When I started, I was an artist; I wanted to be an artist. I became an actor almost by accident. I acted for fifteen years and tried to produce. I looked for stories that were the story beneath the story that you thought you knew, like 'The Candidate'.
When I was a kid, all I knew was that I felt more comfortable sitting in one chair than in another. And now I realize it was because one chair was older. I still respond directly to the age of things.
When you're making a movie, you don't think about the outcome. That's something I'm grateful for: whenever I go and do a new project, I never think about the outcome. It's always just about the work at hand. That's the fun part. The other part is always something I've had a struggle with, which is promoting the film. I know it's important.
When I became successful, I put up a caution. I didn't think it was fair to have the shadow of that kind of success thrown on my family. And I was cautious about being taken by things that could destroy you.
I was never a good student. I had to be dragged into kindergarten. It was hard to sit and listen to somebody talk. I wanted to be out, educated by experience and adventure, and I didn't know how to express that.
What I would like to do is a thriller. I've been wanting to do that for a long time, but one that was not at all dependent on special effects. Just purely psychological, but will scare the hell out of you. That's what I would like to do. I have not found it yet.
When people start thinking of you more as a persona, they are less inclined to allow you to move into different areas. Sometimes they're wrong. Sometimes they're just very stereotypical or restricted in their own thinking of what they'll allow you to do.
Films don't always tell a story; some films can achieve effect just by being razzle-dazzle or rock n' roll. That's part of the fare that's out there. And that's okay. For me, I place more value on a story.
I wanted to get out of this country and experience different ways of seeing the world. So I went to Europe, but I went as an artist. I was increasing my skill set and exploring storytelling through painting.
The big moment for me was making 'All the President's Men'. It was not about Watergate or President Nixon. I wanted to focus on something I thought not many people knew about: How do journalists get the story?
As an actor and as a person you come together with being in familiar territory although that has not been my whole life. That's been a part of it. I think a lot of people associate me with the west because of Sundance.
It felt to me like America was always wanting to resolve things too quickly, without thinking through what the costs and consequences would be and how that affects an individual living in that world. Then as I grew up and went about my life, I think I just got more and more interested in that gray area where things are not so easily quantified.
I had just arrived in New York from California. I was nineteen years old and excited beyond belief. I was an art student and an acting student and behaved as most young actors did - meaning that there was no such thing as a good actor, 'cause you yourself hadn't shown up yet.
I'm interested in that thing that happens where there's a breaking point for some people and not for others. You go through such hardship, things that are almost impossibly difficult, and there's no sign that it's going to get any better, and that's the point when people quit. But some don't.
I had a mild case of polio - not enough to put me in an iron lung, but enough to keep me bedridden for weeks. As I came out of it, my mom wanted to do something for me. She realized that, growing up in the city, I'd missed out on a lot of nature.
For 'Jeremiah Johnson,' nobody wanted to make that film. I went to Sydney Pollack, and I said, 'Sydney, I live in the mountains, and I would like to make a film about a person that had to exist in the mountains and survive in the mountains.'
Storytelling was a way to see the world bigger than the one you were looking at, and that had great appeal for me. I think, since that was part of my upbringing, it became part of me, and I wanted to pass it along to my kids and my grandkids.