My parents have always been cool. They even became surrogates to friends of mine who didn't have such supportive parents.

— Olivia Williams

The most interesting Olivia Williams quotes you will be delighted to read

I thought "I've coped with some crazy situations, and I can do this.

" But working with Roman Polanski is so different from the fashionable and accepted way of directing now.

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I don't feel under pressure to work because I love what I do and I wanted to do the projects that came my way.

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The excruciating moments of drama are when people are allowed to show or say what they feel.

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I hope I never get in the situation where I refuse to audition, because I think people have a right to see you interpreting the character, and if you don't do it the way they want you to, they have a right to say, "No."

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It was as big as a Beatles concert, I guess.

Friends was unbelievably popular in Britain, and it was incredibly exciting. I had never experienced anything quite like that before in my life. I was honored to be a part of that.

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I'm on record as having said "I've done this amazing movie - The Sixth Sense - that no one is going to see." And then it stayed in the top 10 American films for about six months. So don't ask me. I'm the most disastrous PR and marketing predictor.

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Ewan McGregor and I said this to each other after we saw The Ghost Writer.

Every time Roman Polanski did a "No, no, no!," he was right. It was really as if a sculptor was asked to sculpt the embodiment of despair - that was the attitude he would strike. But as with every sort of inspiring teacher you ever had who was strict and scary, when you get it right, the sun comes out, and it's worth it.

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My skin may have wrinkles but it's because I'm smiling so much.

That might sound like some terrible American greetings card, but I feel it's immoral for me to castigate my body for getting older, when it does everything I ask of it.

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I don't tend to spend the whole day in the personality of the person I'm playing.

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The way I miss my daughter Esme is to worry about her.

It is not a pleasurable longing. It contorts my body and scrambles my brain, makes me stop breathing, clench my jaw and my fists, it makes me frown, and makes me blind and deaf, in fact entirely without sensory perception.

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My husband Rhashan reminds me of my father because he's got great strength of character.

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My parents' long and happy marriage was a great ideal to live up to, but a tough one.

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About Olivia Williams

Quotes 51 sayings
Profession Film actress
Birthday July 26, 1968

I am the worst judge of how a movie is going to do.

I always have great and ambitious hopes, but none of them see the light of day.

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I wanted to play a TV detective because it's a rite of passage;

I wanted to experience every area of acting. I haven't done comedy or as much Shakespeare as I had intended.

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The trouble with audition process is, when you're an unemployed actor, it's the only time you get to act, and it can be quite fun. If you feel in control of the material and you feel that the people are pleased to see you and are excited by you auditioning for them, it can be a really rewarding process. But it can also be a very humiliating process.

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It's funny, when people want things to be very truthful and you're dealing with an inexperienced actor. I'm of the school that believes things like that have to be very carefully choreographed. You need people there to say, "It's going to happen like this."

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My parents are both lawyers, and my father always said his best cases have been returns, cases that come into his office from another lawyer. So he said, "Never be ashamed to take a return." All my best roles have happened because someone else dropped out at the last minute, and God bless those actresses for their queeny fits, their sprained ankles, their better job turning up, because that's how I've got my best work.

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I couldn't get any of the ingenue roles when younger because at 5 feet 9 inches with a deep voice I was always too... genue. My career has completely happened since I was 29.

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I really needed to have something in my life, because I realized there were other things more important than my career. So I love having my children and my family.

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Roman Polanski actually said as much to me once.

He had his head in his hands, and I said, "Roman, I've got to tell you, as an actor, seeing the director with his head in his hands... Look, I really want to do what you want me to do." And he went away and he came back, having obviously thought about what I said. And he said, "When my head is in my hands, I'm closing my eyes and trying to remember what I saw in my head, before any of the stuff."

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I've been lucky enough to kiss three James Bonds on screen: Pierce Brosnan, George Lazenby and Daniel Craig.

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Carey Mulligan is completely self-possessed.

She knows what she's doing, and again, quite like the big-hitters I was talking about, my job was just to feel and reflect back the amazing performance coming my way. If anything, I was slightly pathetically flying in her tailwind. She's an extraordinary actress.

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The best Christmas present I got from my husband was a week to do whatever I wanted.

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My analysis of the situation was that Roman Polanski wasn't trying to break us down or get a performance out of us by destroying us. He was absolutely, very simply, trying to recreate this clear picture in his head. And the pictures he creates are absolutely perfect, and they are exactly what he saw in his head.

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When The Sixth Sense was the No. 1 movie in America, I had a Canadian boyfriend whose only assets at the time were a guitar and a van. I don't know what I was thinking.

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Working with Roman Polanski is funny.

