Melanie Votaw Recalls Her Favorite 2014 Celeb Quotes From Interviews, Press Conferences with Ben Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Chaz Ebert, & More

Steve James and Chaz Ebert | Melanie Votaw Photo
Steve James and Chaz Ebert at the interview for “Life Itself”| Melanie Votaw Photo

2014 was a fun year for me of interviews and press conferences, and I have gathered some of my favorite celeb quotes. There were too many favorites to include in a single article – like the moment Neil Patrick Harris joked at the “Gone Girl” press conference that he got a tattoo that says, “Sweetly creepy,” in honor of his character, or the moment Kristen Dunst called Viggo Mortensen a “dork.” But these are the main standouts:

Chaz Ebert on the day she met Gene Siskel:

When I first met Gene Siskel – the very first time – Gene always did his homework and did a little research. “This is Roger’s girlfriend I’m meeting. What does she like?” I don’t know how he found out, but he discovered that “A Clockwork Orange” was one of my favorite movies. And he knew that Roger gave it thumbs down. So, I was sitting in the car. Gene got in the car. He said, “Hi, I’m Gene Siskel. You know that Roger didn’t like ‘A Clockwork Orange.’” And I didn’t know because Roger hadn’t told me. Read the full article.

Ben Affleck on “Gone Girl”:

What I found was that women and men have very different reactions to this character. Most of the women journalists were like, “What was it like playing a dick?” And most of the men just were like, “Yeah…” [shrugs in a sigh of resignation] Read the full article.

Steve Carell at the "Foxcatcher" press conference at the 2014 New York Film Festival | Melanie Votaw Photo
Steve Carell at the “Foxcatcher” press conference at the 2014 New York Film Festival | Melanie Votaw Photo

Steve Carell on his research about his character, John du Pont, in “Foxcatcher”:

There was a lot to be looked at in terms of research material – the books that he had written, and he had a documentary commissioned on himself. And one of the most interesting aspects of that was the raw footage, the parts of himself that he did not want to be seen publicly. That gave me probably more insight than anything as to the type of person he was – the way he was instructing the crew, the way he was going through his lines in his head, trying to establish an identity for the camera. Read the full article.

Kevin Spacey on playing Richard III:

I’m convinced that the first actor who ever played Richard III shoved Shakespeare up against a bar wall and said, “Don’t you ever write a play like this again!” Read the full article.

Ronan Farrow at the Reach the World event in New York in 2014 | Melanie Votaw Photo
Ronan Farrow at the Reach the World event in New York in 2014 | Melanie Votaw Photo

Ronan Farrow on his experience of young people around the world:

In a lot of places, [young people] are the architects of progress, and in other places, they’re the source of the instability and violence. Very often, in my experience, the difference between those two categories is an education. It’s the key to participating in economies, to building not just their own futures, but all of our economic futures. So, this is something that’s worth standing up for. Read the full article.

Rick Hall, founder of FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, on his friendship with Wilson Pickett:

Wilson Pickett and I were bosom buddies…. I loved Wilson Pickett. I’d go to New York, and we’d get in his car and go down Broadway at 3:00 in the morning making 100 miles an hour. So, we were crazy. We were wild people. Read the full article.

Philomena Lee on the importance of sex education:

In my day, you just didn’t even know how he [the baby] was going to come out. The thing is, I’m an advocate for young girls, when they get 13 – not too early; let them hold onto their childhood as long as they can. But I think young women, it’s very good for them to find out. I can assure you, I wish we had known.

From the age of 6 until I was 18, I was in that convent, and it’s all girls, of course. And we didn’t know what sex was all about. And even when I left, I didn’t know what it was all about…. I went to live with my aunt in Ireland, in Limerick. She noticed me getting big, and she said, “Are you pregnant?” Of course, I didn’t know what “pregnant” meant. It sounds unreal now.

And she says, “Have you been with a boy?” And then, I said, “Yes, the night I went to the carnival, I was with a boy.” She says, “What did you do?” Of course, I had to say what we did. Oh, my God, she nearly went crazy. And I still didn’t know anything about being pregnant. So, she took me to the doctor, and they got me into the home…. And my name was taken away. I wasn’t called Philomena Lee anymore. We had to lose our identity there. We were given a house name, which my name was Marcella.

None of us talked about our family. We didn’t talk about sex. When I discovered how awful it was to have a baby out of wedlock, I never stopped thinking about it because we were never allowed to forget about it really. I wish I had known. I only wish I had known. Read the full article.

Michael C. Hall on his roles that deal with death:

I didn’t embark on a career with some sort of mission statement that said I had to be surrounded by dead bodies in one way or another. I guess I am drawn to things that deal with maybe weightier themes, and we have nothing more in common than the fact that we’re all gonna die. [Silence] Goodnight! [Laughter] Read the full article.

Michael C. Hall with Don Johnson at the 2014 opening of "Cold in July" in New York | Melanie Votaw Photo
Michael C. Hall with Don Johnson at the 2014 opening of “Cold in July” in New York | Melanie Votaw Photo

Neil deGrasse Tyson on where he would go if he could get back on the Ship of Imagination one more time:

Neil: I’d go back and hang out with Isaac Newton. I’m torn between do I hang out with him or do I bring him into the present to hang out with me. See, that might be terrifying because his head will just explode once he sees everything that was derived from his discoveries, but I’d spend more time with someone who I think is one of the most brilliant minds our species has ever known. And then, I’d go back to the Big Bang, of course. Read the full article.

