Maybe this is a way of gaslighting myself, but I think of it this way: In certain circles, my grandpa was considered to be one of the seminal directors of the 20th century. I’m never going to be that. So I might as well do whatever I want.
I will be a broken record for justice.
In New York you can just walk out and be among people. You’re on the subway among people, you go to cafes, you can talk to people.
People really do make the assumption that I had some weirdo Hollywood upbringing, but my parents are incredibly down-to-earth people who worked really hard to raise us in a way that was health.
I have mad luck. I’m super-good at games like backgammon or anything that requires rolling dice.
I think action should be revealed through character, so if you have a plot problem, it’s probably a character problem.
I’m klutzy, and I don’t embarrass easily.
I think movies have much more magic than the theater. Theater can be a magical experience, but movies thrust their subjectivity on you in a more profound way.
That moment in ‘Broadcast News’ where Holly Hunter is told how great it is to be the smartest person in the room, and she cries and says it’s awful – I definitely have moments like that sometimes, moments when introspection and drive can be lonely-making. And it doesn’t help that I have a partner who is very work-oriented.
When ‘Ruby Sparks’ came out, I had to do so many interviews where I had to explain the film and my politics. And I think there was a willful misunderstanding by some people. They thought the movie was trying to perpetrate the thing the movie was deconstructing.
I remember being two, maybe, and hearing my mum’s typewriter in the other room and sticking my hands under the door and screaming, ‘Mum! Mum!’ I was so angry she wouldn’t come out. I got used to it quickly.
You set up the story, but the characters start talking, and they go places that you didn’t expect. You have to follow.
I encourage everyone to read James Baldwin and Malcom X and Aldous Huxley. To read Primo Levi. To read ‘Silent Spring.’ To read Toni Morrison. To read Zora Neale Hurston.
My hero is Michelle Williams, who I grew close to when we did ‘Meek’s Cutoff.’ She’s an extraordinary actor and mom.
I hate going to bed. I read scripts, clean, listen to the radio – I’ve fallen asleep to ‘This American Life’ more times than I can count!
I do feel like I have the superpower of not caring about my body as an actor.
I almost never write because I want something from my audience. Almost everything I’ve ever written, I’ve written because I feel like I have to write this or I’ll die. Like, this has to come out of me.
I’m a very serious person. Unfortunately, sometimes.
Well, I have a sister that I’m very close with, and that relationship is probably the most intense relationship of my life to date, probably of my life, period.
And when I get bored, it’s like the worst parts of me come out. I really veer to self-destructive tendencies quickly.
I find playwriting to be incredibly difficult compared to screenwriting. Part of it is that I grew up watching movies and not watching plays.
I grew up speaking Spanish. The woman who helped raise me was only Spanish-speaking, so it was one of my primary languages as a kid. And I lived in Spain for a while.
Sometimes I feel that the people I’m writing are more real to me than the people around me. When you take that imaginative leap, you’re living so much in that world.
It was very hard for me to come back to a place of feeling normal about food and about my body. And then, when I came to the other side of it, it felt like something was gone. An exorcism. I still experience the same chemical swings and moods and pain, but I’m much better at dealing with it than I was at 18.
If I ever feel that acting is just soul-sucking and I don’t want to do it anymore, I could stop.
People are always asking me – because of my family – if I ever feel pressure or feel like I have something to live up to. And having that in the back of my head, I’ve just learned to be really brave even in the face of feeling ill-prepared.
But my family’s really close and I was interested in what Mommy and Daddy did for a living. So when Mommy and Daddy had a script that wasn’t totally age inappropriate, they would let me read it. And we would talk about it.
I find playwriting really painful. I love it, or I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t love the theater as much as I love movies.
I grew up in L.A., and I don’t think I’ve seen L.A. onscreen in a way that felt real to me. There are definitely movies, but they are few and far between.
I want to derive pleasure from this planet and put pleasure back into it.
And I think the female creative urge is intrinsically biologically linked to our ability to give birth to a child, even if we’ve never… I’ve never given birth, but I feel like it’s part of our psychology.
