If you don't know each other you spend time doing research together, having dinner, and talking about your lives. You try to find common ground. Once you're shooting, the pressures are so intense; you really want to have a channel of communication open to you already.

Growing up, movies were something my family and, later, my friends and I would stay up all night talking about. The movies I remember moved me and forced you to think about things that made you know yourself better.

I have nothing against diamonds, or rubies or emeralds or sapphires. I do object when their acquisition is complicit in the debasement of children or the destruction of a country.

I've never been one of those guys who storyboards every frame, because that would take away some of the mystery and some of the fun.

There's a great tradition of actors taking on parts of much less obvious sympathy.

When my own son was 12, we didn't want toy guns in the house. So he just picked up a stick and went, 'Bam! Bam! Bam!' That's the testosterone of a 12-year-old boy.

There is a segment of the American population that has been excluded from the national myth, and that should be redressed.

The military has been actually remarkable at dealing with race, but gender is an issue.

The ronin were those masterless men who roamed around, and yet they found themselves getting involved in circumstances they hadn't expected.

'Milk' doesn't imply that all gay men who stayed in the closet were cowards.

I had known a couple of people in college who went off the rails, who had significant bouts with mental illness.

It's hard not to want to become Ken Burns at times. I'm interested in being a Ken Burns who reaches that 17-year-old who goes to the multiplex just to see a good story well-told. And if there's history in it, all the better.

I think every culture - you can call it an American Ronin, a medieval knight errant, you could talk about 'Shane.' There is an archetype that I think is actually common to a lot of cultures, and even the Clint Eastwood stuff was probably as influenced by the Japanese stuff, and yet done by an Italian.

The issue of assault in the military is something that they've gone to great lengths to try to deal with - and have not entirely dealt with yet.

The phone that you carry around with you. It's not just that it's a locator for anybody who wants to actually find out where you are, but it's also a leash. It's a reminder just how tethered you are.

Stories are one of the means by which a culture preserves its identity.

Yes, illness is serious, but the indignities are also funny. And that defines my world view.

In the necessary memorialisation of the six million dead, there had been precious little attention paid to those who survived and how they survived.

It's a harder time to make original, less conventional movies. But God, we need them!

I, for one, suffer from a little bit of superhero fatigue.

I guess television is so much on the word. It's so much closer to playwriting - the scale is more just about the voices and the internal lives. Movies, it's a very different canvas.

If I try to think objectively about myself and my work, I would say I want to be intuitive and distinctive.

I've done all sorts of different kinds of action. We did a thing in 'Blood Diamond,' the attack on Freetown, where I carefully staged the action but did not show the camera operators what we were going to film - so it has the feel of documentary, trying to capture something, and that gave it a whole different feel.

A sex scene is gratuitous when it only exists for its own sake.

I like to reveal people with some of the niceties of social behavior stripped away and the moral, ethical, and political issues are revealed.

In my office, we were talking about the fact that they'd announced a remake of 'A Star is Born,' and I was bemoaning the idea of a fourth remake. And the young guys who work in my office were giving me blank looks, like, 'What's 'A Star is Born?'

The thing that has always interested me - amidst the scale, the historical spectacle, or the social significance or the political resonance - has been the relationships.

Movies, as I grew up loving them, were always about something.

The idea that things can be serious minded but must be somehow balkanized in the art-house ghetto is very upsetting because I think it limits not just the audience who was already going to see it, but those who might have had their tastes developed at a younger age.

I tend not to go look at movies before I make a movie. I'd rather not be specifically influenced.

I would say that 'Schindler's List,' as powerful as it was, seemed to have continued with a particular iconography of victimization and passivity. That was the iconography with which I had grown up and to which I had grown accustomed.

I don't think movies can ever be too intense, but people have to understand why you're showing them the things you are showing them.

I think that I am interested in the resonance between character drama and high stakes, either situational or political or social or other kind of elevated drama, and I tend to find that those things combust.

I've enjoyed the singular focus of not going back and forth between the two mediums. It isn't about the screen size so much as film being where the stories I'm most interested in telling happen to be at.

I know that when I'm writing, I always want to be directing.

I think there is a very powerful wish that we all have of being self-contained and having sort of opted out or choosing to remove ourselves from society and to have no ties and no obligations, and even no possessions. To be free in a particular way.

Romantic comedy has come to mean a couple of moderately talented actors placed in implausible situations obliged to go through a set of paces that are all too familiar, the end result being neither romantic nor comedic.

You can spend an extraordinary amount of time raising independent money to do a movie for very little means. I've done it with 'Pawn Sacrifice.'

I like to do everything I can to avoid rehearsals, even while we're rehearsing.

My job is to tell the truth about what's happening as best I can.

I really look forward to that opportunity to be a student and discover things. That keeps it interesting for me. And I sometimes get easily bored, and there are still some things I wanna talk about instead of repeating something.

The Beatles in 1963 came to America and became international celebrities, but Bobby Fischer was one of the first, as Elvis was, more in terms of the message created around him.

If a director is really a director, I think he's interested in more than one thing.

Ironically, it's easier to raise the money to make the film than it is to have the film find wide distribution.

People make the assumption that you're only interested in one thing based on the most recent thing you've done. But some directors can be pretty promiscuous about their tastes, and that's how I want to challenge myself.

The funny thing is, when you look at photos of Tuvia Bielski, he was fair, blue-eyed, and could pass for a Gentile.

My very first job was working on a TV show that was a prestigious TV show and well done - was called 'Family.'

As we began to read more and more journals of men who had been in the Civil War and then been in the Indian Wars, we realized there was a whole universe of men whose souls had been shattered, whose lives had been utterly destroyed by what they had to do.

I think to see American troops in an American city is, you know, the sum of all of our fears.