Judd Nelson quotes and sayings
November 28, 1959
The movie that's had the most effect on me is Jaws. To this day when I'm in the ocean, I'm hearing that music.
It's very easy to confuse Sean Connery with James Bond. Sometimes in the entertainment industry, people believe the cake is more real than the baker.
Kim Coates is really funny. He's a blast. If you have to get beaten up and tortured, he's a good guy to get tortured by.
Part of the reason I thought that I might do a series is, my dad has pretty much been on the same road to work for years and years. And it's like, "Could I do something like that? Am I so independent that I can't punch the clock at the same place?" So part of it was a kind of exercise. "Can I be responsible in this way?" And lo and behold, I could. Luckily. It'd be bad if I couldn't.
I had to audition for Fandango. When I read the script, the role that was interesting - so everyone thought - was the role that Costner played. He was the cool guy. And I read the script, and my representation at the time said, "That's the role you should read for." And I was like, "Really? How about I read for this other role." And they went, "Well, you're not going to get that role.".
Phil Hicks was the guy that was in the ROTC, that was going to go into the Vietnam War and thought that was the responsibility of the citizen.
I don't know if one's more typecasting than the other, or what I am more like. But I know that the high school I went to was a private school. It was prep school. It was a boarding school. So we didn't have a shop class. We didn't have Saturday detention. We went to school on Saturday. We did have Sunday study, which you very rarely get, because then you have 13 straight days of school. Who wants that?
While they would have provided financial support if I had needed it, the greatest support my parents gave was emotional, psychological.
Trace Adkins is such a great guy. Really is. And he's got that incredible voice - low, deep. He throws words around like "my dental coverage.".
I would go to trials a lot in Boston, as best I could. And it's incredible that, like, lawyers that had a good case weren't dramatic at all. Lawyers that had a horrible case would sing and dance and do whatever it took to convince the jury or the judge that this guy was innocent. So that was a cool thing to see because that made me believe that what the script of From The Hip was doing was totally believable. Now, maybe not ordinary. But it could happen.
I was living in New York, so I just rode my motorcycle up to the set of New Jack City. So first day of work for me was kind of tough. I get ready to get off my bike, and I'm surrounded by the security guards, who were Louis Farrakhan's Nation Of Islam guys. Who had the double-breasted suits and guns. And this guy goes, "Where you going?" And I said, "I'm here to work." And they said, "No you're not." And I said, "Yeah. I'm here to work on the movie." And they said, "No you're not. Get on your bike.".
I took all the philosophy courses I could.
I went to acting school with Mario Van Peebles. For a little while, he was at the same school. So he asked me if I wanted to do New Jack City. He said, "There's not really a role. We'll figure something out. But would you like to?" And I was like, "Sure." 'Cause he said it was Chris Rock and Ice T's first movie.
It's more like the inner workings of John Bender. He feels like he's been given a short shrift, he's not been provided the opportunities that maybe these other kids have. So he feels like he begins in a hole. And instead of trying to raise himself up, he wants to bring all of them down. That's a dynamic that's pretty universal. And so that was the real foothold on that. It wasn't like, "Oh, my high school experience is like John Bender's in St. Elmo's Fire.".
I have adopted clothes from all the projects I'm in. It's really been a while since I've bought anything myself.
I got to play Santa, too. It's really important to play Santa, you know.
You have to be so confident and so gifted to fill five minutes of nothing at the very beginning of a play before even a word is uttered.
I like Chicago. It's a great city. It's always fun to revisit it.
Alien's a great one. That's a scary movie.
My first love is acting on stage. A sitcom is a hybrid of stage and film.
Young alienation, disappointment and heartache is all a part of the first real growing up that we do.
There were a few things that, in rehearsal, any one of us might try. John Hughes would go, "I like that," to me spitting up in the air and catching it in my mouth. It was just something I did in a rehearsal and Molly Ringwald went, "Ewww." And John went, "Can you do that again?" And I went all day long, and he was like, "Okay, let's do that.".
I think that there's room for everyone. I don't think that if one person succeeds then another must fail. That's lunacy. I'm not sure what the reasons are for my philosophy, maybe it's the fact that if there are ten people doing the same job, we all know how we feel and what our high points and low points are.
I enjoyed playing lawyer in From The Hip as an ode to my dad. My dad went to Harvard and Harvard Law School, so he had some friends that practiced in Boston. So, there was a big law firm that he hooked me up with the senior partner, then the senior partner hooked me up with a young lawyer who worked in the firm. And the young lawyer was married to a public defender. So I would hang out with them, and I could see both sides of it, those that are corporate attorneys and those that help the poor and the disenfranchised.
Death is not my best subject.
As they were building that library in that school's gym in the Breakfast Club, they built a rehearsal space for us. It was really an empty room taped out with the same dimensions of the library. And they had the tables all there. And he had us sitting at the same table. All of us.
