[About painting] “I needed an outlet in high school and came across painting. I’ve actually been painting longer than I’ve been acting. A movie is a collaborative effort, and with painting you just have yourself.”
[About finding time to relax] “Never. It’s an impossibility. I don’t even like to sleep. I feel as if there’s too much to do.”
[About what he looks for in a girl] “Just someone I can relate to artistically and who can also be understanding and supportive of the demands of my lifestyle.”
When I was a child, I wanted to be an actor, but I had really bad buck teeth. I didn’t want to get braces, but my mom said I couldn’t be an actor if I didn’t get the braces. So, I got the braces.
I worked at a McDonald’s drive-through. I could always tell when girls were interested: They’d drive around again and say, “I forgot something.”
Acting is an art form and you want to take roles that are challenged and it’s more of a challenge I think to play dark characters. Not that I want to always play those, but it is a challenge and challenges are rewarding and fun.
You know, directors kind of want different things. Some of them think that if they just are always talking to you and keeping your spirits up and everything that it helps you, and then some leave you alone and give you your space.
[on playing gay characters] - It’s funny because the way that kind of stuff is talked about on blogs is so black-and-white. It’s all cut-and-dry identity politics. ‘Is he straight or is he gay?’ Or, ‘This is your third gay movie - come out already!’ And all based on, gay or straight, based on the idea that your object of affection decides your sexuality. There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys. And there are also lots of other aspects about these characters that I’m interested in, in addition to their sexuality. So, in some ways it’s coincidental, in other ways it’s not. I mean, I’ve played a gay man who’s living in the ’60s and ’70s, a gay man who we depicted in the ’50s, and one being in the ’20s. And those were all periods when to be gay, at least being gay in public, was much more difficult. Part of what I’m interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I’m just gay.
[on using the videos trapped hiker Aron Ralston had made in order to portray him in ‘127 Hours’] He’s not an actor giving a Shakespeare death soliloquy. He didn’t want to lose himself because that would make it harder for his mother to watch. I knew that if I captured that somehow it would feel very authentic and powerful.
[on accepting a position as a dramatics teacher at New York University] I’ve been very fortunate. I had to work hard but had opportunities to do everything that I wanted. That’s one of the reasons I’m teaching. I’m trying to give back to other people. That’s what I guess I want to do now - continue to be creative in a way that I can give back.
[Observation while making a documentary about the porn industry] When I was young, I got a video camera and my girlfriend and I decided to film ourselves and watched it back and said, ‘Yeah, well, let’s never watch that again’. Those performers in pornos, they are great performers. They’re not just doing it. They’re selling it to an audience.