Personal Quotes
  • ‘Pain is such an important thing in life. I think that as an artist you have to experience suffering. It’s not enough to have lived it once; you have to relive it. Darkness is not a pejorative thing.”
  • “There’s a lot of skeletons in my closet, but I know what they’re wearing. I’m not gonna act all ashamed of it” – on her early career.
  • It was total naivety that got me to Hollywood. I thought it was going to happen straight away. I told myself ‘give it 5 years, there’s no way I’ll be here after that if it doesn’t happen’. Cut to ten years later!
  • On set is where I feel comfortable. The red carpet stuff, talking about the film, explaining your own life, it doesn’t come naturally. It’s all necessary stuff I suppose but it’s not my strength.
  • I find myself gravitating towards drama. It interests me. In the books I read, the paintings I like, it’s always the darker stuff.
  • For the record, I am actually British as well as Australian. People always think I’m Australian but I’m happy for the Brits to claim me back. I’m offering myself up.
  • Instead of thinking ‘how can I slow the ageing process?’ I think ‘how can I bend the rules?’ Every year you add to your life, you’re going to add a different experience to your face.
  • Whatever is said about roles drying up, I intend to keep working. Certainly now the roles couldn’t be more interesting – playing mothers, divorcees. I think it’s going to be exciting to play a mother of teenagers. The longer your life, the deeper it gets.
  • My mum put me in drama classes when I was about 14. I’d been going on about it for some time, so maybe it was a way to shut me up.
  • “We’re so afraid of death in our culture, but I think if we understand it better, then we’ll appreciate the life we have more.” – in response to 21 Grams (2003).
  • “I’ve had people who’ve seen 21 Grams (2003) say, ‘Wow, you’re so brave to be looking like that’. This shocks me. I think that’s what an actor’s job is, to lose yourself in a role”.
  • You have to make peace with yourself. The key is to find the harmony in what you have.
  • If I have to produce movies, direct movies, whatever to change the way Hollywood treats older women, I’ll do it. If I have to bend the rules, I will. If I have to break them, I will.
  • Even during my most intense scenes with Sean Penn (in 21 Grams (2003)), we found ways to have fun. Sure, I have my dark moments, but I’m the girl you’ll see driving down the highway singing to Blondie.
  • It’s always nerve-racking to take off your clothes on film. But doing it with a woman felt safer than with a man. You know you can say, ‘Don’t grab me there: That’s where my cellulite is’! [after being asked if it was hard to do a love scene with a woman (Mulholland Drive (2001)]
  • I always love being in the company of women. It’s all about good conversation and great wine.
  • “The consequences are that you fear and dread being abandoned. You get a little tougher, and it’s more difficult for you to become intimate. The pros are that you can adapt to any situation and that you’re open to new surroundings. A lot of people get stuck in their ways, but I embrace change.” on moving frequently when she was younger.
  • “The biggest place I look for validation is from my mother. That’s the little girl in me that will never grow up.” – on why not having an Oscar yet doesn’t faze her.
  • That ad recently turned up in a magazine in Australia. My head is in my hands as I’m sitting at as desk, thinking, ‘When can I start using tampons?’ I was quite old, but I was supposed to look 12″. – on one of her first gigs.
  • I’m a tomboy now. I always wanted to fit in with my brother’s group, so I climbed trees and played with lead soldiers. But I’m a woman’s woman. I never understood women who don’t have woman friends.
  • Yeah, I suppose I am ordinarily drawn to the darker stuff. You won’t find me in a romantic comedy. Those movies don’t speak to me. People don’t come to talk to me about those scripts, because they probably think I’m this dark, twisted, miserable person.
  • “Every time I dress up to go somewhere, I say this is who I am: like, I feel like a Russian hooker tonight. A long time ago, I put on a Stella McCartney top with a huge amount of feathers, and I had really black eye makeup and stringy hair. My mom was like, ‘That top’s not working’. But that’s what I looked like, a Russian hooker”.
  • I keep saying to myself, Oh, God, I’m sick of playing these dark, harrowing roles. I want a big paycheck, so put me in some dumb romantic comedy any day.
  • When I had dark hair I definitely felt that I was more anonymous.
  • I had gotten to a place where I truly believed everything I was called: ‘not sexy,’ ‘not funny,’ ‘too intense,’ desperate.’ All those labels they gave me, I took them because there wasn’t a trace of my true self left. – on the struggles of her early career.