Viggo Mortensen on what he loves most about working in films:

I love that process before you start shooting. Even if the movie experience, the shoot, or the movie itself doesn’t turn out to be as good as you thought it might be, the period before, there’s no limit. You can read as much as you want, look at as many things, think as many thoughts, make as many notes, ask as many questions.

And then, you’ve got to put that aside because you’re face to face with actors and listening to the director, and they say “Action!” You’ve got to be there and forget everything and just assume that the most useful of it is in you, is assimilated somehow. But I love that period because that’s always good; that’s never bad…. It’s a chance to see the world from a point of view different than mine. Read the full article.

Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen at the interview for "Two Faces of January" | Melanie Votaw Photo
Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen at the interview for “Two Faces of January” | Melanie Votaw Photo

Richard Gere on playing a homeless man in “Time Out of Mind”:

I keep telling people it’s actually worse than being invisible. It’s a black hole that everyone is afraid to get sucked into. You’re radiating failure being homeless in the street. No one wants to be near you.

And for me, the profundity of my experience doing this! The first day we did what we were calling a “test day” to see if this was going to work at Astor Place, and the camera was in the Starbucks. No one on the street could see the camera. But I’m out there the first time to see if it was going to work, and I’m still making movies…. But no one paid any attention. No one saw me.

Richard Gere at the 2014 New York Film Festival, talking about "Time Out of Mind" | Melanie Votaw Photo
Richard Gere at the 2014 New York Film Festival, talking about “Time Out of Mind” | Melanie Votaw Photo

I had a cup…. I started approaching people, not harassing, just approaching – “Can you help me out? Spare change? Can you help me out? Spare change?” No one came up to me. Even when someone gave me a dollar bill, no eye contact. That was the first time I’ve really felt inside of what that is.

And for me, I come here, and you want to hear what I have to say. You’ve seen my movie. I’m iconic in some way. It’s romantic in some way. I’m the same guy who was on the street, but no one wanted to come near me. No one wanted to hear his story. So, for me, it was a profound experience of existentialism… Read the full article.

Joan Chen at the interview for "Marco Polo" | Melanie Votaw Photo
Zhu Zhu and Joan Chen at the interview for “Marco Polo” | Melanie Votaw Photo

Joan Chen on the nudity in Netflix’s series, “Marco Polo”:

It was a bit of a shock when I first walked into the room and see all of these nude girls, but I got used to it. I felt so different. I felt like I should be stripping also…. Read the full article.

Moniqua Plante on the first words Eric Close said to her when she arrived on the set of “Nashville”:

“Hi, I’m Eric Close. We have to make out later. Maybe we should get to know each other.” Read the full article.

Keith Urban on his early singing career:

I’ve had every kind of insult and abuse hurled at me on stage. Some of it verbal. Some of it physical, literally things thrown at me. Especially growing up in Australia, you play at really rough places there. But it’s where you learn everything. Read the full article.

Marissa Jaret Winokur on her new talk show about sex:

What I learned from the process, which I never would have thought, is that I’m so much more conservative than I thought I was. ‘Wait a minute, I’m the Charlotte?’ In my circle of friends and my world, I’m not the Charlotte!” (She’s referring, of course, to the most conservative character on “Sex and the City” played by Kristin Davis.) When Margaret Cho talks about sex, you feel like you’re a person who has never done anything…. My craziest sex experience isn’t even a blip on Margaret’s radar. Read the full article.

Landon Liboiron on shooting a “Hemlock Grove” scene naked in Toronto in winter:

Screw the writers, man, They’re sitting down in California with palm trees outside the windows. They have no idea…. There was one shot we did where I had to be naked outside for, like a minute, and it was ridiculous, absolutely ludicrous. For people with bad kidney problems or bad back problems, there are these thermal back pads that they give us. We strap one on the back and one on the front, and they have these custom-made wife-beaters with pockets that you put these heat pads in. Read the full article.

“Hemlock Grove” Visual Effects Supervisor Matt “Readyman” Whelan on creating gore for the screen:

There’s a lot of times where things are written into the script which we Google and wish we hadn’t. Read the full article.

Landon Liboiron in "Hemlock Grove"
Landon Liboiron in “Hemlock Grove”

Producer Gabriel Cowan on working with incarcerated teens:

InsideOUT Writers is this extraordinary organization…. They’re able to help hundreds of kids in juvenile facilities around Los Angeles and California, and they give these writing programs to these kids. So, the kids are able to talk in ways through poetry about their communities, about their upbringing, about their gangs, about their lives in ways that they can’t inside of their communities and their homes.

They were very gracious in allowing me to start a screenwriting program within the organization for kids who are being tried in adult court. Typically, a child can’t be up against more than three years if they’ve committed a crime as a child. But if your childhood in the eyes of the state is revoked, it’s called a fitness hearing. If you lose your fitness, you’re tried as an adult even though you were a child when you committed the crime. And you can be facing hundreds of years in prison.

So, I have a 14-year-old that’s facing 90 years. I’ve got a couple of 17-year-olds who are facing hundreds of years in prison. And we got together, and we wrote this screenplay. They wrote a 20-page screenplay…. And it’s a great piece of work. In a couple of months, we’re going to go out and shoot the screenplay they wrote, and they’ll get to share it with their friends and their family and say, “Look at what we accomplished from behind the bars. Look what we were able to do! And what are we going to continue to be able to do even though we’re incarcerated?”

I went in there that first day expecting hardened, tatted up gang members to walk through that door. But it was kids who walked through that door. It was children. Read the full article.


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