It's like anything in life - someone warns you that something's going to be amazing or difficult or awful, and you say, "I can do that. I can cope with that." And then when you're in the middle of it, it may be joyful or tricky, but it's never difficult in the way you think it's going to be difficult.

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I tried not to get too addicted to reading the Whedonesque website, because it could become obsessive. They were a charming and loyal bunch of people to whom I'm eternally grateful.

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Family holidays and weekends are really brightly colored memories, full of my mother and father, rather than our nannies and au pairs.

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From a very young age, I wanted to get up on stage whenever I went to the theatre - the actors just seemed to be having so much fun. One of my worries about theatre, in fact, is that the actors are quite often having more fun than the audience.

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If the role is right and it's another situation of having a benevolent genius at the head of it, someone who likes actors, and will protect the actors from the ravages of reality-TV drama. It's a brutal world, and you need to have a strong creative team who can stand up to the network.

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I'm a mixture of Anglo-Saxon, a bit of Spanish and one-eighth American.

I've often wondered if I have an Asiatic ancestor from the East as well because I have deep-set eyes. Make-up artists are constantly trying to shade my eyelids, and I have to point out that I don't have any!

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I love the ups and downs and the eccentricities of my career.

The worst movies have produced some of the best friendships.

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My parents taught me everything and set me up for life.

I owe to them all the things I'm passionate about: music, art, the people I love, my career and family life, the fact that I have children and the way that I raise them.

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My very first friend was my stand-in, who's a very dear friend to this day, and she kind of saved my ass. She told me where to stand and where the camera was and where to look. I thought, "If I don't enjoy this, then there's absolutely no point in being an actor."

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I guess maybe I was hired to play in the Doll House because of my dinner scene in The Sixth Sense, which has been scrutinized a thousand times as to whether you know Bruce Willis is dead, or whether I'm talking to myself. I think that maybe if that could be my forte, to do a scene and be able to say it could be read this way or that way.

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I have many debates now with friends on the changes, and the continuing confusion over bringing up your children, instilling values, letting them make the right choices.

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When Roman Polanski did give you a "Great, great, great!" you were just like, "Thank you, Lord, for this magical moment."

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I'm not much of a Method actress, so even though my character in The Ghost Writer was quite dark and bad-tempered, I could only do that if I was seeming quite perky.

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There are movies where I've walked onto the set and felt, "This is home," and I'm confident in myself and my work, but that was my first experience of live TV. At that stage, Friends was at its unassailable height of popularity and brilliance.

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I'm 5'9" and have the body of an English person that doesn't know how to diet.

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There's this absurd situation on a movie set where your trailer's here and the set is here and the lunch tent is here, and you're not allowed to get yourself from these three places.

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Usually the casting process is lengthy and humiliating, but in this instance, The Ghost Writer, it was just too easy. I was sitting in a rental car on an L.A. street and my cell phone rang, and it was Roman Polanski on the line. I couldn't really believe my luck. He said, "See you in Berlin." I sat staring at a palm tree, thinking how surreal that was.

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I didn't know box office was a thing you could possess but I don't have it.

I go up for lovely roles and people with this nebulous thing called box office get them so there isn't much I can do about that unless you know where I can get some box-office myself!

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I was lucky, because Ewan McGregor had already been shooting with Roman Polanski for about a month before I got role. And he did a faultless impersonation of what it was going to be like. So when direction happened, it was like, "Oh yeah. That's what Ewan said was going to happen." And so it was a little bit less debilitating than it might have been.

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My agents were like "Come to L.A., we've got meetings for you." I was like "No, I'm doing this now." Then my father became very ill back in England, and I didn't want to be away. I went back to England and did a bunch of crazy indie movies, all of which I loved with a passion, and none of which did any business.

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For me, selfishly, The Postman didn't kill my career.

It meant I didn't shoot straight and painfully into the limelight, but Rushmore came out of it. No one would have known where I was to cast me in Rushmore had I not been in The Postman. Because they shared a producer. Nor would I have been in The Sixth Sense. Nor would I be speaking to you now if Kevin Costner hadn't cast me in The Postman.

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As I was getting into the helicopter, a slightly nervous actor said to me, "Whatever you do, don't say to the helicopter pilot, 'Show me what this baby can do.'" So I of course, got into it and said, "Show me what this baby can do." And we just had this insane helicopter ride. It's the sort of thing you only get to do on movie sets. I'm so lucky to have done it and have that chance.

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When the Hollywood thing happened, I thought at some point I'd get to the front of the queue: 'Yes, hello, I'd like to play that role.' But you don't. You just join a different queue.

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I think it's quite lucky that I lead this lifestyle, and in fact, my career's only gotten better as I've looked older, because it ages you, the uncertainty.

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