I just couldn't go back to Suddenly Susan after David Strickland's suicide. I didn't see how we could make the show light and funny any more.
You can be knocked down, but it doesn't mean you're out.
It's a profession where merit is not necessarily rewarded.
We with Emilio Estevez asked if we could take some things in Breakfast Club that weren't in the shooting draft, but from earlier drafts, "Can we maybe use this?" And Hughes was very amenable to all that. And there was some stuff that I liked, and I said, "How about this?" And he went, "Well, we'll check with Molly Ringwald. Those scenes are with her. And if she likes it, fine." So it was just wonderful. It was great.
I like being a villain. Villains are more exciting.
Ice T was just a pleasure to work with. He was a smart gentleman.
John Hughes was well aware that to ignore the seriousness of young people is to encourage things like Columbine, so you might want to listen. And we were all pretty serious, a little bit, in high school. Some a little more than others.
It was an audition process after Breakfast Club, and I wasn't really sure I wanted to do the movie. There was a bigger role that Rob Lowe was already set to play, so the role they wanted me to audition for was Alec. Director Joel Schumacher... this is back in the days when you could trick me with things like this. He goes, "Don't you think you can play it?" And I go, "Okaaaaay." So then I did it for all the wrong reasons but I don't think I would fall for that again. Who knows. I might.
Santa Jr. I was a cop. Yes, I was officially Santa. But a younger Santa. He goes young, clean-shaven, to how we imagine Santa with all the white hair and beard and "Ho ho ho." Kind of funny.
It's like they talk about how American actors have the method and English actors just kind of switch views faster. And John Hurt is telling me the story as he's sitting in that witness chair, and they're putting the final touches of makeup on. And he goes, "Hold on a second," to stop his story so he can do the take. And he does this incredible take. They go, "Cut." And then immediately John goes, "Anyways, so Alec, he's playing the chess." And I'm just going, "Holy crap." You get whiplash from those kinds of quick turns!
My first paid acting job was a movie called Fandango. It also starred Kevin Costner.
I like every single actor or actress in the world, because we never know what the conditions are like when they are working. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and root for them like a psychotic sports fan.
Though John Hughes did provide for us, if we wanted, to go to a local high school and try to blend in. Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald already had school to go to with their tutors. Ally Sheedy wanted nothing to do with high school. She said, "I remember it fine. I don't want to go back." Which is great. So Emilio Estevez and I went. And Emilio lasted a couple hours because people recognized him from The Outsiders that had already been out, so his cover was blown.
I am very grateful to make my living doing what I would do for free.
We tried the first evening to go down Division Street and Rush Street, but we couldn't get in anywhere because they didn't like Emilio Estevez sneakers and they didn't like my boots. This was 1983 or '84, so it was ridiculous. We ended up at a jazz club, where you go downstairs and there's a very cool place.
You just have to learn certain technical things, like where the camera is, not to block people's light in your own, to hit your marks, and that you do it kind of piecemeal.
The Dark Backward. Bill Paxton is in it with me. Wayne Newton. James Caan. Adam Rifkin wrote and directed it. It was made a number of years ago and very odd. Not for the squeamish.
In a good script, it's really like a treasure map. You just focus on that, all the answers are pretty much in it.
Just because you've only been alive for fifteen years doesn't mean you're less anything except old. That's all it means. It doesn't mean you're less experienced. It doesn't mean you're less intelligent. It doesn't mean you're less sensitive. It doesn't mean you take things less seriously. It's like, these are younger human beings, meaning don't, because they're only ten, start thinking that they don't know what you're talking about -because they do. Don't leave people out in the cold, and don't talk down to people -don't. It never works out.
As a kid I had a crush on Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch.
I'm involved with Recording Artists and Actors Against Drunk Driving. I'm also involved with most children's causes, because children can't help the environment they're in.
I got offered to do Ben 10. Sue Blu was the voice director of that, and I had worked with her - I think she was on Transformers as well. And she was so great.
There was no one really like John Bender at my high school.
Fandango is not really a Western. It's really just set in Texas. It's a road picture. And then I did one that hasn't come out yet called Kreep, which is set in Texas, but it's not really a Western. But it has a more rural-Texas feel to it.
Catcher in the Rye had a profound impact on me-the idea that we all have lots of dreams that are slowly being chipped away as we grow up.
It's still a bottom-line business. You can be out of control, and if they want you, they'll pick you. And you can be a mensch, and if you're not the product they want, you won't get it.
A fancy watch, it's completely unnecessary. I just need a watch to tell the right time.
Heroes always make the right decision; I find that seldom happens in my life.
We worked six days a week on the The Breakfast Club, so you have one day off. So on that Saturday night, it's not like we could all go out and have a drink because Molly Ringwald and Michael Hall weren't old enough. And Ally Sheedy pretty much kept to herself. So Emilio and I, every Saturday night, would go into Chicago because we were shooting outside of Chicago in Des Plaines. It's so funny, because even though we might be adversaries in the film, we certainly weren't off-camera. He's a very funny guy.
