The thrill of performing - that's something that hasn't changed for me. That simultaneous joy of creating something and sharing it with an audience - it's the same now as it was then, when it was just my cousins' birthday party.
There's a certain type of character that you can't help but come in contact with growing up and living in Brooklyn and Long Island. A certain mixture of moxie, heart, and a wise guy sense of humor.
I could never have imagined the films I've done and the people I've worked with when I was starting out; I certainly did not have a career path.
I didn't really like the aloneness of doing stand-up. The comedians by nature weren't very - I mean, they were sociable, but they hung out in cliques, and it's very hard to get accepted; lots of competition.
I was really young, just playing with puppets a lot and doing all the voices and acting it out - normal kid stuff. But then I'd hear my mother talking about it to her relatives, marveling at it as if it was something unique. And it made me realize, 'Oh, maybe I do have a talent for something.'
When I was in pre-production for Trees Lounge, I was hearing the cinematographer talking with the production designer about colours and this and that, and feeling like I was losing control.
Growing up, yeah, I had a magic kit with learn tricks and learn card tricks, but I was never... I used to watch whatever magic special was on as a kid, but then, it's not that I lost interest, but to be a magician, you really, it's really hard work. Learning lines is hard enough; learning sleight of hand, that's real practice.
My dad had a temper. I have a temper. Most people I know have a temper. And I think it comes out mostly with your family. I don't think it's unique to the Buscemis, but it's something I've been able to tap into when I play certain roles.
I don't think it's necessary to be an actor to get great performances out of an actor. But I do think it helps me as a director because I know what I like as an actor, and I try to get that to the actors who I'm working with.
I read the script and decide if a particular character looks fun to play. I look for complexity and a sense of humor. Those are crucial, real things to life.
I talked with Quentin about where the character came from, and he told me Kansas City. I don't know how somebody talks from Kansas City, so I made him from New York.
All these directors, and I would include the Coen brothers and Quentin, have a very unique vision of what they want. They listen to ideas and make people feel like everyone is making the film.
I love working with Scorsese. He's not only a brilliant director and is great working with actors, but he's also a walking human film encyclopedia. It's fun to talk about movies with him.
I've never had a grand plan. I've only just tried to keep open to many different possibilities, have fun and work with people who are passionate about what they do.
Shooting in sequence, I think it intensifies everybody's relationship, the crew, the actors. You have to be very focused, and shooting at night is a challenge because you get tired. I think it requires a special kind of concentration, but it's also exhilarating.
When I moved to the East Village in the late seventies, I wanted to be a street performer, so I practiced daily. I never did work up the skills or the courage to perform on the street, though.
When I was doing stand-up, I was about twenty, and I really think that that's a little too young. I didn't have a whole lot of life experience to draw on.
What was frustrating about Armageddon was the time I spent not doing anything. It was a big special effects film, and I wasn't crazy about pretending I was in outer space. It feels ridiculous.
I'd say that the director I had most involvement with was Alex Rockwell in 'In the Soup'. It was one of my earliest leading roles, and he gave me a lot of responsibility as an actor.
By nature, I think I am a pretty private person, and that is what is hard even doing interviews for films that I really love doing, because in some ways, it diminishes the experience that I had.