With 'Taxi Driver,' I had this eureka moment. I realized that acting could be much more than what I had been doing. I had to build a character that wasn't me.

Most actors don't really have a director's sensibility. They have an actor's sensibility.

I had to take my makeup off at work every night. I wasn't allowed to do it at home because my mom said that when your work day is done, you're done with work.

I'd always need a creative outlet. But sometimes, I do fantasize what my life would be like if I weren't famous.

I am the luckiest filmmaker I know.

Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock do romantic comedies. I do dark dramas. I do these movies well.

I love European movies and I kind of grew up on European films.

I like dramas. I've always liked dramas. And I'm a pretty light person. I don't consider myself a very dramatic person. But I do like doing that onscreen.

But now I really don't want to work unless I really, really care about a project.

People are always surprised when I say that I'm an atheist.

Part of me longs to do a job where there's not a gray area.

I'd like to be Dakota Fanning when I get young.

I just want to make movies. I really love movies. I want to be involved with them.

I think 'destiny' is just a fancy word for a psychological pattern.

I fantasize about having a manual job where I can come home at night, read a book and not feel responsible for what will happen the next day.

Otherness is a big thing for me. I'm always drawn to characters that live lives that I couldn't lead.

Being understood is not the most essential thing in life.

All the movies that I make in some ways have to be the story of my life. There are different chapters in my life.

Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

I feel at various times in my life that I've been at a point where I had to choose between a death sentence and a life sentence. And I want to live. What do I do to live? What do I do to be vital? And the answer is always creativity. The answer is always art.

'Taxi Driver' was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I didn't become a weirdo and squawk like a chicken.

I think anybody over 30 plays parents because it happens in your thirties and so that's kind of a natural progression. But I'm definitely drawn to it. It's probably the most intense, passionate thing that happens to you as you get older.

I think every movie changes me and is life changing, especially movies you direct.

It's hard to get personal films off the ground, and it's hard developing them.

Adolescence is a tough one to be a child actor.

By the first week of shooting, you know exactly where your film is heading based on the psychology of your director.

As I've said before, and I still hold to, I truly am the most boring person alive. And if there was a great investigation to be found at the end of the resume, it would be, the most boring person alive.

As an actor, I'm attracted to drama; as a director, it's humor - because it's the story of my life, and I can't be that serious about it. Being alone is a big theme in all my movies, both as a director and as an actress.

I want to be inspiring to myself, to my kids, my family, and my friends.

Love and respect are the most important aspects of parenting and of all relationships.

I'm really not a clothes person. To me, that's just work. It's the thing I hate to do the most. I don't want to be judged in that way.

I spent a lot of time not in school, so I didn't have deep relationships with kids my own age.

I like to nap. I do like to sleep. Sometimes I sleep in between takes.

I like to be in a different place when I make a movie so that I can't really focus on anything else, and that is your world.

The best reason to make a film is that you feel passionately about it.

I will always love psychology, and the basis of psychology is family.

I think an artist's responsibility is more complex than people realize.

Any actor working a long time should know how a shot is set up, where to place themselves, how to handle the lines. I'm a member of the crew, like the best boy, the electrician. What I'm good at is making eyes at the camera.

I never know what's going to move me. I'm always surprised. And it's always a mystery to the people who work with me.

I have, in some ways, saved characters that have been marginalized by society by playing them - and having them still have dignity and still survive, still get through it.

Everybody reads for me. I was never weird about that. I never minded coming in and reading. They should know if I'm the right person, and I should know if I want to do a movie.

If I make two movies my entire life, and they're two movies that - whether they make a lot of money or two people go to see them - they speak of me, then I consider them incredibly successful. I don't need to be Steven Spielberg.

It's an interesting combination: Having a great fear of being alone, and having a desperate need for solitude and the solitary experience. That's always been a tug of war for me.

I love more than anything looking at a movie scene by scene and seeing the intention behind it. It allows you to really appreciate the hand of the filmmaker.

So, yes, there's nothing I love more than listening to directors talk about their movies.

Acting, for me, is exhausting. I'm always more energized by directing. It's more intense to direct. I can pop in and express myself, then pop out again. It's a huge passion for me.

I was never the ingenue or the pretty girlfriend of Tom Cruise in a movie. I didn't have that career, so I don't have to compete on that level.

The movies I made when I was 14 or 15, I have a hard time looking at those. Those were the awkward years. I don't know if anybody can look at something they did when they were 14 and not wince.

Knowing what paint a painter uses or having an understanding of where he was in the history of where he came from doesn't hurt your appreciation of the painting.