Matt Dillon

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Matt Dillon at the San Sebastian Festival, in San Sebastián, Spain (2006)

Matthew Raymond "Matt" Dillon (born February 18, 1964) is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe Award- and BAFTA Award-nominated American actor. He began acting in the late 1970s, gained fame as a teen idol during the 1980s, and developed a successful career as a mature actor in the decades following, culminating in an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film Crash.


  • I sometimes think love is God's way of hoodwinking people into having kids. You fall in love, and all that passion goes into procreating and wanting children. I've felt that need to want to raise a child. It's a creative urge. But you can express that creative urge in other ways.
    • Andy Dougan (August 24, 2006) "Matt hears the sound of wedding bells" Evening Times.
  • I don't pride myself on being self-educated because I don't like to brag about the fact that I'm a high school dropout. My school wasn't prepared to have somebody leave for three months out of the year to be in a movie. Graduating wasn't in the cards in a conventional sense if I was going to continue acting. I could get my GED, or could I? I'd have to study up for that.
  • When I went to the Crash premiere I left before they showed the scene of me pulling over Thandie Newton in the car. It was too disturbing. It's a character up there, but I still see me.
  • The growing pains of … being an actor, that was a little frustrating at times because you feel like you have great capacity to do many things. And yet there seems to be a misunderstanding about who you are and what you're trying to do. And that requires patience, and people eventually will understand.
  • I don't like movies where everything happens fast. I like the buildup, the obstacles, the mystery.
    • Terry Lawson (May 28, 2003) "Dillon's Cambodia Vacation Pays Off - Actor Turns Director to Tell a Story of Beauty With an Air of Mystery", Detroit Free Press, p. 1C.
  • The great, rewarding thing about directing is that you're overseeing the whole thing. When you're an actor, you're just one department.
    • Ruthe Stein, Carla Meyer (May 4, 2003) "Matt Dillon takes charge on 'City' - He got to know Cambodia to direct first film", San Francisco Chronicle, p. O1.
  • As an actor, you can't be off the market for too long.
  • Acting is very competitive. There are few good scripts out there and the ones that are good are very competitive. You look at your options and often times they're not too appealing.
  • I think a lot of directors, they come out of film school, they don't know anything about acting. Or they're writers that don't know anything about the process. And I think they're afraid sometimes to talk to actors and be honest with actors.
  • I think the reason I've survived that long is because I've taken my work so seriously. Maybe sometimes too seriously, but it's always been important for me to do my best regardless of the film. I think the biggest compliment I get is when people on the street stop me and say they've liked the choices I've made.
    • Bobby Rockel (May 2, 1997) "Best Is Yet to Come, Says Actor Matt Dillon", The Daily Oklahoman, p. 7.
  • It's tough when you started out as young as I did to look back and see how far I've come. I try to be easy on myself and go 'Look man, you were younger, you were learning; you learn, you grow.' But I'm not my best judge. I always feel like my best work is still ahead of me.
  • I have always wanted to play different kinds of stuff, but it's hard, first to find good material, and then to change people's perception of you so they'll let you do it. I mean, I would really like to play a poet, but once they get this notion of you as a street guy, it's hard to change that.
    • Terry Lawson (October 1, 1995) "Matter of Maturation? - Actor Swapping Rebellion for Responsibility in Recent Roles", Dayton Daily News, p. 1C.
  • I think in the future I'd like to be a little more prolific than I have been. The big dilemma, though, is when you say you want to do more stuff, what stuff do you do? Where are your standards? Fortunately for me, I think the parts get a little better as I get older.
    • Martha Southgate (April 25, 1991) "Matt Dillon grows up and doesn't balk at talk", The Toronto Star, p. C8.
  • I like to try different things. A good strong character and a good story are the key things for me when I'm considering a script. But I don't want to do the same kinds of things over and over. I like to challenge myself and do projects that dare to push the limits.
    • Dennis King (January 12, 1990) "Matt Dillon - This Era's James Dean - 'Drugstore Cowboy' Star Takes Critics' Award, Speculation About Oscar Nomination in Stride", Tulsa World, p. C1.
  • It seems like a cliche, but you do grow up a lot faster when you travel a lot, go through things like this interview, spend time away from home and hang around with other actors. It's inevitable that you're not going to have a so-called normal childhood.
    • Michael Blowen (November 3, 1983) "Matt Dillon Meets Fame ....Diffidently", The Boston Globe.

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