I trained myself, whenever I walk into auditions, to hate everyone in the room.
I was living in a small town in Indiana working as a telemarketer and a vacuum salesman. I was really bad: the vacuums seemed to always be falling apart. Every time I did a demonstration, I'd say, 'This is the material the astronauts used on Apollo 13.' And no sooner had that come out of my mouth, something would malfunction.
The first job I got was this TV job in this show called 'The Unusuals.' Then I did a play called 'Slipping,' and at the same time I was rehearsing another play at Playwrights Horizons, and that kind of snowballed into a bunch of plays.
Obviously, 'Lincoln' is not about the telegraph operator. There's a whole other movie before and after the two isolated scenes that I'm in.
Acting is a business and a political act and a craft, but I also feel like it's a service - specifically, for a military audience.
I'm conflicted with theater in the city because you want to reach a diverse audience, and that audience doesn't typically go to the theater.
I loved being in the Marine Corps, I loved my job in the Marine Corps, and I loved the people I served with. It's one of the best things I've had a chance to do.
I think it's a common misconception in the civilian community that the military community is filled with just drills and discipline and pain. They forget that these are humans who are in an abnormal situation.
Just having the internet is a weird and dangerous thing because people become accustomed to knowing things when they want to know them and not having to work for it. I definitely see the value in not knowing everything and having mystery in life and mystery in people.
I used to eat a whole chicken, every day, for lunch. I did that for four years. But it got tiring - go to the store, buy it, eat it. It's a mess.
I want to show that theater isn't just talking about feelings or people wearing tights.
I was an infantry Marine, and there are only so many things you can do when you get out of the military that you can apply your job to. Either a janitor or a cop. I tried to do both of those things because what else are you going to do?
Working on 'Girls' opened up a lot of opportunity for me. It's like a dream job. It's a dream.
Yeah, September 11 happened and all my friends were like, 'Let's join the military!' and I was the only one who actually did.
With brain and body, it's great if you have a connection between the two, but when separated, that leads to a lot of conflict.
I actually run a non-profit where one of the main objectives is to branch out and get a new audience for the theater. Just because the writing is so good and nothing is more effective than seeing something live and happening right in front of your face, so I definitely want to continue to pursue that.
There's something really exciting about playing someone where you're given license to be unpredictable.
I'm not an acting monk or anything. I'm not, like, the most well-adjusted actor.
Acting, believe it or not, can get very self-involved! I feel fortunate to have been able to work on things with people who have a very specific point of view and perspective, and who feel like they're doing something very active.
At Juilliard, suddenly I was reading these great plays that could articulate the ways I was feeling in the Marine Corps, and that felt very therapeutic, by putting words to feelings, in a big way.
I never played sports or got into the whole guy camaraderie of, like, 'I love you, man! Seniors forever!' So suddenly being in the military with these guys who were under these very heightened circumstances, isolated from their families, living this very kind of Greek lifestyle, it changed my life in a really big way.
If there's one organization in the United States that could work on its communication skills, it's the military.
The military community in particular, I think, could always be more supported, especially people who are being processed out of the military and trying to readjust to being civilians.
Through theater and acting school, I found a way to articulate myself.
Just being in the military, you're so violent. We got into fights about just random things all the time. I don't think as aggressively as I did when I was in the Marine Corps.
If I'm not doing something or working on something, I literally just sit in the room and think, which I don't think is productive. I won't go outside for days.
Something I learned in the Marine Corps that I've applied to acting is, one, taking direction, and then working with a group of people to accomplish a mission and knowing your role within that team.
There were definitely dark nights when you're like, 'Maybe joining the military wasn't such a good idea.' But, in a way, it was the best training to be an actor.
You have friends, and they die. You have a disease, someone you care about has a disease, Wall Street people are scamming everyone, the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. That's what we're surrounded by all the time.
Acting is really about having the courage to fail in front of people.
It was very clear to me I wanted to be an actor when I got out into civilian life.
I'm constantly thinking about the role, and there's an infinite amount of questions you can ask yourself about a character to the point that it's hard to find the boundaries of when to not work.
When I happened to get into school, I felt like I could approach it as aggressively as things in the military.
Even on your hiatus, you feel like you need to keep the character in the back of your brain.
I don't consider myself a celebrity. That would be kind of sad.
You have to be forward-moving and able to balance a lot of things at the same time. I attribute a lot of that to the Marine Corps and Juilliard both.
I mean, I did plays in high school, but I was convinced you couldn't make a living doing it.
The Marine Corps is supposed to be the toughest and most rigorous of its class.
I have a control problem. I hate the feeling of not being in control.
There's so much emphasis on Daniel Day-Lewis and his process, which is appropriately his own. But I was just blown away by his generosity as an actor. He's so giving as an actor that he just naturally commands the focus on set.
For me, becoming a man had a lot to do with learning communication, and I learned about that by acting.
Costume people are always saying they don't have clothes big enough for me.
Any actor is happy to be involved with something that's challenging, controversial, and not easily palatable. Things that are too dumbed down or easy to swallow are uninteresting... It's good when people have such a polarizing response.
With 'Girls'... I feel like there's an impulse to try to make it look better or neater or more perfect, and when I watch theater, television, movies, it's always the imperfection I'm always more attracted to.