The empirical is very important, but merit is inherent and not acquired. A university is massively important because you can see where you stand naturally in the ranks, and try yourself out, but education is just reading and understanding what you read.

— William Monahan

The most fulfilling William Monahan quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

Star Wars was great at the beginning and crap at the end while Star Trek has always been interesting, and the difference is in the writing, and the thematic intentions.

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I think that gambling is a synthetic experience and that if you have any balls you gamble with your life. I have. So can everybody else.

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There's always a great hue and cry when you sign onto a "remake," and that's always been sort of annoying me and freaking me out. This profession that we're in is drama. What drama has been since the beginning is, you restage plays with new casts, or a writer will take a new run at an old story.

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I'm a homebody, as many writers are, and need to be by myself, and I like to be by the Atlantic Ocean.

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Out of all of the Star Trek movies, I happen to like the most recent one the best. I think it was the best one ever done.

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If TV seems improved, I think it's been enhanced by violence and sex permissible on cable, as well as better cinematography, but in the end it's really only soap operas like your grandmother's afternoon "stories" and that's all it wants to be or has to be.

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I don't like scripts leaking. On the other hand, the more real attention a script gets, the better.

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T.S. Eliot, who learned to swim at the same beach as I did, just threw in the towel and moved to Cheyne Walk. I'm not going to do that but I'm not scared of the open channel between me and Britain.

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You know a shooter when you see it. At least the creative people do. If a picture isn't obvious in the first draft you're kind of screwed.

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The era I love most is the Federal period, just after the Revolution and the formation of the United States. The birth of America as a nation coincided with the Romantic era and I've always been thoroughly into the Romantics and I've always been thoroughly into America, particularly at the time when it was a brand new idea, when it was something brand new in the world. It was a very exciting time in the world because of the birth of America

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The novel ceases to be looked at as a novel.

Such is the overwhelming power of motion pictures. Gore Vidal pointed out that the movies are the only thing anybody's really interested in. The association with movies and movie money can, and certainly did in my case, occlude a novel as a novel.

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I wanted to do London Boulevard because I saw the potential of a story about two people who need each other desperately, who love at first sight, as one does, and above all a story in which no one is what they appear to be.

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About William Monahan

Quotes 132 sayings
Profession Screenwriter
Birthday November 3, 1960

Whatever you cut when there's no deadline isn't really a cut. You're just pushing colors around.

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A writer is a performer as well. A writer isn't the literary department. That gets tried on but nothing's a script unless a good writer goes away and does his thing alone.

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There's only one way to prep, so far as I know.

You have your script, you hire the people you want, you find your locations and your setups, everybody shows up and you shoot the film.

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I'm a guy whose first motion picture experience was seeing Ridley Scott glide past on a camera on a hundred and fifty million dollar film, and prep two movies, and there is no way to overstate that when you've worked with Ridley, it's like having been a quarterdeck lieutenant to Lord Nelson.

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In Boston terms I was everyone and no one, with no social investment, no social insecurity, sort of Imitation of Christ in one hand and The Education of Henry Adams in the other, and because I was part of nothing I could observe everything without having anything personal invested in the findings.

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Redrafts can be very lucrative for me, but you must understand that if films go through many drafts or writers it's because someone doesn't want to do the picture and never will.

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Yeah, well I can't see a situation where I wouldn't at least re-write as a director something I was going to direct. At the moment, I wouldn't direct anything that I hadn't written. I can now say, as everybody else says, that it all depends on the script.

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Wisdom is not having illusions, especially anything in your own mind that elevates you above others.

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You evolve in the ways in which you are precious.

When you are the director, you are also continuing to write on the floor as you go along.

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London exists normally in a state of bleach bypass.

There's the artistic context of "Blow Up" and "Performance" and all the Sixties and Seventies British films that I grew up on, because I did very much grow up on British films.

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I think probably everybody works most on the beginning and the ending.

