Dano at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
|Born||Paul Franklin Dano
June 19, 1984
New York City, New York, United States
|Occupation||Actor, producer, singer, musician|
|Partner(s)||Zoe Kazan (2007â€“present)|
Have I seen any plays that I've been in? Uh, you know, might be a little weird.
One of my favorite films is 'Dumb and Dumber.' I'd love to do some really silly comedy someday.
One of my favorite things I read was John Steinbeck's journals while he was writing 'East of Eden,' which was so cool.
I've been fortunate to work with several actors and directors who I look up to, and learned from each of them.
I'm a private person, but I don't feel afraid to walk out of my door or anything. I get recognised occasionally, but not overwhelmingly so.
'Looper' was a wonderful script. Rian Johnson is the real deal and a really talented filmmaker.
One thing you notice is, there's a lot of people with raw talent, and then there's people who take that talent and work hard.
My first paying job might have been doing a play, actually. My mom paid me to dress up as a flounder at my sister's 'Little Mermaid' – themed birthday party when I was little.
On 'There Will Be Blood,' I was cast at the last minute. I had 3 and a half to 4 days to get ready for the first day. I just went for it, threw myself in there and gave it everything I had. That was just guts and instinct, not a lot of preparation.
With somebody like Harrison Ford, they're so commanding and confident, and you know, he does have a certain power or charisma, and those are things that are sort of ineffable.
I think it is important to make sure that I have my real life as well, because Hollywood can certainly seem like an alternate reality sometimes.
I love filming in New York. I love New York movies, too. I just like it when people can take New York and make it their own, because there are so many different New Yorks.
People think memorizing lines is hard, when that's the last thing you worry about. You get that done, and then you've got to worry about the internal stuff, which is the challenging part.
I know I'd like to direct a film at some point, and maybe I'll write it.
I like listening to my playlist on the iPod. I don't want radio with commercials.
Sometimes I think your intellect can get in your way as an actor or an artist. When you come from a world of improv and comedy, you're able to let it flicker and fall out.
I remember going to the theatre when I was little and the lights going down and just getting really scared about what was going to happen up there.
I don't want my learning curve to be stunted by just all of a sudden doing work all the time and not being careful about the work that I'm doing.
You try to get to know your character as best as you can before you start filming – what's written and not written.
I do like the idea of consequence and how our actions play themselves out, but I am completely scared of knowing what the future would be like. I would never go near a fortune teller, even though it's probably not even real. I just don't wanna know.
In tragedy, it's hard to find a good resolution; it's not black and white: it's a big fog of gray.
In life, you have to keep certain parts of yourself in check because you want to be a decent human being. But one of the guilty pleasures of acting is that sometimes you get to let a little something out that you don't in life because it's not right.
I like the idea of finding parts that I know I can do but I don't totally understand them right away.
I feel like I have to be responsible for what I'm participating in or putting out into the world.
I'm not a big shopper. I'm a pretty simple dresser, and that's not my pleasure go-to thing, looking for clothes.
The hardest thing about working with your partner is that the work starts to become first.
As an actor, the toughest thing is being subject to circumstance. Meaning: What scripts are out there that are available?
I've definitely had mentors, whether parents or friends or actors who I like.
I started acting pretty young, so I haven't had too many odd jobs. But I used to sell candy out of my locker in middle school.
You look at the part in '12 Years A Slave,' you finish that script – I mean, it's a powerful story. You go, 'Man, I have to play a bad character in this.' And then you go, 'Well, do I want to play a bad character and contribute to a good story?'
When I'm not acting, I like to go home and be really normal. So I usually grow out my hair until I get the next part.
I've definitely been in ruts, and I think having some kind of perseverance is important.
I go down to the dive bar around the corner when I go out. I don't go to the showbiz parties.
I'd always been fascinated by people who allow themselves to be so rude and irritated and foul-mouthed and hostile, but usually you can sense there's something vulnerable beneath them – a shield they use to protect that vulnerable side. Finally, when they expose that soft spot, it's kind of touching.
When you repeat yourself so many times, even if you're speaking the truth, the repetition starts to feel false. Sometimes, you just feel like the words you're speaking, even if they once had meaning, have lost it. And that makes you feel kind of silly.
I would not take a girl to a club on a Thursday. I would not take her to a really noisy, swanky restaurant.
I can obviously relate to a character who is an artist, because the creative process is a big part of my life.
A lot of people think I must be weird because of the films I've done. I get that.
I want to do some bigger films, so long as there's some sort of exciting creative element or a good filmmaker behind them.
I think you sometimes have to go hit rock bottom before you can grow and rebuild as a person.
Robert De Niro's sort of like a surfer: he doesn't really force anything. So if he catches the wave, or something spills out – to watch a guy be a force at what he does. He has a good worth ethic.
