I've never been able to plan my life. I just lurch from indecision to indecision.
And it's a human need to be told stories. The more we're governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.
Nothing gives me as much pleasure as travelling. I love getting on trains and boats and planes.
I think there's some connection between absolute discipline and absolute freedom.
Talent is an accident of genes - and a responsibility.
Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.
If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.
The more we're governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible. Or, what's impossible? What's a fantasy?
I do take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously.
Acting touches nerves you have absolutely no control over.
I love perfumes. Every morning when my girlfriend and I come down to the courtyard in our block of flats we're assailed by the most delicious scent - jasmine round a doorway. It almost makes me swoon.
If you could build a house on a trampoline, that would suit me fine.
I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh, in many ways I am coming home.
Mellow doesn't describe me. I'm hungry every day.
Each character I play has different dimensions. I'm not interested in words that pull them together.
All I want to see from an actor is the intensity and accuracy of their listening.
It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.
If you spend any time in Los Angeles, there's only one topic of conversation.
If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.
I think every English actor is nervous of a Newcastle accent.
I'm always aware of the camera and it feels like that's the audience.
I knew with Snape I was working as a double agent, as it turns out, and a very good one at that.
Older people say, 'Oh I loved you in 'Sense and Sensibility,' and that's the only film they want to talk about. Equally, there are people who only want to talk about 'Galaxy Quest.' And there's a whole bunch of teenagers who only want to talk about 'Dogma.'
I get stage fright and gremlins in my head saying: 'You're going to forget your lines'.
In theater, you've got to be aware of your whole body because it involves stamina. It involves two-and-a-half hours and a sustained release of energy, maybe for six months.
What's interesting about the process of acting is how often you don't know what you're doing.
Parts win prizes, not actors.
There's a voice inside you that tells you what you should do.
I want to swim in both directions at once. Desire success, court failure.
I'm still living the life where you get home and open the fridge and there's half a pot of yogurt and a half a can of flat Coca-Cola.
I have a love-hate relationship with white silk.
I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it's a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.
Originally, theater was my life. It was what I assumed I'd spend my working life doing - if I was lucky. Then along came movies.
Film has to be reflecting the world that we live in, and that's all you want to be a part of. Actors inhabit the same planet as everyone else. It's a weird thing that happens when you're an actor because people hold you up because you somehow embody in parts groups of people or people's hopes or something.
You can lull the paying customers as long as they get slapped.
I was 7, and I remember being given a part in a play and thinking, This is exciting.
On film you put all your energies into a single glance.
It is an ancient need to be told stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.
I like it when stories are left open.
I never talk about 'Harry Potter' because I think that would rob children of something that's private to them. I think too many things get explained, so I hate talking about it.
I have every sympathy for writers. It's a mystery to me what they do. I can edit. I can cross out and say, 'I'm not saying that' or, 'How about we move this to here? Wouldn't that make that bit of the story better?' But where any of it comes from is beyond me. I will never write a play or a novel.
I'm a lot less serious than people think.
I mean, language fascinates me anyway, and different words have different energies and you can change the whole drive of a sentence.
I think the thing about film is, as it gets proved by a lot of young filmmakers now, that the medium will just go on reinventing itself, and so you just hope to be a part of that and not a part of some kind of endless regurgitation or 'Here I am doing what you know I do' kind of thing.
So you can't judge the character you're playing ever.
I am the character you are not supposed to like.
England in the '60s and the '70s was everything that history has said; it was phenomenally exciting, musically.
I'm very aware that when one is acting in the theater, you do become kind of animal about it. And you're reliant on instincts rather than tact a lot of the time.
I suppose with any good writing and interesting characters, you can have that awfully overused word: a journey.
When I get off the plane in England I always feel about two inches shorter.
Market forces impose certain rules before a film can actually get made.
Somebody with Debbie Reynolds' features doesn't get cast as the Wicked Witch.
I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks.
Actors are actually very supportive of each other.
What is it about actors? God knows I get bored with actors talking about themselves.
The first time that I came to New York to work properly was the mid-'80s, but I was doing eight shows a week. You have no life. Going to a punk rock club - or whatever the music was at that time - would not have been on my agenda.
I love working in New York theater.
Who I am gets in the way of people looking innocently at the parts I play.
Every so often you read a play and a character just speaks to you - almost seems to speak through you, in fact.
I can only see my limitations. That's just who I am.
On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma and Rupert from ten years ago. They were 12. I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway. A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.
I have a photograph at home of Fred Astaire from the knees down with his feet crossed. It's kind of inspiring because it reminds me his feet were bleeding at the end of rehearsals. Yet when you watch him, all you see is freedom. It's a reminder of what the job is about in general, not just being in musicals.
My parents certainly didn't have anything to do with the theater. I'm some kind of accident.
Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.
I approach every part I'm asked to do and decide to do from exactly the same angle: who is this person, what does he want, how does he attempt to get it, and what happens to him when he doesn't get it, or if he does?
Los Angeles is not a town full of airheads. There's a great deal of wonderful energy there. They say 'yes' to things; not like the endless 'nos' and 'hrrumphs' you get in England!
The point about a great story is that it's got a beginning, a middle and end.
You try to find things that are challenging and interesting and hopefully it will be the same to the audience.
You know, London is so sprawling, and you can sometimes forget that anybody else is on a stage anywhere else.
From my experience, I think that every actor has to make sure that they're in charge of their own career somehow or other.
A lot of the time I hate the theater. You think, 'I have to climb Mount Everest, again, tonight.' Oh, the theater is a scary place to be.
Any actor who judges his character is a fool - for every role you play you've got to absorb that character's motives and justifications.
It's a nightmare to sit and watch a film that I'm in. There's a horrible inescapability to it.
I was a student in London in the '70s, so CBGB really wasn't on my radar at all. Obviously, I was aware of the emergence of the Police in England and as an art student, I was very aware of David Byrne, but I suppose my musical taste at that time certainly didn't stretch towards the Dead Boys or the Ramones.
The directors you trust the most are the ones, when you ask them a question, they've got the guts to say, 'I don't know.'
The audience should feel like voyeurs. Their response is absolutely crucial.
Maverick is a word which appeals to me more than misfit. Maverick is active, misfit is passive.
My idea of a real treat is Magic Mountain without standing in line.
One longs for a director with a sense of imagination.
I think worrying things are going on in England - a real apathy.
Being on the stage in New York is always exciting because you feel like you're part of the life of the city.
I'm a quite serious actor who doesn't mind being ridiculously comic.
I don't think it's right that everybody knows everything about me.
Unless we tell stories about ourselves, which is all that theater is, we're in deep trouble.
I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time.