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?'

Paul Dano

Paul Dano

Profession: Actor
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

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.

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.

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.

One of my favorite films is 'Dumb and Dumber.'

The world of the homeless is a tough and interesting world.

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.

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.

I'm not a person who needs to chit-chat between takes by any means.

Your director is your main support - actors don't generally give each other advice on set, not in my experience.

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 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.

Let's say honorary favorite New Yorker is John Lennon, and favorite real New Yorker is Biggie, because he's the best.

I tore my ACL playing basketball.

I've definitely had mentors, whether parents or friends or actors who I like.