Charles Dance quotes:

  • A handful of older, romantic leading men, like Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Redford are still landing parts.

  • I love the Restoration. It's a bit like coming out of the John Major era into the optimism of Tony Blair.

  • It's a question of keeping one's eyes and ears open and watching how other people play the game. They're watching me too, to see what my attitude is like.

  • We had five goats, two dogs, a cat and racks of commentaries on Shakespeare.

  • I mostly play old period songs, as they suit a ukulele more. I bought it when I saw the tribute concert to George Harrison. Joe Brown came on and sang 'I'll See You In My Dreams,' and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

  • People think I have the benefit of a public school education. I have this suave and debonair label, but really, I'm as common as muck.

  • I've never been one for late nights, which is why I have always preferred making films to theatre. A play takes over your life: you start to feel sick at lunchtime, and by mid-afternoon, you're wishing for a bomb scare so the whole thing will be called off. Of course, if the evening goes well and you get the applause, then it's wonderful.

  • Your senses are reeling all the time. Finally you find something to write and the very next day you go out and see something else which totally contradicts what you've written and every conclusion you've come to.

  • Audiences seem to have a limitless appetite for vampires and for fantasy in general. Unlike many other British actors, I haven't been building up my pension appearing in films like 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Harry Potter,' but fantasy has now got a grip on me. I am also appearing in 'Game of Thrones' as the head of the House of Lannister.

  • We need to look to our laurels a bit with television in this country. I don't think enough risks are being taken in drama television in the U.K., and I think a lot of programme makers are underestimating the intelligence of the viewing public, basing it all on ratings.

  • I was a window dresser for Burton's once. What really put me off was the area manager coming round and saying, Charles, I think you're a natch at this.

  • A while ago, I did a television adaptation of 'Bleak House,' and the character I played, as far as I was concerned, had no redeeming features whatsoever. I wasn't about to try to find any; I didn't need to.

  • By the margin of fair Zurich's waters Dwelt a youth, whose fond heart, night and day, For the fairest of fair Zurich's daughters In a dream of love melted away.

  • If I talk about Charles Dance I am talking about something else, something I operate and wind up and have to make an impression with and use to transmit someone else's screenplay.

  • A car to pick me up every day, a chair with my name on it, everybody being very polite... what can you do except sit back and watch it all, try to take it all in?

  • We have to take risks in British television. It has to stop playing to the lowest common denominator and patronising people.

  • I don't like watching television too much; it tires me out for some reason. But I saw a fair bit of 'Game of Thrones' because it was so good. I mostly watched episodes that I wasn't in.

  • In my home, I listen to music; I play music: I play guitar and I play ukelele. And I swim and I ride a bike and I do all the things that everybody else does.

  • I had a stammer through adolescence. Any fun I'd had performing in school plays disappeared and only came back at 18, when the stammer started to go. Then I thought: 'Well, perhaps I can show off now.'

  • My face lends itself to austere characters, and unless they're two-dimensional, I will do them. Any actor will tell you that an interesting villain is much more interesting to play.

  • You should encourage a child to show off. You can say to a child, 'Stop being rude,' 'Stop shouting,' 'Stop jumping around on the furniture.' But 'Stop showing off'? That's awful.

  • If I was to put a little flag in everywhere I've been in the world, there'd be a lot of little flags.

  • I'm playing one of the principal roles, which gives you more clout and more confidence.

  • I got a lot of energy from directing the film 'Ladies In Lavender.' You wonder if you have the stamina because as an actor you can lounge around the trailer during the scenes you're not in, but as a director, you're there from first thing in the morning to last thing at night every day of the week. I found it incredibly energising.

  • You have to be selfish to be an actor.

  • Runners are the lowest of the low in film units. They're paid very, very minimal wages - probably below the national average. And runners are now being asked to drive actors about, as well as their runner duties. It's kind of the same as taking advantage of nurses - it's appalling.

  • If you get a bad script, then you start expending energy trying to make a silk purse of a sow's ear. When the script's as good as those on 'Game of Thrones,' say, I don't think there was a single occasion where any of us thought there was a bad scene.

  • The quality of writing attracts me to films, also who the other actors are, who the director is, where it's being shot. Any or all of those things. But if the writing is really appalling, then the money had better be really good. Sometimes you say yes to something you wouldn't always do because you need the money.

