So has your phone been ringing off the hook since all the nominations, awards for Crash in the last year?
Matt Dillon: I've been pretty busy. I don't know what I'm doing next, other than I know I've got this and Factotum opening here. But it just seems like there's been more scripts which doesn't necessarily mean they're better! (laughs) It's still hard to find good things, but it's pretty good.
Did you choose this script because it was shooting in Hawaii? And why aren't we doing the interview there?
MATT DILLON: (Laughs) Yeah, right.
Do you always go with your gut instinct?
MATT DILLON: Well, I had my reservations at first about this one because the character was the straight guy and those roles can be kind of hard work, because they are just harder to play in a way. It's a very reactive role. He's a protagonist. But I was a big fan of Owen as a comedic actor and I liked the cast that was coming together and I liked the two directors. I think the hard part is just playing the straight guy. I find the humour in it is very subtle, it can just be a look or a reaction. The directors were smart because they felt the best way to play it was emotional extreme. Like the more Carl is affected by this, the funnier it is.
Could you relate to Carl at all? He puts up with a fair bit?
MATT DILLON: Much more than I would ever tolerate that's for sure. But I kind of related to him that he's a good loyal friend. I feel like friendships are important to me.
Do you have Dupree in your life?
MATT DILLON:I have more than one Dupree!
Who comes first, your girlfriend or your best friend?
MATT DILLON: It depends on the girlfriend, but if she was my wife that would be a different set of circumstances.
What is your 'ness'? As in Carlness.
MATT DILLON: That's such a weird one because I don't think Carl knows what the hell Dupree is talking about. You've got to get that Carlness back! Still I don't think Carl knows what it is. I don't really know what my madness is. It's sort of funny. We don't really know how we see ourselves. I'm not that knowing about how people see me necessarily, my friends. But you know, I guess I can be pretty critically minded. I think that's not a bad thing necessarily.
In what way?
MATT DILLON:I look at the world and I can be judgemental and I think that could be either good or bad. My self included in that scenario. I can be pretty hyper focused at times and other times completely distracted. Like I'm sure there are people who will say that one of my Carlness' is some kind of.....
Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D)?
MATT DILLON: Distractibility... some kind of A.D.D.! I try to keep these new medical catchphrases to a minimum. I guess I might have my ADD-ness. At the same time, I can be extremely focused. Like when I was directing my film I was 24/7.
Is that something else that you really want to get back into?
MATT DILLON: Yeah, I put down this script I was reading for a while and you end up getting busy as an actor, then with all the award season that happened .
Is that a full time job doing all of those events?
It's really nice. It's like an honour in a way to be recognised for that. In the same kind of way, it's exhausting.
Do you have to be 'on'?
MATT DILLON:I just try to be myself, but you've got to do these press lines and you're sitting in this thing, but it's easy in a way. It's not like work. I've had to present at the awards and that's more like work. You just don't get the big gift bag.
What do you find more satisfying - acting or directing?
MATT DILLON: Well in some ways, I find directing to be more gratifying. Because film is a director's medium and in the end you have much more control of the outcome. Like for me when I directed my film, I felt responsibility for every performance in the film. Even if the performances were uneven I felt like that was my responsibility and it's probably because I was an actor too, that I became very aware of that. The only time a director loses that is if someone comes in and re-cuts his movie. Because I really do believe you can make a film in the editing too. You can improve performances in the editing.
Are you satisfied when you chose a movie that is not for the right reasons?
MATT DILLON: I try and not chose them for the wrong reasons! (Laughs) I'm a professional and sometimes you get a job you love doing, and sometimes you've just got to get back to work. I try and not do anything I really struggle with. I look around and it's really difficult because I don't like a lot of movies that are getting made. I can't beat myself up because I don't love everything that is being made out there. That's part of the reason why I develop my own stuff too.
You do keep it quite diverse.
MATT DILLON: Well, yeah that's good. I like doing character driven pieces. Comedy is get because people want to escape. I like the movies. I like doing comedy. I prefer doing drama.
Is one harder than the other?
MATT DILLON: I'd say comedy is more difficult. Not to say, drama can be very challenging too. The way I was trained as an actor, is that you don't worry about the results, you focus on the intentions of the character. It's sort of the same thing in comedy, but ultimately they want it to be funny and so you end up trying things in different ways. In comedy, you never know what's going to be funny or not.
