"I love what I do. And in the true sense, from my training, I try to create a character each time. It is something I do. But I don't want that term to limit what I can do. I prefer people to say to me, "You're one of my favorite actors," rather than "You're one of my favorite character actors." It sounds like a slam. At least it sounds that way to me." - On being referred to as a character actor.
Oh, please, please. I was never a "bad" kid, but I did get into minor juvenile trouble. Look, I grew up in Brooklyn. This was the 60's and the neighborhood was rapidly changing and not without its problems. All the kids of the neighborhood "did their thing," breaking windows and the like. I was no different. I went to Catholic school and there was this teacher, a Brother, who saw I could go either way, good or bad. He took an interest in me and got me to do a play. I got hooked on acting and it gave me something constructive to do. I had a lot of energy. (on his childhood days)
Well, this film came together faster than anything else I think I've ever done. I literally got a phone call at something like 10 o'clock in the morning. I was in New York and I was asleep. My agent said, "I don't know how to say this, but pack your bag. You may be leaving for Bulgaria today. I'm going to get the script over to you right now." So it was a very quick, strange thing. I got the script within the hour and read it. I really like doing science-fiction. I really like it, and it's only in the past couple of years that I've done it. So I said, "OK, Bulgaria. Let's go." That was the quickest decision I've ever made in my life. - On getting his part in SharkMan (2005) .
When I grew into a teenager, I became obsessed with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Cliff, and James Dean. In my late teens, I had already started acting in theater. I walked into a movie theater by accident and saw the movie Mean Streets. I was so moved by it and I had no idea who Robert De Niro or Martin Scorsese were. I left the theater then went back and I got a job as an usher. I worked at the theater until the movie closed, and then I quit. Suddenly I was off in that world, the world of those guys, the guys who are real with very raw work. Those were my biggest influences. I really love Robert Duvall, who I think is maybe the best American actor. I love Robert Duvall because the ability that he has to change and do the most amazing work. You sit and watch Tender Mercies and then you watch Stalin and he has a real amazing power and diversity in his work. I got to work with most of these guys, so it's great. It's a wonderful thing. Al Pacino is one of those guys, as well as Dustin Hoffman. I was drawn to the guys who were just putting it out there and that whole reality thing.