He is so damn good-looking. I think Johnny’s cheekbones are insane! When I called ‘Cut,’ I would hear this collective sigh going on behind my back.
director, Blow, November 2003
There is that whole part of him, that public figure who’s invented this persona. And one can’t help it: everyone wants to be cool and hip in their own legend. But the truth about him is that the real person—the real poor white kid from Florida that I got to know—is one of the more interesting people that I’ve met in my life.
Arizona Dream co-star, 1998
 You can never, ever understand fully what a woman’s life might be like until you step into her shoes. The same thing goes for transvestites. [Talking about his role in Ed Wood (1994)]
I don’t know that he knows how good he is in that movie. He was great. I mean he really looked great in that underwear. I mean it was just, you know, shooting going up his ass and up his back and his hair, you started thinking about Marilyn Monroe, when he had red hair, he looked like Sophia Loren.
director, Before Night Falls
DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in Los Angeles Cali 1988.
Johnny and I wound up liking each other enormously, I mean quickly. I love the kid, he’s terrific. He’s a good kid, he’s a talented kid. He comes in prepared. It’s like playing tennis with a good player; he makes your game better. You hit the ball and it comes back pretty good.
Photographed by Wayne Maser
It’s hard to put your finger on why he’s so extraordinary. But technically, he’s astonishing, he’s absolutely brilliant, with the kind of technique you’d only get if you’d spent 10 years at RADA—and it’s all self-taught. You don’t want to work with anyone else once you’ve worked with somebody as good as that. For me, it was like working with Python again—he’s that fast and that funny and inventive.
At the 18th Annual Los Angeles Police-Celebrity Golf Tournament with Muhammad Ali, 1988.
It’s funny how skinny Johnny is, all he eats is Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds and crappy food! He’s proud of it. He takes his shirt off, and there’s not one bit of fat. He’s 38-years-old and he looks like he’s 25.
director, From Hell, 2003
Johnny’s a subtle actor, which I respect. He refuses to telegraph things or be dramatic and is always completely on top of whatever he’s doing. He’s physically beautiful too, of course, but Johnny isn’t just some model-type guy—as a person he has a very deep soul.
—Jim Jarmusch, 1995
Photographed by Rob Brown
He’s an exemplary man, both as a colleague and as company. He is terrific company, he is a gentleman, a democrat—I don’t mean in the political sense, I mean in terms of his general sensibility—he’s funny, decent, conscientious, a lovely guy and an assassin in terms of comedy. He’s just entirely wonderful.
“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”
about his mother, Betty Sue) Years and years I watched her wait tables. I’d count her change at the end of the night. She cursed like a sailor, played cards and smoked cigarettes.
My sister Christi had a baby when I was 17, and I had just heard about crib death. The horrible thing was that it wasn’t understood. For some unknown reason the baby would stop breathing. So I would sneak into where the baby was sleeping and put my hand in her crib, hold her little finger, and I’d sleep on the floor like that. It was stupid, I’m sure. But I thought the warmth of my hand might help, that maybe if she felt my pulse it would remind her to breathe.
Parenthood ￼premiere July 31st, 1989.
32 years ago
He’s so brilliant to work with, so exciting, you believe in him so much as a character. It made my job very easy. He’s like the coolest kid in school. You want to be in his gang. His whole lifestyle is kind of wonderful. He travels with this big group of people. He’s like a gypsy. His caravan is always filled with his friends, playing guitar and painting. You want to be in the band. The guys who look after the trailers were like, ‘How do we clean in there?’ because he covered it with drapes and candles, just covered every available surface.
The Libertine co-star, Scotland on Sunday
Sure, I find it touching, honestly, but awards are not as important to me as when I meet a ten-year-old kid who says, “I love Captain Jack Sparrow” … that’s real magic for me.
“I’ve never felt particularly ambitious or driven, that’s for sure, although I like to create stuff, whether it’s a little doodle, a drawing, a small painting or a movie or a piece of music, so I suppose I’m driven by that. Everything I’ve done has felt very natural, and it’s happened because it’s happened.”
He would have much preferred to be on something darker and edgier. I never thought Johnny saw how good it was because he really disdained the show. He made it pretty well known that he didn’t want to be on it. I remember once he came to the set dressed like Elton John. He had a powdered wig on and platform shoes.
—Stephen J. Cannell
executive producer, 21 Jump Street, Biography, Fall 2004
[about one of his old teachers asking for an autograph] I mean, what was I supposed to say? He’d failed me. I remember one time this teacher yelled at me so heavily in front of the entire class. He didn’t have any time for me then, and now, all of a sudden, he wants my autograph? They all thought I was going to end up a drug addict, in jail.
Once Upon A Time in Mexico BTS
I pretty much fell in love with Vanessa the moment I set eyes on her. As a person, I was pretty much a lost cause at that time in my life. She turned all that around for me with her incredible tenderness and understanding.
I’m shy, paranoid, whatever word you want to use. I hate fame. I’ve done everything I can to avoid it.
His [film] choices are really to do with his heart and intuition, not a career perspective to win an Oscar.
Chocolat co-star, LA Times, April 2001
21 Jump Street Rare photos.
Marlon Brando is maybe the greatest actor of the last two centuries. But his mind is much more important than the acting thing. The way that he looks at things, doesn’t judge things, the way that he assesses things. He’s as important as, uh… who’s important today? Jesus, not many people… Stephen Hawking!