I’ve always really been interested in the Pygmalion myth and both what it has to say about creativity and what it has to say about relationships between men and women.
I always wrote. My parents are writers. It just seemed like something people did.
I read a lot of plays as a kid, but I didn’t see that many plays, so I feel better-versed in film history and film structure. I just think it’s easier to think in pictures.
I took a writing class in college, liked it, and my first year out of school I couldn’t get a job, so I wrote a play.
I love bad movies, whereas going to the theater for me is a painful experience. I think it’s really hard to sit and watch actors do something live and have it not go well.
My schedule is completely different doing a play than it is doing a movie, and I actually think it’s a much harder schedule because you’ve got to do it eight times a week and you’ve got to do it good eight times a week and with different kinds of audiences who are cold or drunk or tired, whatever it is.
I never wanted to be a playwright.
I don’t have a lot of patience for boring arthouse movies.
Historically, art and music and writing and film have been one of the only tools that is effective against tyranny.
I wasn’t raised in a family that cared about how you look. The fact that I have made my living in acting, where that matters, that really feels antithetical to me as a person.
I really love people. I love to meet people. I’m curious about people.
There’s something really earnest inside me all the time. It’s not a cool or fun way to be. Sometimes I would like to experience being someone who’s not wired the way I’m wired.
I think a famous parent is really different from a famous grandparent. My parents are very successful, but no one knows who they are, and they live a completely grounded, homey life. I’m friends with the Gummer girls, whose mum is Meryl Streep, and that feels from the outside like a different kind of burden.
I love to walk around New York. Honestly, that’s like the best thing, to walk over to Park Slope and go visit my friend Betty and take her dog out in the park or go walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I really dig being outside and getting to see everybody in the street.
Anytime that I’ve felt uninspired, I don’t force myself to sit down and write. I only do it when I feel the impulse.
If I’m not working, I don’t feel complete.
I’m used to very low-budget situations. In ‘The Exploding Girl,’ we were literally changing in Starbucks because we didn’t have trailers.
And then the really awful thing is that at the end of the day after crying and experiencing things, then you look at what you’ve written and you’re like, ‘Hmm, there’s half a page that’s good here.’ Then you throw out everything else.
When I look back, I can say that the summer when I was 19 was a formative time for me. But at the time I just thought I was making tofu every night for dinner and going to work.
You can have a wonderful time doing a movie and believe in it completely, and then you see the final product, and it doesn’t look anything like what you thought it was going to.
Every role requires its own set of tools, and I think, because of that, it is very hard to ever feel totally prepared or totally able.
Turning 30 changed me in ways I didn’t expect. For the very first time, I felt like my life is valuable. Not my life because I’m putting something good into the world or I’m well-respected in my field, but my life as a human being on this planet for a limited amount of time.
I think most actors jump at the chance to do something where the camera’s on them all the time.
I think film writing, you’re thinking in pictures, and stage writing, you’re thinking in dialogue. In film writing, it’s also, you only get so many words, so everything has to earn its place in a really economical way. I think for stage writing, you have more leeway.
I don’t want to do every independent film offered to me.
The causes for my eating disorder ran along the usual lines: depression, an inability to express my rage, a desire to exert control, a desire to feel less, a desire to have my body express the things my voice could not. That, and I had gotten in the habit of believing it was better to take up less space.
I can work a lot faster when I’m writing a screenplay than when I’m writing a play because, if I’m having a problem with a scene or something, I can just be writing it in a way where there’s no dialogue, or find a way to make sound do the work that I want to do or a close-up do the work that I need to do.
I don’t like pretentious films or pretentious people.
When I’m writing, I look like a fool because the parts are moving through me and I’m crying and laughing and making faces.
When my first play was produced, I had this sudden feeling that I feel powerful. Like, the next time I go into an audition room, and it’s me and the same eight girls as always, I will have this thing that no one can take away from me. They can see us all as interchangeable. But I am not interchangeable.
Writing-wise, I like to have a lot of things on the burners at once, because when I hit a wall, I like to move on to the thing I haven’t hit a wall on.