The work by nature becomes so much of an obsession that you can almost make yourself into being something you’re not. You are an image.
Fame is something hoisted on you, that you’re not prepared for. Fame is what other people say you are, and sometimes, you like to believe it, and then sometimes on the inside you question it. It was not an easy thing to deal with.
It’s a rush. It goes right to your head. It’s a high. I don’t know quite how to deal with it. On the other hand, it’s terrifying, and a combination of being terrified and high – it’s not a great place to make decisions from. So, there’s a lot of mistakes, a lot of learning. A lot of stuff happened that I was not prepared for.
Fame without preparation for it is like sending a child out with a loaded gun. It’s not a natural state.
Celebrity is a lot like ice cream, you know, it melts, and then you’ve got to live with yourself.
I look at it now with a little more circumspection. I’m very open about the period and so forth, because I think it’s important to understand that dynamic and reflect on it. I think there are things that can be learned. I think it has something to do with what it is we communicate to each other and how we communicate. My particular interest in it is in the world of feelings.
Regarding long-time female fans who talk of having him pinned on their walls: There is still the little girl inside every woman, and it’s really lovely to see that twinkle still in their eyes. However, as much as it is nice, that’s not what I’m about; I’ve never seen myself that way.
I never went out to become a star — it just sort of happened. If you go out thinking like that you’re going down the wrong road. That’s the difference between today and those days when I started. Today people just go out wanting fame, but in those days it was much more pragmatic. I never had a goal. I never really set out to be an actor. It wasn’t a question of thinking next year I’m going to be a star. It was just a matter of finding a job and seeing that through to the end and then looking for something else. Of course, when you do something, it opens doors to other opportunities, but there was no grand game plan. It was one thing at a time.
Sometimes I feel an obligation to be accessible as a personality, but for me the driving force since the beginning has always been good work, taking risks, trying new things. If the door opens, go through it. Always go forward. Also, I’m not the richest man in the world: I’ve been married a few times and I have six kids, but I’m happy doing what I’m doing.
It wasn’t about money. Nothing I did was about the money. I never chased the money.
This career is about survival, it isn’t about being successful. Successful is easy.
I like the fact that there’s a certain power that comes with it, because I feel that I use the power well and it has integrity to it.
One of the first things you get to learn in this business … and I’m a pro … is that you have hot times and you have cold times. It’s difficult to prepare for those cold times. When you’re hot, you have to remember it’s a passing thing. This business is cyclical.
Fame was never a goal of mine. And the guy in The Dead Monkey only had local notoriety because he surfed with a monkey on his back. Which is the point about fame: it’s a burden.
I think the question really is ‘what do you do with your success?’ And that’s not an easy question to answer. That’s a day to day to day to day kind of living. Lots of it I blew, you know. Lots of it I didn’t handle well. The times that I had it the best were the times I was least aware of it.
Who you are as a human being is more important than being a famous person…