Well, I don’t play heroes obviously. I never played the guy who gets the girl. It might be interesting to do a part where I was a father in a functional family.
I play a lot of those parts, and it’s a chicken-and-egg thing. I don’t know whether you get scary because you play those parts or did you get those parts because you were scary? But I do believe that there’s a very close connection to what’s scary and what’s funny. So I think if you have the ability to do one, you might have the ability to do the other.
Careers are not often as chosen as people think they are. People talk to me about my choices. I don’t make choices, hardly. Things happen, and you say yes or no – usually ‘yes’, because it’s always better to do something. What’s the choice? Somebody will say, ‘Don’t do that part, you don’t need to do that part.’ And I’ll say, ‘Why not? What am I going to do? Sit around the house?’ I’d much rather go to work, and see actors, and have fun.
I’m not a big fan of other people’s punctuation. When I read a script I’ve got a sort of automatic eraser. I don’t see punctuation or capitals or instructions. I want to decide when the sentence is over. Who’s to say when a sentence ends and the other one begins? Sometimes it begins in the middle of the next sentence.
I have a theory, that there is a terrific link between what is funny and what is scary. I think there is a very close connection between what frightens people and what makes them laugh. Laughter is a kind of nervousness. Animals don’t laugh. Smiling is, anthropologists agree, directly linked to the baring of the teeth.
I’m a better actor now than I ever was, I wish I could have hurried that up, but there’s no way. Anyway, I always wanted to be around for a long time. Like a European actor, I hope I live a long time and that I’m acting until I finish.
I won’t retire. When you’re an actor, you’re forced to retire every few months. John Gielgud was 96 when he died, and he was working. It’s good to work, whatever it is that keeps you interested. I would like to do that, I would like to keep going. I don’t have kids, and I don’t have hobbies. I don’t particularly like to travel. If you’re an actor, you have to travel anyway.
I look for good possibilities in movies. I don’t look for perfection.
It’s a natural aspect of the marketplace. It’s always been that way in storytelling. The guy who was good at playing the lover plays the lover, the funny guy gets the comic role. Movies are so expensive, when they put them together they want to have a couple of solid blocks in what they’re building. I accept that. In theater, though, I tend to look for other things, I think I tend to be best in comedy.
I’m very nervous when I work in a film and very relaxed before a live audience. I like theater because it’s more of an actor’s medium. You can control your performance. In film you depend on the director to watch out for your ass, but in the theater you can take care of yourself.
I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. Slow and steady is a very good thing for me. It works for me.
I have the easiest job in Hollywood, because I get paid to be me. What’s the role? A milkman? ‘Hey, I’m a milkman. Here’s your milk.’ ‘Cut. Print.’