'I Pray at the Temple of Jack Nicholson': Actors on Their Favorite Actors

Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman wax poetic about Meryl; Jon Hamm has a photo of Harrison Ford on his fridge.
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Warner Bros.

The Ryan Gosling fan club is getting even more crowded. Recently, James Franco took to the Huffington Post to do what countless fans and stalkers have spent the past several years doing: writing on the Internet about Ryan Gosling. "I want to make love to this section," Franco writes of the first, Gosling-heavy hour of The Place Beyond the Pines. "He played the role to a T. Look at the funny glasses he wears when he robs banks, green on the sides; look at the writing on the bike before he paints it black; Gosling touches, all, I'm sure of it."

Actors obsessing over actors—they're just like us! There's something kind of wonderful about actors and actresses who genuinely love one another's work, and who can articulate what makes it great (and not in an awkward, self-congratulatory, awards-show kind of way). So I went on the hunt for the favorite actors of some of our era's most beloved actors, to find out who they love, who inspires them, and why.

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Ryan Gosling

"Gene Wilder is my Marlon Brando. Gene Wilder will break your heart and make you laugh at the same time. And that's deep. There's something really profound about what he's able to do. It's transcendent. It's everything. He gives you everything at once and you have to decide what you feel about it."

[via What Culture]


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Emma Stone

"I'm a big fan of Lauren Bacall. Maybe because everyone was smoking more heavily then, but that raspy, throaty quality seems to be much more prevalent in those '40s movies. Mine was from colic when I was a baby."

[via Cineplex]


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Kevin Spacey

"Who was this man who had such influence, a career that lasted through every decade, every fad, every 'new;' Jack Lemmon that came along? Like the handful of great actors before him—Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, and Jimmy Stewart—he managed to make us feel that we were all him. He located the Jack Lemmon in all of us. That his concerns, his feelings, his pain, his humor, his way of seeing the world, even his hacking nasal whine, was our own."

[via Entertainment Weekly]


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Philip Seymour Hoffman

"Working on Magnolia with Jason Robards was definitely one of the highlights of my life. He was so much fun to be around, and more professional than most actors, with his preparation and the fact that he just wanted to act... When you start out, you look at some actors' careers and you say, I want to follow the path they've taken. And he's one of those guys. He's somebody who's been a consummate actor in all ways, and fully respected in both theater and film. I feel a kinship with him in the way he never abandoned the theater, and he reignited that urge in me. Through just example, he's telling younger actors, if you truly are passionate about both these mediums, and you work hard in both of them, you'll not only be more satisfied, but you'll also be a better actor, and I think that's true."

[via Entertainment Weekly]


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Morgan Freeman

"I think we all have a private bucket list. It may not be written down, but I'm constantly checking them off. I just checked off Jack Nicholson. Every day was a holiday because I've been praying at the temple of Jack ever since Five Easy Pieces."

[via IMDb]


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Jennifer Lawrence

"Once I'm obsessed with somebody, I'm terrified of them instantly. I'm not scared of them —I'm scared of me and how I will react. Like, for instance, one time someone was introducing me to Bill Maher, and I saw Meryl Streep walk into the room, and I literally put my hand right in Bill Maher's face and said, 'Not now, Bill!,' and I just stared at Meryl Streep."

So did she meet Streep? "Of course not. I just creepily stared at her."

[via Vanity Fair]


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Natalie Portman

"You look at Meryl Streep, who is so phenomenally, freakishly gorgeous, and in some ways it's just bizarre that she was never a sex symbol. But it was always about her—and now it doesn't matter that she's getting older, because we just want to continue watching her be an interesting person."

[The Independent]


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Brad Pitt

"When you see a person, do you just concentrate on their looks? It's just a first impression. Then there's someone who doesn't catch your eye immediately, but you talk to them and they become the most beautiful thing in the world. The greatest actors aren't what you would call beautiful sex symbols. I'll tell you who my favorite actress is: Dianne Wiest. And you wouldn't call her a sex symbol. Dianne Wiest is, to me, the most beautiful woman on the screen."

Presented by

Jason Bailey is the film editor at Flavorwire. He is the author of The Ultimate Woody Allen Film Companion.

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