Deserves props for: Being a regular for cult filmmakers Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach, including a role in the latter's brilliant Kicking and Screaming. He's also had lengthy stints on Malcolm in the Middle and Gilmore Girls.
You've often been cast as the articulate sarcastic type. Was The Treatment a conscious attempt to move away from that?
"I think so. It's a hard question to answer because those kinds of roles were something I became known for, which is great. It's great when anyone pays attention. But I was looking forward to playing somebody who actually had trouble expressing himself. Jake Singer's unable to talk about his own feelings unless he's speaking of them in the third person."
Was that a big draw to the film?
"That, and working with actors I've long admired. Certainly Ian Holm. Of course that had sort of an ironic side to it. Most of my scenes I have my back to him. [Holm plays his therapist.] It reminded me of an O. Henry ending. 'Yes, you'll be able to work with Ian Holm, but you'll never be able to look at him.'"
I've always found Kicking and Screaming to be, while hilarious, a very sad movie, especially once you graduate college.
"It has incredibly sad moments. When my character is sitting around singing the titles of books, I think he's pretty much hit his bottom. The movie really shouldn't be on the pamphlet for movies you see when you get out of college. You ought to just watch Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Do you get noticed a lot by fans of the Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach movies?
"Yeah, but I learned really early on in my career to not make a big deal out of it. After I did my first movie, Metropolitan, my wife and I went out to a really nice restaurant and I noticed a lot of people were looking at me. My wife turned to me and said, 'Do you think these people are looking at you?' And I said, 'Well, my first movie just came out.' And she said, 'No, Sidney Poitier's sitting at the table behind us.' So from that moment on, as soon as I think anyone's recognized me, I just assume Sidney Poitier's standing behind me."
A Short History of...
Ben Kingsley, You Kill Me
Oliver Dahan, La Vie en Rose
Mark Fergus, First Snow
Lance Weiler, Head Trauma