Nastassja Kinski

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It's such an intense thing, being absorbed into the world of a movie. It's like discovering you have a fatal illness, with only a short time to live. So you live and love twice as deeply. Then you slip out of it, like a snakeskin, and you're cold and naked and alone again.

Nastassja Aglaia Kinski (born January 24, 1961) is a German-born American actress. She is the daughter of Klaus Kinski.


  • I have never met a man like my father. He is so mad, terrible and vehement at the same time. Because of him, I never knew anything other than passion. When I began to meet other people I saw that it wasn’t normal.
  • If I were an animal, I would be a fish or a bird. It's the peace and beauty of ocean, the silent language of it. It seems like a womb, protective. The sky too. I love all colors, but blue mainly, because it's transparent like the water and the sky.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • The period I'm going through now is a transition. You know when you're in the middle of puberty and you don't know what to do with yourself? I feel like that now, It will be a transition into something very good if I work hard enough at it. But it is a frustration and an emptiness and a lack of confidence now. I feel young and I feel old. I feel twenty years below zero and old. I put a lot of demands on myself to know this and that, to be here and there. I've got to really do one thing at a time all the way. I've got stop wanting to know and do everything at the same time. It's like you have a home stuffed with beautifull things - statues, books, lamps - that give a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and you have nothing. And then you go into a house where there isn't a great light and one object and you could sit there all your life studying it, and one discovery about the object would give birth to the next, and it would be totally fulfilling. Right now my life is cluttered and you can't run away from it. If I weren't attached to this body I would have left it long ago.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I always fall in love with someone while I'm working in a film. It's a joy to get up in the morning. Sometimes when I'm not infatuated, I just make things up in my mind. Making a film is such an intense thing. You're eliminating everything in your life and you're absorbed into the world of the movie. It's exciting. It's like somebody saying you have an illness and you only have this short time to live. Then you live it that life is over with. Good-bye. You never see any of the people again. But meanwhile you have this short life in which you can do and feel and fantasize about all kinds of things because you know it will soon be over. So I always fall in love. Then you slip out of it, like a skin you take off, and you're naked and you're cold but it's exciting because there is going to be something new. My relationships are as intense and as giving and as short as my parts are. I would pump everything into a person. I would give my left arm that it was for life, but it dies so shortly. And when it dies, it doesn't even leave traces. The relationship vanishes into space. When I finish a part, it's the same feeling. I leave people and people leave me, I leave parts and parts leave me. I say it is 'the flow of life,' but it affects me terribly. Every once in a while I have such a breakdown, question every move.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I idealize my directors. It's true. I need to. I need to. I don't know if idealizing is a bad thing or good thing. But I just want to get up in the morning and work to get a glimpse of thing of his eyes searching things inside of me. For some I want to go to hell and to heaven. It hasn't happened with everybody. There are certain people I idealize. Others are very good, and I want to please them, too, but in a different sense of the word.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • In the past directors have always portrayed me as this strange girl who hardly talks but who has a great effect on people. They don't give me a chance to do something more, let more out of what is inside of me. The time is only coming up now when I feel I can open up. I have been almost a creature of these directors' imaginations. I guess that is what they saw in me and why they picked me. But if I was an object at moments in movies, I was also alive. I wasn't dead. I always gave everything I could while I worked. I could give maybe more today, but I gave what I could then.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • Nudity in a picture is such a delicate thing, and it is so rarely right. But it can be right if it's done by people with beautiful vision and if it becomes part of the melody of the situation. The body, after all, is a beautiful and secret thing.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I don't understand acting. Sometimes I only understand it while I'm doing it, and sometimes not even then. You cannot study acting. You can get new tools to use..., but you can't become something by studying, you just can't. You can become better. But some people can't even do that. They are best when they are very young because they are restless. When the restlessness settles, the acting goes. When acting goes for me, I'll just stop and do something else. I hope I always will get better and better, meaning bigger and bigger and more courageous and deeper and lighter and more flexible. But when it's time to go, it's time to go. There is no use trying to ride a wooden horse.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • My mother and I have this really strangely close relationship. No other relationship can come close to it. It's frightening. Even when I'm in a relationship with a man, I compare it to my relationship with my mother. She is a friend, but she is still a mother, and everything a mother needs to be, she is. She is really observing and caring and doesn't want anything but giving because it's her joy. Even when I can't bear anybody, not even myself, she 's like the sun coming up to me. She dedicated all her life to me. Sometimes I feel that she gave her life to me and now it's my job to maybe take her somewhere. But what is it she doesn't know? She knows things I couldn't begin to know. Yet she is so fresh with ideas which I already take for granted. She sometimes wakes me up and says, 'Don't you see?' and she makes me see and feel things again. Nobody, not my father, not anybody, has done that for me, except movies.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • My father loved us so much, but he's the kind of person that chokes you. He doesn't leave you your own pleasures. If you think or feel one way and he feels the other way, he won't accept it. My mother wanted to work. People wanted her to do movies, but he just wanted her to be at home, be a mother, be a wife, be this Venus, this planet he could land on anytime.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • My father is so expressive that things he feels even before they are thoughts are visible on his skin. He heats up. What other people work on, he was born with. He's got eyes like the sky and like hell at the same time. They're so clear and blue and alert and serious, and then they're like hell. That's how he is. He is total light and pureness and then hell. He gives totally or he gives nothing. He is like the sun, then an iceberg, then nonexistent, and then the sun again. Which is fine. It's a lot better than most people are.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • If you get typecast, it's up to you to break that. Since I started real young, getting roles where they would ask me to take my clothes off, I would get those [types of] scripts over and over. The fact that I'm still here and working... I don't know if it's so much because of my performances or something else.
    • Entertainment Weekly, October 7, 1994
  • The years went by so fast and, even though I've had children, which makes me feel I've lived a long time, I feel I didn't really grow up. I want to fulfill the desire I have to do things that are beautiful and meaningful.
    • Box Office, April, 1997
  • I'm going to make myself seem more mysterious because I'm really not so mysterious. Or, if I am, it's because everybody is a mystery. Now that I'm older, at least I can be more amused by what people said.
    • Movieline, April 1997
  • When he died I had a moment of grief that lasted about five minutes. It was very intense, then never again. Not because I forced myself, but I think it was because he caused us too much pain.
  • It started out as a light romance, but he became demanding and possessive.
    • On her relationship with Roman Polanski, as quoted in Cameron Docherty, Interview: Nastassja Kinski - Still a daddy's girl, The Independent, September 26, 1997
  • I think we were better as friends than husband and wife.
    • On her relationship with Ibrahim Moussa, as quoted in Cameron Docherty, Interview: Nastassja Kinski - Still a daddy's girl, The Independent, September 26, 1997
  • He was always there when I needed him and someone I could talk too and argue with. In a Freudian way he was the father I never had. For me, partners were like father figures most of the time.
    • On her relationship with Quincy Jones, as quoted in Cameron Docherty, Interview: Nastassja Kinski - Still a daddy's girl, The Independent, September 26, 1997
  • A thriller is supposed to thrill you! So it's the plotting of the movie and the unveiling of the story which is important.
  • With the passage of time, I guess my priorities have changed and so have the parameters on the basis of which I decide to do a film. Today I look for a lot more mature roles, with a lot of substance. I want to do different things, or rather -- things differently.
    • Interview with actress Nastassja Kinski,, 23 August, 2003
  • For everything that you do, there are people who appreciate your work and then there are those who don't. I think very few people have the guts to be sure of what they are doing, believe in it, and then go ahead and do it, irrespective of what people think.
    • Interview with actress Nastassja Kinski,, 23 August, 2003
  • He sees things from every point of view. He's an extraordinarily hard worker. I think he's worked for a long time, in every field. He's talented, passionate and has had an incredibly hard and full life that I'm sure you know about. I can not imagine myself having some of his experiences. You either swim or drown, but some like him go on and make every moment important. I think that's what he does.
  • I would do anything to put him behind bars for life. I am glad he is no longer alive.
    • On her father after discovering he raped her older sister, as quoted in Malta Biss, Jetzt spricht Nastassja, Bild, January 13, 2013

