I just love real characters; they're not pretentious, and every emotion is on the surface, they're regular working people. Their likes, their dislikes, their loves, their hates, their passions; they're all right there on the surface.
I think any spiritual experience that's worthwhile is not about ego and it will humble you in some way. And also, a Zen monk once said to me, 'If you're not laughing, then you're not getting it.'
The whole trick is to make it feel like you're spying on real people's lives as they get through the day. When I'm writing, I have to trick myself as a writer. If I consciously say, 'I'm writing,' I feel all this pressure and somehow it doesn't feel as real as when it doesn't seem to count as much.
The closer you stay to emotional authenticity and people, character authenticity, the less you can go wrong. That's how I feel now, no matter what you're doing.
I got put on jury duty, which is where I learned how to write.
That's the most beautiful thing that I like about boxing: you can take a punch. The biggest thing about taking a punch is your ego reacts and there's no better spiritual lesson than trying to not pay attention to your ego's reaction. That's what takes people out of the fight half the time.
I think I land somewhere between Scorsese and Capra in what I'm drawn to emotionally; I'm drawn to very intense emotion. Capra freaked people out when they saw Jimmy Stewart lose it in 'It's a Wonderful Life.'
I was frustrated because I couldn't get going, as I was trying to figure out how to make films. I had various jobs, I taught a SAT class, I was a bartender, I had a day job at an office and was making short films.
I did a dance sequence in my second short film, which was my best short film, called 'Hairway to the Stars,' and I think Chris Wink, the founder of Blue Man Group, was in that. It's a black-and-white dance sequence. We were Glorious Food waiters together.
One of the things I've discovered at my age is I must have enchantment. And that was not clear to me in my earlier years. When I look at my favorite films, the Frank Capra - even Scorsese, even 'Goodfellas,' what makes that movie so remarkable is there's enchantment in their world.
I'm always looking for a way to surprise audiences. That's, I feel, my job as a director. I felt that Amy Adams playing a tough woman in 'The Fighter' was a surprise. People saw her as a princess.
You know, veterans come home and they may not be bipolar, but after they've been through a war with PTSD or a head injury, their families have a handful when they come home.
I got a nomination for director, which means the world to me; it's just the most exciting thing for me and my family. You do the good hard work, and the rest of it is something you shouldn't get too caught up in, but when it happens - boy! I respect it.
I feel profoundly blessed. I feel it's a great privilege to make any motion picture.
There's nothing better than an actor who is really, really hungry to show everything they've got.
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