Interview quotes from the stars and filmmakers

Over the past several months, the Variety Screening Series assembled 2008′s finest filmmakers and talent to talk about their Oscar-contending films. Here are some of their most memorable words.

“This is the role I dreamed about in my bedroom when I was 13 years old to play. You know, crying over my teddy bear who was Romeo, and I was Juliet and trying to suck the poison from his lips. This is the kind of role and kind of depth. I don’t want to degrade my other work, because I loved those parts and telling those stories, and it is so much fun to entertain people, but every once in a while you want to climb the depths.”

Anne Hathaway

“Rachel Getting Married” actress

“There’s over a billion people that live there, which is big enough for a planet, really. If you’re starting off a planet, that’d be a very decent population. And, you know, you can’t think, ‘I’m a director, I’m going to change this.’ Or, ‘I’m a director, I’m going to control this.’ You know, you’ve just gotta go with it, and you’ve got to try and become subjective and lose yourself in it.”

Danny Boyle

“Slumdog Millionaire” director

“I did the whole character in three weeks, so it was a very short but intense time. And I completely forgot we were doing a comedy because Maria Elena lives in such a dark place that I thought nothing about it was funny. I was just on her side and trying to really understand that reality that she has to defend in every scene. That’s the one that made sense for her. For her, the rest of the people are crazy! And what she says makes total sense.”

Penelope Cruz

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” actress

“There were people on the movie who were constantly asking me, you know, the minute I said I was going to adapt it, they said, ‘Oh, well, you’ll have flashbacks, won’t you? You’ll have flashbacks to the burning of the church? You’ll have flashbacks to the concentration camps? You’ll have flashbacks to the death marches?’ … And I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, we won’t be flashing back because it’s not about those events. It’s about the consequences of those events. And the consequences of those events are just as dramatic as the events themselves, and you have to trust the consequences are dramatic, too.’”

David Hare

“The Reader” screenwriter

“I’m a TV guy. I’ve worked in television for 20 years. This is my first feature. And when you find out your first feature is going to be produced by Ron Howard, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich and they’re shooting the first draft, just shoot yourself in the head! It won’t ever get any better than that.”

J.Michael Straczynski

“Changeling” screenwriter

“One of the cool experiences that we all had is there were so many people that (screenwriter Dustin Lance Black) initially got to know who were people key to Harvey Milk’s life, and these people would come by, they would walk into this space that was re-created to look exactly the way it did over 30 years ago, and … some of them burst into tears. It was something that was quite moving for all of us, and it really once again reminded us of the importance of the story that we were telling.”

Dan Jinks

“Milk” producer

“We knew that it had to be obviously diametrically opposed to anything (Kate and I) had done in the past. And I think this certainly fit that bill! Of course this is a love story, but it’s also about the disintegration of a marriage and a relationship.”

Leonardo DiCaprio

“Revolutionary Road” actor

“When it came to the performing, how do I describe it? If the equivalent is of diving, if there’s a one-meter board and a three-meter board and a 10-meter platform, Baz’s instinct is to, at first, just dive off the 10! Let’s start there.”

Hugh Jackman

“Australia” actor

“I remember several years ago when I was out of work here in L.A, I called up a friend of mine and said, ‘Hey, you think maybe you could get me a job?’ He had a construction business, so I said, ‘You think you could give me some hours?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Mickey, come on, man, I don’t have time for your shit right now.’ And he hung up. And I’m going, ‘I can’t even get a construction job, you know?!’ I asked Darren initially, I said, ‘Please just let me be just alone in the back washing dishes, so I don’t have to deal with people.’ You know, I didn’t want people to see me like this, you know.”

Mickey Rourke

“The Wrestler” actor

“I don’t act because I saw a film and (said), ‘Ooh! I want to do that.’ I act because I’m a little bit uncomfortable as a person, and I like to pretend to be somebody else.”

Melissa Leo

“Frozen River” actress

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