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- We used to have actresses trying to become stars; now we have stars trying to become actresses.
- Of all the things I've done in life, directing a motion picture is the most beautiful. It's the most exciting and the nearest that an interpretive craftsman, such as an actor ... can possibly get to being a creator.
- Work is life for me, it is the only point of life — and with it there is almost religious belief that service is everything.
- Without Acting I Cannot Breathe.
- What is acting but lying and what is good lying but convincing lying?
- Relax your feet.
- Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult.
- (To a female costar) My dear, if I get an erection [during the scene] I apologise. If I don't get an erection I apologise.
- "Try acting. . . It's much easier!" Olivier jokingly to Strasbergian Method actor Dustin Hoffman, after Hoffman deprived himself of sleep for two days preparing for the famous "Is it safe?" scene in Marathon Man.