Quotes about Kinski[edit]

  • To understand Nastassja, you must look at her parents.. Her mother is a poet, her father was possessed.
    • Werner Herzog, as quoted in Cameron Docherty, Interview: Nastassja Kinski - Still a daddy's girl, The Independent, September 26, 1997
  • I don't try to justify myself or defend myself. I've always done what I had to. She should know for herself that I love her, that I've loved her always, always. Those years you can't replace by words, though. After years and years, words get weaker and weaker.
    • Klaus Kinski, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I saw Stay as You Are and Tess only. I didn't ask her if she saw every movie I did. I could never think about that. Why do I have to see every movie she did? Why? Sometimes she did movies with people I was bored by. I don't care about this or that director. So if she is so beautiful in a movie, it is because of her, not a director. So why should I see the movie then? As long as I am not blind, I don't need a dog to see. If I am blind, maybe I would like the dog to lead me. I am not blind. I don't have to see her movies. I know my child.
    • Klaus Kinski, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • The truth is that I wasn't there with her when she needed me. Now she see's how I love Nanhoï and she believes that I can't love her as much as I love my son. That I've never loved her like this. I try to tell her that she's distorting everything in her pain and not seeing the truth. That I've painfully missed her since our separation and that I've never stopped loving her. But even though she gradually calms down, I have a feeling she doesn't believe me.
    • Klaus Kinski, in Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996), p. 286
  • From what I was able to glean, the only excuse for his domestic outbursts sprang from his daughter, Nastassja Kinski, being on a roll. After Polanski's Tess, she became the new darling of Hollywood, courted, caressed and cast wherever she went. I believe Klaus was actually envious of his own offsping.
    • Sarah Miles on the relationship between Nastassja and her father, as quoted in Cliff Goodwin (2011), Evil Spirits: The Life of Oliver Reed, p. 202
  • There is something so ready to run about her. She almost looks like a young deer with those big eyes and the study stance she's got. She is always vigilant, receiving these signals, always ready to move away and hide. She is not quite comfortable with herself, but that, again, is a lot of the charm of her, the fact that she really doesn't quite see it, then does, then doesn't. It's like strobe lighting. She goes back and forth with ambivalence about herself.
    • Dudley Moore, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • She is so strong and intelligent, and on the other hand she lets people manipulate her so easily. I've told her, 'Your face is magic and so erotic that you don't need to show your body. Millons of girls have beautiful bodies, but you have this face, this expressive dark magic.' Oh, she is so stupid. If she didn't have that magic and elegance, she would be finished.
    • Ruth Brigitte Tocki, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • In so many aspects she is trying to find her identity. To change identities in films is a hard job, anyway, for grown-up people, and even harder for such a young person. She is living like a gypsy now. Sometimes she says to me, 'I have the destiny to live my life fast and get the most beautiful things in life because I will die early.' And when she says it, it cuts into me like knife and I say, 'Stop, don't say that.'
    • Ruth Brigitte Tocki, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.

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