I don't know if it matters what country you're from, size of the city you're from, urban or rural, there are people that are hurting each other everywhere.
I worked with the late Leonard Frey. I did a play, and I would have these ideas and he would say, "I don't know. Try it." And I would try it and it would be awful, and he would go, "What do you think?" And I would go, "It was awful." And he goes, "Okay, we'll try something else." And that's great because it really makes you feel less working-for and more working-with. There's nothing better than to feel a part of the team.
Almost anything makes me laugh, especially jokes at my own expense. And I will never, ever admit to being ticklish anywhere.
I think that sometimes you don't have the opportunities for some of the most A-list-type movies, big-budget movies. But I think it's important to keep working and make the best of what's available. Because otherwise, what? Are you just going to get bitter and moan? What does my mom always say? "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.".
I wanted to meet Orson Welles. So I was like, whatever, somehow get me in on this. I'm able to get cast in it, but Orson Welles worked alone. He worked before all of us worked. He didn't want to work with anyone else.
You get the sense that John Hughes is so right about the way groups divide and then divide again and then sometimes align and then sometimes break apart. And this idea that Michael Hall's character says, "On Monday, are we going to be friends?" you know, based on this.
I was just in a few episodes the first season of Empire. They didn't kill me, but I haven't been back in season two or three. I don't know if they have plans for me or not. But I enjoyed working on it. And I think it's a really talented group of actors and, boy, very enterprising to try and shoot those every week, you know, with musical numbers and all that stuff.
I love the rehearsal process in the theater, and the visceral sense of contact and communication with a live audience.
I went and saw him John Hurt here in L.A.He did a one-man Beckett show of Krapp's Last Tape. I went back and saw him afterwards, and what an actor he is. He is so gifted.
Paul Gleason he was a great guy. I loved working with him.
My closest friend is canine. I have precious few close friends, and most of them are not actors.
I play a garbage man who moonlights as a stand-up comedian. Terrible.
I put less stock in others' opinions than my own. No one else's opinions could derail me.
You have to kind of roll with the punches. That's why I think work begets work to a certain degree. I just try and keep busy.
I remember Emilio Estevez and I were at John's house during the rehearsal process. And John Huges had mentioned he wrote the first draft of Breakfast Club in a weekend. And we both at the same time went, "First draft? How many do you have?" And John said he's got four other drafts. And we go, "Can we read them?" And for the next three hours, Emilio and I read those other four drafts.
Breakfast Club was great because we had a real rehearsal, and we shot primarily in sequence. I thought that was going to be how movies were done. I didn't really know how lucky we all were. We had a director that liked actors. I didn't know that was going to be rare.
Remember to be as smart as you are.
You know who was wonderful to work with? Was Paul Gleason, may he rest in peace.
When I was in college, all the pretty women were in the theater, so I auditioned for a play.
I think I was, like, 23 or something on The Breakfast Club. I was the oldest of the five. Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy were a year younger. The only real difference was that Molly Ringwald and Michael Hall still had to go to school. They could shoot, like, a half day. So a lot of my close coverage was done with Molly's stand-in, so Molly could do her schoolwork.
John Hughes was open to that rehearsal. This can only happen if the director and/or the writer are open to that.
I was trained by Stella Adler for theater so you kind of give it all on every take.
Paul Gleason played the teacher. I just tortured him as best I could. 'Cause he wasn't one of the kids, you know, so it was okay. He was great.
I wasn't Santa in Santa Jr., but I was Santa in Cancel Christmas.
The first animation thing I did was the first Transformers, the one that was animated many years ago. And I had heard that Orson Welles was doing a voice on it.
My Brat Pack buddies and I didn't exactly handle celebrity very well. Success at an early age is far more difficult to handle than failure.
Voice-over stuff is so much fun because you don't have hair and makeup and wardrobe. You get to show up. And there were some talented people, and we don't even know them. And they're so gifted. They can do all these accents and voices. It's really fun to do that stuff. It's really like actor camp.
All of the directors I've worked with I have loved and would work with again. I have no favorites.
Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.
I did a Moonlighting episode because I was friends with Whoopi Goldberg, who guest-starred in the same episode, and she asked me to do it and I did it. But yeah, that was my first regular on a series, and it's because I'd met Brooke Shields a number of years earlier at a charity event.
John Hughes really wanted it to sound authentic. He was a real collaborator. He encouraged us to bring to the material things we thought were maybe more truthful.
It's strange, 'cause a play, you start at the beginning and you go all the way through to the end. So it's naturally very well rehearsed and you get a rhythm and a flow. In film, you can shoot the ending before the beginning. It's very odd. And it's like a craft you have to learn.
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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