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Getting a standing ovation was kind of humbling that so many people are so happy that I have been named for this award. A lot of people say you're due - maybe you are, maybe you aren't - it's an accolade.

I don't get off on romantic parts. But I often think if I had had my dental work done early on, well, maybe.

I knew at an early age I wanted to act. Acting was always easy for me. I don't believe in predestination, but I do believe that once you get where ever it is you are going, that is where you were going to be.

If he [Clint Eastwood] hires you, he hires you because he feels like you know what to do. And he's very, very largely out of the way. He directs the picture, you do the acting. I love that, and I think that most of the people that he works with love that.

I gravitate towards gravitas.

I had a philosophic aversion to it. I didn't want to do the same thing twice. Then, I realized that my philosophical aversion was bullshit. I realized I liked Alex Cross. And the fact that he's black is totally incidental. That's a rare thing for a black actor to find. - on his hesitation to do Along Came a Spider (2001)

It was a wonderful experience. Steve Bing was the producer and was very generous. But the movie didn't turn out very well. The director [George Armitage] fell ill and we shut down production for a few weeks while he recuperated. And I think when he came back he just didn't pick up the ball and run with it the way he should have, and the movie suffered greatly for that. - on the failure of The Big Bounce (2004)

I've been living with myself all of my life, so I know all of me. So when I watch me, all I see is me. It's boring. - on why he dislikes watching his own films

I'm not intimidated by lead roles. I'm better in them. I don't feel pressure - I feel released at times like that. That's what I'm born to do.

I was in Africa when I got the call for Unforgiven (1992). Clint called my agency and made an offer for a western. I was like, 'He called for me?' It was jaw-dropping.

It took a long time for word of mouth to kick in because no one could say it. It was 'The Shimshunk Reduction', 'The Hudsucker Redemption'; I mean people just couldn't say it, which really made me angry because I knew that at the time! The movie we made was called 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption'. Isn't that a great title? But they were like, 'That won't fit on the marquee.' So it took a year or two for people to say it. Some people still can't say it.

If you don't show the actual violence and the audience provides their own violence, it's much more gruesome. This is a guy who spent a lot time planning and preparing, and what was he doing? He was punishing people for their sins. He had a moral agenda. A twisted moral agenda, but do you know how many people do? People in high places.

People thought it was a picture about slavery. But it wasn't about slavery at all. It was about American jurisprudence. The point of the film ultimately was that the President in not the king. But I think people were like, 'Jesus, not another movie about slavery!' We really do have a negative response to negative history. Which is a shame.

I knew that movie wasn't going to work. I don't think Brian De Palma had a clue. It struck me that he didn't read the book -- or that he didn't like the book. Originally they hired Alan Arkin to play the judge. Perfect. But it was not politically correct. They only had one black character in the film and he was not a positive character. So they fired Alan and hired me. I was kind of a suck ass for not turning it down, but they weren't going to give it back to Alan anyway. I never did get around to seeing the movie.

It's a tricky character, right on the edge of Uncle Remus. But I knew how to play him right away. I knew when I read it. I just saw him -- the dignity in the character. The only time I ever worried about it was when I was doing the show Off-Broadway, and all these Southerners would come back wiping their eyes and talking about how nostalgic it made them feel. How their grandmother had a chauffeur just like that. I was like, 'God damn it! I made these people nostalgic for the good ol' days!' But then I had some black friends see it, and they said, 'Oh, my grandfather was exactly like that.' So that made me feel okay. - on the character of Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy

That was a strange production. There were moments of extreme tension on the set. Between the producers and actors, between the director and actors, between everybody. Just this personality stuff between different groups. Very strange. Let's stop talking about that one.

I saw Fight Club (1999) and I didn't like it much. It's a great movie, well made, fabulous acting, but it just made me feel so bad. But David Fincher is an extraordinarily good director.

When I was doing press for Deep Impact (1998), reporters would always ask me how it felt to play the first black president, and I'd tell them, 'I'm not playing the first black president. I'm playing a president who happens to be black.' Or they'd ask me what sort of research I did for the role. Research? What kind of research do you need to play the president? He's a guy. Besides, we all know what presidents are like standing up there in a press conference. Hell, you don't have to do any research to play a president.

I saw Neil LaBute's first movie, 'In the Company of Men,' and I thought it sucked deeply. I mean, talk about a couple of scuzzy guys. Man, they were turds. But I was intrigued by the mind that would think this up and film it. Then I saw LaBute's second movie, 'Your Friends & Neighbors.' Not any better, but still intriguing. So then I got the script for 'Nurse Betty,' and I loved it and I went and met him. And it turns out he's married, has these lovely kids. He's just this big bear of a man. Cuddly, even. It didn't take any persuading to convince me to do the film.

When I got nominated for the Oscar for Street Smart (1987), it put rocket boosters in my career. Since childhood, all I wanted to do was make movies. I love the stage, but I wanted to be a movie actor.

Is there a movie I think I should have won the Oscar for? Yeah. All of them.

I don't know what my favorite film of mine is...But I think the most important film I was in was Glory (1989).

It was my idea to just do The Electric Company for a couple of years and go on. But you get trapped by that money thing. It's golden handcuffs. It gets a lot of people, including soap opera actors and commercial actors. Then, they don't want to see you in serious work. That was going to be me, having people come up me saying 'My kids love you!'. I was there three years too long.

I find it difficult to watch myself...I find it boring.

I was talking to Bob Hoskins when we were making Unleashed together. We were talking about the joy of doing bad guys. And he confirmed exactly what I was thinking. With bad guys you get to let it all out. All those dark places in your psyche? You can let 'em go. When you play good guys, it's kind of boring. It's one note.

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