Some projects go as you hope or imagine, and some change or reveal themselves in a different way; it depends.
The whole being-in-a-room interview thing, at a junket or a film festival, is very inhuman. You meet the person, have five or 10 minutes to talk, and it's not like a conversation.
Spring and fall in New York are the best seasons here to get out and about. I like the little park in Dumbo between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridge. I like Prospect Park.
When my girlfriend's away, I cook a big vat of meaty pasta and sauce and eat that for about a week. Then I eat out the rest of the time. When she's home, we eat at home probably twice a week. I chop, she cooks.
Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of a person and have trouble seeing the real thing.
Even when I'm alone, my life revolves around film. I think that's why I live in New York, not L.A., where it's so concentrated.
I sort of grew up doing theater. And that's how I got into film, actually.
I used to write a lot of songs. I was an English major in college. I was a deluded poet for a year. Totally deluded.
Your director is your main support – actors don't generally give each other advice on set, not in my experience.
I do think the first time you read a script, that gut response is very important, and that probably plants a seed that continues to blossom throughout the whole experience.
I always ask for more takes. I like doing takes, so I'll do as many as I can.
As an actor, I always feel you basically have to be able to delude yourself.
I volunteered at a homeless shelter in preparation for 'Being Flynn,' and when I'm walking along the Bowery, that's the first thing that comes to mind. That's a nice memory.
I like a restaurant called Bruci, and there's some really nice people who work there and good food. They change their menu a lot, so maybe that's what keeps me coming back. I never know what I'm going to get.
I think that the Western went away for a while because part of its function was that it used to be America's action film.
I'm a sucker for period pieces. There is always great opportunity for research and to delude yourself into feeling like you are in a different time and place.
There's that thing that if you want to have any kind of lasting love, I think you have to love the whole person and not just the parts of them that you choose.
I've seen people, where if they have to wait around the set for three hours, and they call you at the wrong time, and they're not ready for you, some people don't like that.
I really don't want to go to work every day convincing myself of what I'm saying. I want the material to make me a better actor; then I try to return the favor to the material.
As people, no matter what we are doing, your whole body is living and breathing.
It's a funny thing. You sort of never figure it out with acting. You're always learning.
I don't normally like getting dressed up, but when I go to events, I like to look put together. I've got to say, getting in a nice suit feels good.
I know an actor who would play one type of part but could never get cast as tough. Once he got cast as tough, as a cop, he only got offered cop roles. It's a funny business in that regard. It's all about perception.
Listening to hard rock on the subway doesn't work for me, especially modern hard rock. Driving in L.A. helped me to understand the appeal of that music.
I think the idea is to try and understand everything about the characters and where the character is coming from, from their point of view, why they say what they do. And not, 'Oh, but I would never say that. Why does the character say that?' But then making it as personal as possible.
To be called a genius at 17 or 18 years old can sometimes cause arrested development.
There's a lot of people that I would love to work with. There's a lot of different kinds of parts I wanna play. As your career progresses, you hope that you get some more opportunity or some more choice.
To be running away from explosions with Harrison Ford, you know, that's pretty great.
Films can be entertaining without shying away from exploring something. They can be magical and have fantasy, but also can have enough reality that you can be really emotionally invested.
It's a lot of fun to be a part of films that you don't exactly know how they're going to turn out.
Let's say honorary favorite New Yorker is John Lennon, and favorite real New Yorker is Biggie, because he's the best.
Everything you do, every experience that you have, enlightens you a little bit or worsens you.
I don't like to spend a lot of money on haircuts: I'll sometimes grow my hair and get an acting job and get them to cut it for free. I think for a lady, though, it's okay to spend a lot on a haircut.
I think that one of the strangest things about being an actor is, it's almost freelance work.
The way Hollywood works, you're never sure if their first thought is to make a great film and honor the material or just another business property.
I like movies a lot, and I feel really excited when I see a movie that moves me the right way.
In 'There Will Be Blood,' my character was someone who was an actor himself almost. He had a rehearsed quality about him. He was a performance artist in a way.
I think control is a two-way street; sometimes people want to control things to keep them safe if they are afraid of life.
It's hard to talk about acting because I don't think it's quite as explicit as a lot of people might think. And that's probably the best thing about it.
The idea of writer's block or not having inspiration is totally terrifying to me.
People have asked me about playing outsiders. I don't consider myself an outsider. Maybe that's why I'm interested in that. I'm not really sure.
I went to private school in Manhattan, and at a young age, they made us do public speaking. For some reason, I was good at standing in front of the class and speaking.
Homeless people really upset me when I was little. A lot of kids have this reaction, but I would get really worried or sad or concerned or cry.
Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of a person and have trouble seeing the real thing.
There are maybe 100 actors I look up to, but my first two favourite actors were Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson.