the computing power that we have, that Kong can be done in a totally photo-realistic way. And you know, we set out to preserve as much about the original film as we could in the sense of the 1933 setting, the Depression, which is a very important part of the story, and I didn't want to lose that. I wanted the Empire State Building with him being attacked by biplanes. So I wanted it set in the '30s again for that reason.
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