YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?
Yeah, of course I’m talking to you – from New York, where I live. And where I made Gigantic last year. Gigantic was a great group of people. Zooey Deschanel is a very vibrant woman and easy to work with and so was John Goodman. He’s a very sweet man.
DO YOU FEEL LUCKY, PUNK?
I do, but I’m not much of a punk. I’m sort of dorky and wear glasses. But I’ll take it as a compliment. I do feel fortunate to be able to meet with filmmakers I like, and try and get a job with them. To have a foot in the door, so to speak. Some golfer said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” But the luckier I get, the more I realise how much hard work it’s going to take.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM…
That’s funny because one of the things I want to try and do is not to play it again too many times. I want to go after different things.
WHAT IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND TAKE THOSE HOURS OF PAIN AND DARKNESS AND REPLACE THEM WITH SOMETHING BETTER?
I wouldn’t change. I’ll take what I’ve got and try and do my best with it, for better or worse. An actor’s tool is his life experience so it’s good to have all kinds of experiences to draw on.
YOU EVER DANCED WITH THE DEVIL IN THE PALE MOONLIGHT?
I go out with friends, but I certainly don’t do the club scene, if that’s what people think Paul Dano is up to... My family aren’t sure where the name Dano comes from. It could be Rutherian, who were gypsies living in Hungary and parts of Russia.
WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO REMEMBER?
The first film I ever did was L.I.E. when I was 16. It was nominated for a bunch of Independent Spirit Awards but Memento was the big film that year and it won everything. If I hadn’t done L.I.E., I don’t know if I would have even seen Memento – that film exposed me to the world of independent film.
YOU EITHER SURF OR YOU FIGHT...
I’m not a surfer. I’m not a fighter. I’m an actor… I was an English Literature major at the New School in New York. I haven’t finished yet and I don’t know that I will now. For years, I would go to college, then take a semester off to film something, then go back to school, then take another semester off… That was my routine. I ended up going back for a year after There Will Be Blood just to come back down to ground.
I’LL MAKE HIM AN OFFER HE CAN’T REFUSE…
I don’t think there’re many offers that I would be able to refuse. Gigantic felt like the right thing to do after There Will Be Blood. I wanted to do something that had some romance in it and play a character that was a little more internal. My character in There Will Be Blood is such a performer so it just felt logically like a good place to go.
DON’T BULLY ME, DANIEL!
It’s one of the great pleasures of my life to get to act alongside Daniel Day-Lewis. The better the actor opposite you, the better you have the chance to be. It was terrifying but in a good way. And once you get to work, it’s just a lot of sweat. We knew each other before that movie but while we were making it, we kept our distance. We didn’t need to be chummy.