The 70th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on Jan. 13, 2013, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.
Cecil B. DeMille Award
In your acceptance speech, it sounded like you were retiring from acting.
Oh no! I could never stop acting. You’d have to drag me behind a team of horses. No, I’m not retiring from acting. I’d like to be directing tomorrow. If you have something that’s perfect for me, I’d like to be directing tomorrow. I’m actually more into it than I’ve ever been.
What were you trying to express about stepping away from acting?
People change. Change is important. Hopefully I’ll be doing different things than when I was 3 years old and 6 years old and 10 years old and 20 years old. Your work evolves. My work is evolving.
Can you clarify what you mean by evolving?
Well, I feel like acting has been this amazing film school for me. I got to learn from these amazing artists. And I’m really looking forward to directing more and spending more time using all the things that I learned and the things that I feel and that are about me and express me in that way through directing.
Why did you wait until tonight to talk about things that you’ve never publicly addressed?
The speech kind of speaks of itself. It’s a big, long career. It’s not just a career; it’s friendships and relationships. This is one of the first lifetime achievement awards I’ve ever gotten.
It does feel like a graduation. I feel like I’m graduating from something. I’m graduating from high school or college or something. It’s a big moment, and I wanted to say what’s most in my heart.
Who are your inspirations?
My mom was an amazing inspiration for me. She picked me up from school and took me to see foreign films. She wouldn’t let me do my homework because she really wanted me to see movies.
She passed that on to me. I’m grateful that she wanted me to be respected. That was her No. 1 goal for me. And I think that permeated my early career.
Meryl Streep … She’s the greatest. And she does something that’s beyond acting. It’s a transcendent experience watching her work.
Your friend Mel Gibson is controversial to a lot of people. Why have you stayed loyal to him?
I know Mel Gibson extremely well. He’s someone I love and that I work with and I respect. It’s not difficult to say that. It’s very easy to say that. The man that I know is a true and loyal friend and considerate and loving. And I think it’s important when people are struggling that you not run away from them if you love them.
I looked at the room tonight, and Kristen Stewart and Claire Danes and Jennifer Lawrence — all of these women I’ve worked with who were basically child actors like I was a child actor. And I feel very protective of them, because even though I have managed to get through the process relatively sanely, I have my scars. And in some ways I hope to be a member of their family that’s out there protecting them.
When you found out that you were getting this Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, did it make you re-evaluate your life and your future?
I think that’s what these awards do. They’re about looking into the patterns of your career and seeing how they express you and how they express you psychologically. I’m an actress. So that is what I do.
You’re attracted to material, you show your insides, you move people. That has an effect not just on other people but on you as well. That’s what we do. It’s all about our psychology.
Are you concerned about what people will be saying or writing about your acceptance speech?
No. Not really. I think it stands for itself, and it’s an expression of who I am and what I’m thinking and feeling.
What’s next for you?
I do hope that I’m directing more. And I really want to focus on that more because I spent a lot of years with too many years in between my movies. And my films are very hard to get off the ground. They’re personal films that are hard to get off the ground.
But there are also other avenues. Cable is very interesting to me now. I’ve worked in television, and I’m enjoying that.
Most child actors don’t have careers in acting that last through adulthood. Why do you think you’re one of the exceptions?
From the time I was little, my mom prepared me for the fact that my career would be over by the time I was 18. And she would say, “When you’re 18 and you get older, what are you going to be? Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be a lawyer? When your [acting] career is over, what are you going to be?”
And there was a part of me that just assumed that I would never grow up and be an actor. I’m very surprised that I ended up doing the same job that I did from the time I was 3. She also told me that when I was 40, my [acting] career would be over, so I’ve had to find something new to do. And I kept waiting: 41, 42, 43, 44.
I never thought that this is what I would do when I grew up, but I realized that I get to exercise to many other aspects creatively; literature, psychology, philosophy. It has the depth that you bring to it. And I didn’t realize that when I was little, but now I do.
You’ve accomplished so much in your life. What do you dream about doing?
My dreams are really simple. In some ways, they’re more of what I’ve already done, but most of my dreams revolve around directing and telling stories that are in some ways the stories of my life. That sounds really self-involved, doesn’t it?
But it could be about Martians and somehow still be about the things that impacted on me. Being an artist is a way of saying, “I’m here and this is what I stand for.” And I will never be tired of that.
What moves you about telling stories when you work behind the camera? As an actor, what do you bring as a director that maybe another director from another perspective couldn’t bring?
I think that’s my voice. I see the big picture, not the details. Most actors are detail people. And I’m a macro person. I love the complete voice of being a director, so that it sounds like you, it feels like you. It’s a full signature.
What am I like and what makes me different? Because I’m an actor, I think I talk to actors in a different way. I talk to them as if I was one of them. And I’m inside their process. I know how to be inside their process without being evasive.
But I also feel that the thing I bring to directing is I didn’t become a director because I wanted to use fancy cranes and big, fancy cameras. I came to it from the perspective of authentic emotion. And that’s how I designed my shots, that’s how I decided my locations, that’s how I figured out the costumes, that’s how I do rewrites. It’s how I do the authenticity of the emotions. It’s not about “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an explosion?”
Did you have a say in which movies were included in career highlight reel that was shown tonight?
You can’t really choose your movies because you love them all for different reasons. Some are better than others. But the first movie I directed, “Little Man Tate,” is just special. It’s like the first novel you write. It’s the most “you” and in some ways painfully you, because you see all the warts and the lack of confidence. It was such an important moment in my life, and that’s the one that brings tears to my eyes.
Do you wish you had done anything differently in any of the movies that were highlighted?
Any of the movies that were shot during my adolescence when I was chubby and had pimples and had a weird voice and made weird faces, I have a hard time looking at those. But other people don’t mind them. I just have a hard time looking at them.
For more info: Golden Globe Awards website
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