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I have a lot of stuff that I never published because I always had a sense that novels were not finally going to be the way I made my living, because the form was dying commercially.

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When I started writing screenplays, as early as I started writing anything, I hadn't seen any ordinary screenplays. I saw movies and figured out how I thought they should be written.

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It's interesting to think that my children know more about the process than many mature critics.

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Getting the correct writer is simply like casting.

You wouldn't hire an actor in order to tell him how to work. He knows how to work, which is why you hired him.

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Get Carter is a classic, but it did nothing in the United States.

It came out on a double bill with a Frank Sinatra western.

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I think the only real referent for anybody writing drama is probably Hamlet.

You have the most extreme tragic drama, this sort of blood-boltered thing, but it's also very funny, which is simply a matter of the playwright being alive and observant and entertaining, and understanding not only the world but what will play.

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If you need someone to come out of the sewer with a wire you don't hire someone who needs laborious collective instruction. You let someone do his job, whether he's a focus puller or a surgeon.

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In truth, the cinema as a delivery system obviously has its days numbered.

And that's not a bad thing. When you can buy any book in the world on your iPad, or off Amazon, you don't go the public library. The public library becomes about homeless gentlemen sleeping in chairs.

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As a director, you're given a tremendous apparatus to work with, and very great talents are available to you.

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If you're playing around with a film, you're just playing around with it.

But if it has to go into theaters, you get yourself into gear and finish it.

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There were days when you would get the TV listings from The Globe and The Herald. Video was out, but nobody could afford it...expect for my uncle George, who was a second father to me, and had every film in the world, and every book.

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It's been very much in the blood since I started imagining films or shooting with 8mm when I was a kid. I made some films and thought about films, but then I went into writing. Becket is something that's definitely on the cards. We have to see where that fits in the schedule, because it's a big picture and I have a lot of writing obligations at the moment. I'm wary of anything with a budget over a certain amount.

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I'm usually the first guy to propose a change because I'm continuing my process.

We're in a context, in this business, a context in which most screenplays work on a very modest level of achievement, in that a lot of them aren't really written by what you would call writers.

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You just have to know what you want and what you're doing and it leads to a kind of general well-being, which I think you sensed when you were there.

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The thing about movies is if somebody has an idea that works, it's in, and I say that as a screenwriter as well as a director.

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I'm more from a double world where I wasn't part of anything or invested in anything, because I was Irish, and very Irish, but also the other part of my family, not that it had airs, or money, was descended from the first minister on Cape Ann in the 1620s.

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Refreshing honesty has been getting me in trouble since I was five, but it's probably had some positive effects - like not being a liar.

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I learned from Ridley [Scott] how to come out of the trailer at a fast walk and make your decisions and keep it going. We were very much on time and under budget, as they say. That was a very important thing for me and very satisfactory.

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Dialogue is used to reveal not what we want to say, but what we are trying to hide.

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I shoot very little film. If you just do coverage you're shooting any number of potential films instead of just one, and I was shooting just one specific film. Film is cheap but time is expensive.

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I hate doing anything in offices. I either want to be out in the world or in my own environment - and it should be your own environment that you work in.

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If you change a location opportunistically, to gain a day on the schedule, which I did more than once, you have to re-rig everything creatively on the spot, and you not only have to be able to do that, but do it with great fluency to keep moving. I used to go apeshit when anything got changed in a film but you live and learn, and I have learned.

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I have no reason as a director to have films go up in versions that I don't like. My only experience of film after ten years is honestly that if a picture doesn't get second-guessed you're looking at four Oscars, and if a picture does get second-guessed, you're not. I've got an advanced degree in that lesson.

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When I was very young, you would get the TV listings from The Globe and The Herald, and you would basically go through them, circle things, and map out your viewing week.

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I think that scripts should be published, but they are published, really, because when you're a screenwriter, your stuff ends up in samizdat form on thousands and thousands of desks and shelves across the industry.

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I love editorial and sound and music, and I was working with the best people, so you learn a lot.

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