  • I think it's counterproductive for actors to come to the set with well-thumbed copies of the book their film is adapted from.

  • I like approbation. Any actor who tells you they don't is lying.

  • When you have a label stuck on you, people tend to believe it. If someone calls you suave and debonair, you only get offered parts in a suit and a collar and tie. It just so happens I wear them reasonably well.

  • My mother was a waitress in a Lyons Corner House, but she married up. She was keen on bettering herself. She taught me how to use the right knives and forks and behave properly.

  • I'm riddled with cynicism. Whenever anyone says 'trust me,' the hairs go up on the back of my neck.

  • I like to be busy. I once shared an agent with the late Sir John Gielgud, who, at 96, was apparently still ringing up, saying, 'Hello, Gielgud here, any work?' Good on him. We've got to keep working. If we retire, there'll be nobody to play the old wrinklies, and that would be a dreadful shame.

  • I like to keep up with London theatre, but it is a question of time.

  • I've got a range as an actor! There was a time I played dramatic leading men.

  • When you get to a certain age, the work begins to thin out.

  • You have to attempt to be objective about yourself.

  • I'm actually as common as mud. I'm not particularly well read, or bred. But the way I look... I seem to have this sort of 'aristocratic' demeanor.

  • On an independent film you're lucky if you get one, but ostensibly the job is the same. There's very little difference, apart from the knowledge that there's a captive audience at the end of it - which you can't always guarantee with a movie.

  • I have to admit that I haven't read any of the books [of George Martin's "Game of Thrones"] and I don't refer to them. Apart from anything else they're very thick [in size] and they frighten me. A terrifying prospect.

  • I don't think I've ever been asked to act out bad sex. It's not my style. I've been blessed with good rhythm.

  • We get a successful television series or something, and next season they give you less time and less money, which is something I've never really understood. That doesn't happen with Game of Thrones.

  • Most films are written and made with a hero around 35, or even 25.

  • It starts with the writing - which is really, really good. And the production values are phenomenal. HBO and Sky have spent money on it, and you get what you pay for. This has money put into it properly - not lavish amounts - but as each season is successful, they maintain the money that's being spent to maintain the quality.

  • I've done a couple of fan conventions and [the fans] are legion. They're rather like Star Wars or Star Trek fans. We're very glad of the loyal fans - but it's a strange way to spend your life, dressing up like Star Wars. At least we change our costumes - I don't spend 40 years dressed up as Tywin Lannister.

  • I spent a lot of time [between takes] apologising to Peter Dinklage [Dance's on-screen son, Tyrion Lannister] because I treat him appallingly.

  • The job is exactly the same, it just goes on for longer on TV. Most feature films are 35-40 shooting days. This has 10 parts, with different directors for each block. We shoot with two, sometimes three cameras.

  • But the quality of writing in the series [game of Thrones] is paramount. That's probably why all of us are involved in this and all of us are quite so loyal to it, because we don't have to expend a lot of energy trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear. The quality of the writing is really good, and that's what makes playing a character so enjoyable, whether he's heroic or villainous.

  • I am made Hand of the King which gives me an enormous amount of power, which I use quite ruthlessly - but skilfully - and Dame Diana Rigg joins us [playing political mastermind the Queen of Thorns] and we have a couple of really good sparring moments.

  • Because [writers] Dan Weiss and David Benioff have done such a great job in adapting them, that's what we work with. It serves no purpose to anybody for actors to come onto a set with a well-thumbed copy of the source material and start querying why this or that line has been left out of the script. It's probably been left out for a good reason.

  • There is a huge fan base, they're very knowledgeable and very loyal. I was astonished - before I started working on the series I didn't know anything about Game of Thrones. I hadn't heard of the books. When it started going out, people were coming up to me in the street saying 'oh, Game of Thrones, wonderful'.

  • People like Tywin Lannister are very much victims of that system, and of that environment: 'This is my place, don't threaten it'. I don't know how relevant that is to today. Politics is the most corrupt profession on earth, no matter where you are.

  • Power is always a corrupting influence. In this mythical time - let's call it medieval, feudal - people in power are dictatorial and don't want their positions of power to be threatened.