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Gene Hackman Quotes

Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman quotes: learn from retired actor and novelist, Eugene Allen Hackman.

“The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.”

“Like a duck on the pond – on the surface everything looks calm, but beneath the water those little feet are churning a mile a minute.”

“I think how you face your fears defines you.  Whether you manage to live with them or try to disguise them or combat them, it’s important for you to recognize what you do.”

“‘You’ll never achieve what you want unless you really apply yourself.’  It was a fairly simple thing, but I took it to heart.  It changed the way I approached acting – that it wasn’t all about me.”

“Honesty isn’t enough for me.  That becomes very boring.  If you can convince people what you’re doing is real and it’s also bigger than life?  That’s exciting.”

“My mother and I were at a film once, and we came out through the lobby and she said, ‘I want to see you do that someday.’  And that was all that was needed.  Because I already wanted to do it.  But you have to have somebody tell you, or you need to be pushed a bit.  And that’s the only thing she’s ever said to me about acting.  Was she wanted to see me do that.”

“Things parents say to children are oftentimes not heard, but in some cases you pick up on things that your parent would like to see you have done.”

“I doubt I would have become so sensitive to human behavior if that hadn’t happened to me as a child – if I hadn’t realized how much one small gesture can mean.”

“Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.”

“Working nights in the Chrysler Building.  I was part of a team of about five guys, and we polished the leather furniture.  We had to work all night because people needed their chairs during the day.  I wasn’t very good at it.”

“I left home when I was 16 because I was looking for adventure.”

“I went in the Marines when I was 16.  I spent four and a half years in the Marines and then came right to New York to be an actor.  And then seven years later, I got my first job.”

“I have trouble with direction, because I have trouble with authority.  I was not a good Marine.”

“I suppose I wanted to be an actor from the time I was about 10, maybe even younger than that.  But I was in New York for about eight years before I had a job.  I sold ladies’ shoes, polished leather furniture, drove a truck.  I think that if you have it in you and you want it bad enough, you can do it.

“Seventy-five percent of being successful as an actor is pure luck.  The rest is just endurance.”

“When you’re on top, you get a sense of immortality.  You feel you can do no wrong, that it will always be good no matter what the role.  Well, in truth, that feeling is death.  You must be honest with yourself.”

“I don’t watch my films unless I absolutely have to.  I get very nervous.  It’s more my perception of myself, or my desire of what I would like to look like.  All I see are the double chins and the bags under the eyes and the receding hairline.  I feel like when I’m actually doing the work, I know what I’m doing and I feel good about most of the stuff that I do.  But when I see it on the screen, I have no idea if it’s good, bad, or indifferent.  I can’t be objective.  I leave it up to other people to tell me.”

“Write what’s in your heart.  To be fulfilled as a writer, you have to write something that you care about.”

“Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that’s exciting about writing, for me at least, is the fact that you can kind of get inside those people and kind of pull up all the stuff that you wouldn’t normally be thinking about.  It doesn’t take you off the hook but you kind of live with them.  But it’s still fun because it’s always a challenge.”

“If I start to become a star, I’ll lose contact with the normal guys I play best.”

“I was trained to be an actor, not a star.  I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.”

“I’m disappointed that success hasn’t been a Himalayan feeling.”

“I don’t like to talk about myself that much.”

“I’m not a sentimental guy.”

“Hollywood loves to typecast, and I guess they saw me as a violent guy.”

“I don’t see myself as a violent guy.”

“I’ve always been considered an asshole for as long as I remember.”

“Don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining.”

“You go through stages in your career that you feel very good about yourself.  Then you feel awful, like, why didn’t I choose something else?  But overall I’m pretty satisfied that I made the right choice when I decided to be an actor.”

“If you look at yourself as a star you’ve already lost something in the portrayal of any human being.  I need to keep myself on the edge and keep as pure as possible.  You need something to bring you down to a sense of who you are and who you’re portraying.  You need to remember you’re not a movie star and that you shouldn’t be too happy.  You should never take anything for granted.”

“For me, money was a passage forward.  I had a really tough time as a young actor in New York.  So when I earned a little money – literally just enough to eat and have a roof over my head – it gave me the confidence to get into acting classes, to make a step with my career.  It was extremely important to me.”

“A real man admits his fears.  That’s what I’m asking you to do here tonight.”

“I feel comfortable with what I’ve done.”

If you want something similar to read next, see Clint Eastwood’s quotes.

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