I wanted to make a movie, because the whole life of the movies appealed to me. You work hard for three or four months, then you don't work at all for a couple of months.
I read the script, and I knew it was a good part. It was written for a white actor. That's what I'm up against - I have to try to make roles happen for me that aren't written black.
Once I got to be about twenty-five, I got interested in the music of the time. I started smokin' dope, I started drinking, I started slowing down and trying to find myself. I didn't want to work in nightclubs.
I never wanted to be a star, I just wanted to get work.
It would be like the films I've seen where wardens would decide to be in a jail cell for a week, to get a sense of what it would be like to be a prisoner.
I think everybody at some point - especially if they've been working their whole lives - should take time out and think about what they've done.
You know the first time I sat in the chair I felt anything but up, it was very emotional for me. I had a chair in my hotel room, a chair at rehearsal, and I was trying to spend as much time as I could in the chair.
My character had been in the chair for seven years. He had gone through his anger, depression, drug and alcohol abuse. He had gone through everything, now he was up, he was happy, he was filled with his dream.
They told me that the hotels had maybe two rooms set up for people with disabilities, but if they got there too late, and didn't get one of these rooms, they couldn't take a shower. The room wasn't hooked up for them, or maybe the sink was too high.
It turned out to be exactly that, but more challenging emotionally. I looked at it in a more physical way, having to act in a chair and move around. But it really was more emotionally challenging.
I don't remember not dancing. When I realized I was alive and these were my parents, and I could walk and talk, I could dance.
They were very generous with me. Everybody was willing to talk about their particular accident, what they had to deal with and how they got back in touch with their competitors' spirit.
I can remember feeling very angry, and saying no! I can do it myself! From that point of view it was very emotional for me to get myself to the point to sit in the chair and be "up".
Once I found that out, I instituted a reign of terror on Robert Evans. I called him every day. I went over to his house twice again, uninvited.