'Acting is just being a man' and 19 other memorable quotes from Irish actors

A new book contains the wit and wisdom of everyone from Brenda Fricker to Peter O’Toole

 Stephen Rea: “I believe some people in this business suffer from fame because they behave in a famous fashion.” Photograph: Dave Meehan

Stephen Rea: “I believe some people in this business suffer from fame because they behave in a famous fashion.” Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

The Irish Actors’ Quotation Book, compiled by Andrew Russell, is chock full of memorable quotes by Irish actors. Here are some of our favourite lines ...

I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it’s no problem for me to believe that I’m somebody else.
Daniel Day-Lewis

I am proud of my rebellious moments, but I wish I’d handled them with more wit.
Geraldine Fitzgerald

I want to be certain that when I arrive at death, I’m totally exhausted.
Fiona Shaw

I’m always interested in trying to investigate different personalities. I want to keep myself guessing and keep the fear element alive, so that I don’t get too comfortable.
Michael Fassbender

When I’m lying drunk at an airport the press call me Irish...But when I win an Oscar, I’m classified as British.
Brenda Fricker

I think being Irish I possibly find a connection with American writers and indeed Russian writers more easily than I do with English writers because Ireland and England are so close geographically, one is very aware of the differences.
Sorcha Cusack

Everything’s borne out of human experience, of course – rejection, humiliation, poverty, whatever. People aren’t born bad, no matter how harsh the circumstances. There is a person in there, and that person is not made of ice.
Aidan Gillen

If you have a certain wildness of spirit, a cabinet maker’s workshop is not the place to express it.
Daniel Day-Lewis

Don’t they say acting is the shy man’s revenge?
John Kavanagh

My old manager of the Irish National Theatre said “Don’t worry about being a star, just worry about being a working actor. Just keep working.” I think that’s really good advice.
Colm Meaney

Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you.
Maud Gonne (in a letter to WB Yeats)

Then I wanted the character to be feminine as opposed to effeminate. Because it’s easy to be camp or queen. Anyone can do that. What’s difficult is to play feminine.
Cillian Murphy

You don’t come to see a Greek play and not want blood and gore and depth of feeling from your boots up.
Ruth Negga

I grew up among strong women so I know what it’s like to be loved and humiliated in a heartbeat.
Chris O’Dowd

So often I’ll feel I haven’t got the tools. I haven’t got the equipment, I haven’t got the understanding. I’ll never be able to do it. It’s like you’re at base camp at Mount Everest looking up, thinking, ‘I won’t be able to scale that.” But you trudge on.
Sinéad Cusack

How could you have had such a wonderful life as me if there wasn’t a God directing?
Maureen O’Hara

Acting is just being a man. Being human. Not forcing it. Some make it their entire life. Big mistake.
Peter O’Toole

I believe some people in this business suffer from fame because they behave in a famous fashion.
Stephen Rea

Acting is one of these things that I can’t really describe. It’s just like, why do you love your mum and dad? You know, you just do.
Saoirse Ronan

I often sit back and think, I wish I’d done that, and find out later that I already have.
Richard Harris

The Irish Actors’ Quotation Book, compiled by Andrew Russell, is published by Somerville Press, at €4.99

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