Stephen Frears Quotes

  1. I have never been to Australia, because the flight terrifies me, but I think I would like to go there one day.
  2. Truth is quite constricting, in a way. You endlessly see at the start of a film ‘This is a true story’.
  3. This black hole that people talk about in my career in the ’70s, when I didn’t make any films – in retrospect, what I was doing was learning my job.
  4. I remember reading the script for ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ and thinking that I could quite happily spend the rest of my life watching this film; the story and the writing were so wonderful.
  5. I only watch films in the cinema. I’m old fashioned. I’m a lost cause.
  6. I never thought I was very good at developing material. I grew up at the BBC where they sent you scripts.
  7. I wouldn’t want to make the same film every time. I get easily bored.
  8. The only way you can learn about making films is by making them, by putting your stamp on the thing.
  9. I’m a Republican, but I like the Queen. Like everyone else, I’m sentimental about the Queen.
  10. Audiences aren’t fools – their judgement really is important. And the true heroes of films are the investors. They take the risk, after all.
  11. It’s Marvel movies that get the big audiences.
  12. I want my films to get audiences. I am not interested in making them just for myself.
  13. When I was young, my family used to go and stay in hotels on the south coast in places like Devon. I loved those holidays because they were with my brothers, who were away at school; I really looked forward to them.
  14. Oh, I live in London. So, whether I like it or not, I am a member of the metropolitan elite. If I were anywhere else in the country, I’d hate me.
  15. I like making films about different cultures. I’m interested in things that I’ve never encountered before. I try to put myself in the audience’s position.
  16. I don’t generally believe in people being knighted.
  17. As a director, my job is to protect. I protect scripts, actors, cameramen, designers.
  18. There’s one thing now that I experience every day when I’m making a film. I get up and think to myself, ‘Am I going to be able to do it today?’ I figure as long as I have that fear, I’ll be alright.
  19. I have people around me. I have a semi-permanent crew. If I make a film, they just turn up. They don’t even invite themselves. They don’t ask if they can come – they just turn up!
  20. I’m Jewish; I’m not religious at all, and I wouldn’t pretend to know anything about Catholic politics.
  21. There isn’t a route to success. Make a film. If people like it, you’ll be okay. There is no route that I know of.
  22. It never crossed my mind to make a film about Muhammad Ali or the Queen or any of them! They just come out of the blue.
  23. I’ve always found poverty a source of strength.
  24. When I go and teach, it sort of opens me up in some way. And when you’re open, you’re more receptive.
  25. I teach film directing, inasmuch as you can. It’s not really possible to teach film direction, but I sit there as a sort of testimony of experience and know-how, I suppose.
  26. I had a somewhat charmed life. I was brought up at the BBC. I did meet so many people cleverer than myself in those years. Often, I was slapped down and made to feel not good enough.
  27. I like a lot of takes. I just go on until the actors get it right.
  28. Film schools didn’t exist when I was growing up. I learned by working with clever people. Good writers and cinematographers.
  29. I have to travel for my work, so the idea of getting on planes depresses me. They give me frequent-flyer points, and I think, ‘I don’t want them, because I’m sick of flying!’
  30. To be successful at anything, you need the right to fail, not just occasionally.
  31. I’m from the Midlands. I lived in London for 50 years, but I’m not sure that I think of myself as a Londoner. I can see that we’re all metropolitan, whether we are Londoners or not.
  32. I never expected to become a director. It never occurred to me to come to America, to Hollywood. It’s all been a wonderful accident. I’m still amazed every time I finish a film.
  33. I can’t write; I don’t think I’m even particularly good at telling a writer what’s good or what’s missing. So, actually having someone who can do that is a godsend.
  34. Cyclists are insane. You’re going through the Alps, climbing up mountains. There’s this circus around them. They’re so tough. When they have a day off, they go out and cycle 100 miles.

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