  • To be appreciated or recognized is everything to an artist, but to be placed in a category where judgment occurs is awful, and yet we are all liars if we can’t admit that we haven’t all chased it or dreamed of it, even just a little bit.
  • Every time I’d think to book a ticket to leave L.A., something would come up-even just a three day job or something. That was enough to keep me invested. I still pinch myself when a certain director calls and says, ‘Would you like to read my script?’ I don’t take any of it for granted because I struggled for so long.
  • Yes, I’ve had six great years of being in a position where I can pick and choose a bit, but it’s not like I suddenly feel so calm and relaxed about that. Having spent a large portion of my life with a constant struggle and trying to find ways to make it work, that’s what sticks with me.
  • There’s a set of rules out there somewhere that says it all ends by 40. I hope to be able to defy that because I truly love my work.
  • I don’t think I’m really the go-to girl for that sort of cheery popcorn movie. I’ve done that little bit of lightness in King Kong, and I Heart Huckabees was definitely goofy, but I just don’t connect that well to romantic comedies because they’re usually so formulaic and not really based in truth.
  • I’m not this dark, twisted person. Yes, I have my demons and this is my way of exorcising them. It gets them out – and better out than in. Actually, I think that it’s the comedians who are the darkest people on the planet, because they think life’s just bloody hilarious. – on the usual dark roles that she is known for.
  • To be a producer is not something that I look at as a position of power. I just think that I have these great connections, let’s use them. I believe in it. You believe in it. Let’s do it.
  • I’ve done a few remakes now, as you know. And my philosophy is, you see the original film once, and that’s it. You have to do whatever you can to shut it out, because you don’t want your performance to be tainted. You don’t want to fall into the trap of comparisons, basically.
  • Auditions are just so humiliating and degrading. You get a five-minute time slot for a part you’ve spent six hours or more studying for or thinking about, and you get into these rooms full of people who barely make eye contact. They’re bored and frustrated that they can’t find the right person, energy that is instantly crushing and which makes it hard to shine. Going through that process over and over, you become so wounded and guarded that it’s impossible to give you best stuff away. That’s why I will never forget what David Lynch did for me. When he cast me in Mulholland Drive (2001), I was literally at the lowest place, and yet he managed to pull away all those masks.
  • It was quite difficult to turn off during the end of the day. Most people will ask me, ‘Was this scary to make, scary to watch?’ Usually the answer is no, because in most films, you shoot out of sequence so everything’s fragmented. But this film was shot very much in chronological order and it pretty much takes place all on one set. Michael doesn’t cut a lot — one shot is held for endless minutes. So it was hard. The set was at times a very tense place – On filming Funny Games (2007).
  • They both had such difficult parts. Michael, particularly, had endless amounts of dialog, and Michael Haneke wanted to shoot long takes without angles, which meant both guys had to be very much on their game. I was so impressed with both of them. They’re very fine actors and although they struggled with it — playing these hideous, psychotic people — I think there was some fun in it, too. Michael Pitt is also someone who works from a very organic place and Haneke had lots of instruction for him. You feel very trapped and confined. And the material is so heavy and it makes you so very tense. – on Funny Games (2007) co-stars Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet.
  • Since this was a remake, there was the fear that you’re going to be compared to the original actors. The fact that Michael was designing each shot the exact same way as the original meant that you had to do the same blocking and tread the same steps as those actors. And then you think, oh wow, how can I invent this character, how can I find this scene in my own organic way? Michael’s way is so mapped out — I’d go to the sink, go to the fridge, then back to the sink — it became such a heady thing and it’s not like I prefer to work. I like to feel it and surprise myself. – more on Funny Games (2007) writer/director Michael Haneke.
  • Aside from the endless discussions and imagining various scenarios — the ‘what-ifs’ — I happen to know two people that had been held hostage in their home. To know even two people is scary; it reminds you that this sort of thing really can take place. – on preparing and relating to Funny Games (2007).
  • It was the character that drew me to this project. It’s a genre film, and you get all those moments that you get in a genre film, but you get a little bit more. I think it’s more psychological. And the character has her own personal journey to go through, and I particularly liked it for that reason. Rachel starts out as a flawed person and not the greatest mother. She’s not asking the questions, she’s a little bit driven and focused on what she thinks is the right thing to do, which is work, work, work, survive, survive and provide for my child. But it’s only after all the drama and the chaos happens that she realizes that it’s not just about that. It’s about spending time and asking the questions and recognizing what your child needs before he states it. — On what drew her to The Ring (2002).
