I don’t want to just sell war bonds. I want to be a sailor.
I hope you won’t be disappointed. You see I am not a very interesting person. I haven’t ever done anything except be other people. I ain’t really Henry Fonda! Nobody could be. Nobody could have that much integrity.
I’m not that pristine pure, I guess I’ve broken as many rules as the next feller. But I reckon my face looks honest enough and if people buy it, Hallelujah.
Baby it out. That’s an old marble shooter’s expression for approaching your target cautiously instead of trying to take it out with one shot.
Next to Clint Eastwood’s father, he personally had done more for ‘Clint Eastwood’ than anyone else.”
I guess I go overboard to avoid taking credit for the image I have. That’s why it’s easier to live with myself. I don’t feel I’m totally a man of integrity.
If there is something in my eyes, a kind of honesty in the face, then I guess you could say that’s the man I’d like to be, the man I want to be.
I look like my father. To this day, when I walk past a mirror and see my reflection in it, my first impression is: That’s my father. There is a strong Fonda look.
“I didn’t help or discourage them or lead them by the hand. I’m not trying to set myself up as a good father, because I wasn’t a good father. But I think I knew instinctively that if they did make it, they would like to know they’d done it on their own. I recognise all the problems my children have had, and I don’t claim any credit for what they’ve become. They’ve become what they are in spite of me.”
I can’t articulate about the Method because I never studied it. I don’t mean to suggest that I have any feelings one way or the other about it. I don’t know what the Method is and I don’t care what the Method is. Everybody’s got a method. Everybody can’t articulate about their method, and I can’t, if I have a method – and Jane sometimes says that I use the Method, that is, the capital letter Method, without being aware of it. Maybe I do, it doesn’t matter.
I’ve been close to Bette Davis for thirty-eight years – and I have the cigarette burns to prove it.
It has to do with the fact that Ford, for all his greatness, is an Irish egomaniac, as anyone who knows him will say.
I don’t want to be in a fake war in a studio.
He had instinctively a beautiful eye for the camera. But he was also an egomaniac.
He was so egomaniacal. He would never rehearse, didn’t want to talk about a part. If an actor started to ask questions he’d either take those pages and tear them out of the script or insult him in an awful way. He loved getting his shot on the first take, which for him meant it was fresh. He would print the first take — even if it wasn’t any good.
[on War and Peace (1956) and referring to author of book Leo Tolstoy] When I first agreed to do it, the screenplay by Irwin Shaw was fine, but what happened? King Vidor used to go home nights with his wife and rewrite it. All the genius of Tolstoy went out the window.
Money must be, I guess, what first took me to Hollywood. When I first came out, I certainly had NO ambition to make pictures.
I don’t really like myself. Never did. People mix me up with the characters I play. I’m not a great guy like Doug Roberts [in ‘Mister Roberts’]. I’d like to be but I’m not.
Anyone who gives the same performance he gave on opening night is not doing a good job. Unless a performance is growing constantly, unless the actor is finding new insights into the character, he must grow stale.
Their idea of Pierre was that he look as much like Rock Hudson as possible.
I don’t think there’s anybody better when he wants to be good.
At a roast for Bette Davis, after many references to her chain smoking, Fonda said we really didn’t mean to burn down the sets on Jezebel, but there was Bette and those damned cigarettes, which resulted in uproarious laughter.
I wasn’t smart enough to be discouraged. I keep saying that and I don’t think anybody really understands or believes it…. I didn’t ever think about doing anything else. I wasn’t prepared to do anything else. I hadn’t any talent to do anything else.
The best actors do not let the wheels show.