James Woods is probably one of the most quotable actors in showbiz today. Sometimes one literally gasps at the harshness and acerbity of many statements, but he certainly is highly entertaining. Let's look at a few examples that are "100 % Pure Woods" and some that show a more pensive side of the actor.
"Everything is denial. All these girls in Hollywood walk around with these bottles of water so they won't get toxins in their system, and they're all fuckin' dying of anorexia nervosa. They're all smoking cigarettes, they're all throwing up in the toilet every night. Half of them are doing drugs. They all look like they're made of pencils. Their skin is hanging off their fucking bones. Their body image is their only image. Their self-esteem has been ripped to shit by all the horrible ramifications of the nasty parts of feminism - not the good stuff, which is important, but the nastier stuff, the male-bashing stuff."
"It's just a bunch of old shit - all these guys pretending to be a radish. If it's a great script and you're working with good people, the most obvious thing is to work out who your character is, where he's coming from, where he's going. I've had to deal with so many football players and models because Lee Strasberg said anybody can act. They're so fucking annoying. It's 4 am, and you're trying to get some shot done, and they're there with some fucking coach moaning about how they can't feel this, can't feel that. Don't tell me what it feels like to be a radish. Just say the goddamn lines and get on with it."
"Henry Kissinger made a big thing about the fact that in the movie Nixon he was shown smoking a cigar even though he doesn't smoke cigars. Who gives a shit? We were more concerned about the fact that you were bombing Cambodia, you prick."
"You know, I don't think there are any more bad guys - I'm tempted to make so many jokes about this issue. You know, these days you don't know how to define the bad guy. I mean, you look at the people who get acquitted these days and people who don't get indicted at all. I don't know how you can accuse anybody of being a bad guy."
"Achieving success as an actor has not been easy for me. My biggest, probably most irrational complaint has been that I've had to work harder for what I've gotten. I've seen other people with nepotism or wealth or cheesy good looks on their side who've had it easy, whereas I felt that I had to 'overprove' myself. No one ever went out of their way and said, 'Let's make Jimmy Woods a star.' With many frustrations and disappointments early in my career, I went into a deep depression. One time, I just sat in a chair for eighteen days. I worked my way out of that depressed state, but it took three years of therapy.
"They always want me to play these edgy, intense characters. I know it sounds terrible, but it's the thing that I'm least good at doing."
"I play the edgy characters, and I think that keeps people on their toes. Which is good, because I'm not like that at all, but better that they should think I am and approach gingerly."
"What psycho-sociopathic territory? How do you get there? Turn left at schizophrenia and carry on past serial killer?"
"If you have to be typed for anything, better for the bad guy than for anything else. Because you get to do it forever, and they're more intriguing parts.
"Do I look like some crazy person? I'm a guy who plays golf, reads books, and does movies. I've never been arrested, I don't drink, I don't do drugs ... I'm living in one of the most beautiful houses you'll ever see in your life - and by the way, you'll notice that instead of being one of those 20.000-square-foot pimp houses you see in Beverly Hills with two feet of Lawn, it's a two-bedroom house. I go to the Good Shepherd every Sunday for Mass. What's the problem? Wake up and look at the facts. Facts are friendly."
"I like doing movies that are about something. I've played, probably, as many real-life characters as anybody in the business ever has. And I've done a lot of, I hope, socially relevant, politically or culturally important films, insofar as they deal with real subjects, like alcoholism or schizophrenia or child molestation or politics."
"Mainstream films are going to be fine, always. They're predicated on entertainment, which they should be. They're predicated on profit, which they should be. And they usually succeed very well at both, which they should do. I'm all for it and like being a part of it - from time to time. I also like that other side that needs a little more light and care and watering and fertilizer, and pruning and weeding, and needs to be tended - like any sort of garden that works in semi-shade. You've got to work a little harder, but that venue is important if not more important for everybody, and it's certainly more important in my life."