  • Yes, I did. I saw it once. I read the script and I really liked the script. I got excited about it, and then I managed to get hold of the copy of the Japanese version. It was particularly difficult to find as I was shooting a film in the south of Wales. The video store people looked at me blankly.
  • And when I got hold of it, I was in my hotel room alone and watching it on a very small TV monitor, and I remember being pretty freaked out. I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it. But then, after that, I didn’t want to look at it too much, because when you’re doing a remake, I think it can be dangerous, because seeing how the other actor played the role could corrupt your own ideas or take you in a direction that’s not exactly where you would have planned to go — On watching “Ringu” before shooting The Ring (2002).
    I’d have to say when I found out that my son was watching the tape. And then again, when I was totally exasperated at the end. … I really felt like I was touching on melodrama, and you’re just going for it, and you’re just like shrieking, and you’re always afraid that it’s too much, but it really warrants that in the story. It’s really about trusting Gore, because we’ve got to make sure that everything is paced well up to that point so it isn’t melodrama. Obviously, it’s a very, very dramatic situation, and she’s reached that point where she just can’t take it anymore. So you’re doing it on the day and you’re just always concerned how it’s going to play out in the structure of the story.
  • And then also, I’d have to say that the horses on the boat was particularly difficult. I mean, I felt terrible for the horses, but we had the animal people there who were watching very closely and telling us what we could and couldn’t do, and everyone on the set was incredibly quiet and respectful in order not to spook them anymore than they were already being spooked. … But it was great. I think it’s a pretty powerful scene. — on what her most difficult scenes were in The Ring (2002).
  • Well, in Mulholland Drive (2001), I played these two characters that weren’t based on any reality and they were very extreme people. I felt this character, “Rachel Keller”, was very ordinary even though she’s presented with extraordinary circumstances. She’s a normal person who’s just a mother and to her everything is OK. Life is just dandy.
  • Then this horrible thing comes into her life. She’s forced to question her sanity. It seems completely implausible and then the journalist part of her goes out the window and it becomes about survival for her and for her family. It’s pretty intense — On what attracted her to the role of “Rachel Keller” in The Ring (2002).
  • It’s a bunch of images that are really quite nasty. They don’t exactly correlate but you work out what they mean later on in the story, and that alone is pretty scary — On the videotape in The Ring (2002).
  • I went straight from one movie to another. I had about a week of rehearsal and that was my preparation. It was a huge movie and I had like a billion costume, changes and things like that took precedence over any acting preparation. But really fear is a pretty simple emotion to play. It’s a pretty good driving force, so imagination really was my key — On preparing for The Ring (2002).
  • [on her role in Fair Game (2010)] I’m probably one of the few people who can say I breastfed my baby while packing a loaded gun.
  • I’m so not feeling in my best physical shape and there I am having to strip naked — which I’d never even done before [on her role in Mother and Child (2009)].
  • I’m incredibly grateful for being in a position where the phone still rings and the calls are still coming in from directors I respect. I feel like my intentions are the same as they have always been. I can’t be seduced into doing (a film) for the wrong reason. The moment I do, I’ll probably fail.
  • Everyone said I was an overnight success, but it was ten years leading up to that.
  • [on The Impossible (2012)] Who knew I’d be swimming for six weeks? After King Kong (2005) I swore to myself that I would never do anything action-driven again, because it just about killed me. But it’s sort of like childbirth. You forget.
  • [on undertaking the role of Diana, Princess of Wales] It’s definitely risky. But having said that, it’s a story that has to be told. We like to look back on big stories, and it’s a little fresher, perhaps, than Henry VIII.
  • [on her Oscar nomination for The Impossible (2012)] I just want to have a good time and then have a great party afterwards. Emmanuelle Riva was the performance of the year, but Jennifer Lawrence did a beautiful job too. And Jessica Chastain. They’re all great performances. And – how do you pronounce it? – Quvenzhane [Wallis] was great too.
  • Believe me. There’s nothing natural about a red-carpet experience. People scream your name at the top of their voices, 100 of them at a time, and it just makes your heart leap out of your chest. I don’t like being in loud places any more, all my friends call me Granny! My favorite thing is welcoming people in to my home.
  • [on being directed by David Lynch] He’s in it with you. Once he was on his megaphone, calling out in the middle of a scene “Go get him, Naomi! Twist their balls off'” But when you ask questions he doesn’t give you answers. He wants to maintain the mystery, even for us. I love it. Everything he does is weird and esoteric, but it’s rooted in truth.
Info taken from imdb.com