You don't seem to have aged in twenty years. You look the same. Was there a period when you were getting type cast as the pretty boy and you couldn't get the meatier roles? Basically, do you hate being a pin up boy?
MATT DILLON: You know it's funny when I was younger I hated it. I hated being called a sex symbol. Now I love it! (Laughs) Bring it on! I don't think I really do look exactly the same.
You're a man now.
MATT DILLON: Exactly. I don't look exactly the same.
What is your secret for staying so young?
MATT DILLON: It's like a two fold thing. There's the physical stuff and then there's the internal stuff. For me, I try to physically stay in shape, and what I mean is that I'm not that consistent but you just don't let yourself go. Some people get to a certain point and they let themselves go.
Like when men turn 40?
MATT DILLON: Yeah, or sometimes they're younger when they do it. But it's just this kind of idea of letting yourself go. And the other thing is keeping your spirit alive. I think life is short. For me, I like to just focus on things that I'm good at and that I like to do. I like to delegate the rest of it to people who are better at doing those things than me. I really mean that. As much time I can spend on this planet doing the things I enjoy doing and the things I'm good at doing, it will be a better place for me and everybody around me.
So what kind of things do you delegate?
MATT DILLON: Filing paper, those little freaking details.
Picking up your dry cleaning?
MATT DILLON: Exactly, I don't get involved. It's easy to get off track. One thing I'm not is that I'm not a guy who's a bean counter. I'm not a guy who is like a multi-tasking kind of producer who is just over seeing a lot of things in that way. I know my strengths. My strengths are creative ones and being very focused on specific projects and I think that's the kind of thing that I'm good doing. I think that it's important to know that. Maybe that's my madness. You talk about staying young, so the more time I spend doing those things that I'm passionate about, even if there is sacrificing and discipline involved, like for example, directing - I really wanted to make that film. It was worth it. I look back with great fondness and those were good memories for me. But I look back at times I spent doing things that I was miserable doing, whether it was a film or project that I felt....
So any regrets?
MATT DILLON: No, not regrets. You learn from everything. Now I understand that. So, whatever it is. Hobbies, doing the things that interest, that keep you happy. Because life is too short.
What are your hobbies?
MATT DILLON: I like to exercise, run and go the gym. I used to be able to run out and play basketball for four or five hours straight, but now my knees blow up. I surround the things that I enjoy. Listening to music that I enjoy. I think too many people spend too much time getting caught up in the things that they think they're supposed to do.
Was this movie fun to make?
MATT DILLON: I think if you have fun making a movie it translates itself to the audience. This was good fun, but it was hard work too. There were some scenes where I was really at a high pitch, like the scene where I launch across the dining table and I yell: 'You're ruining my life.' The next day, my voice was short.
You seem to play a lot of husband roles, and you've just become an uncle again. Would you like to have a family of your own someday?
MATT DILLON: Well, yeah....if I meet the right person than yeah, but I'm not going to try and force something, because that's a serious thing, having a kid and getting married. It's not that I feel I need to populate the planet for my own ego. If it makes sense with the right person, then, yeah.
Do you see yourself as a super bachelor?
MATT DILLON: That's not what I said! I don't see myself as a super bachelor. I'm a single guy and I enjoy being single. It's not like I want to be single my entire life. With the right situation...
So what kind of qualities does your dream woman have?
MATT DILLON: It's hard to say, because I don't have a physical like - it'd would be hard to explain what my type is - in a physical sense, because there's no one girl. Someone who has a good sense of humour, who makes me laugh and keeps things light and I find her funny. And yet she is somebody who has good character, but also somebody who doesn't try to change you or own you. You can have your own life. I think that's the secret to good marriages, people allow each other to have their own lives. I think that's really important. I think the biggest problem is if you try to own somebody, that's a mistake.
Is it harder for you to date because you're in the public? Like the Jen and Brad thing.
MATT DILLON: That's the thing, if you're with somebody else who's famous, then it can be a problem. If you're just dating regular girls who aren't famous...
Like a check out girl?
MATT DILLON: Well, it doesn't have to be a check out girl, not that there's anything wrong with that, because she can be a check out girl. (Laughs) I had a famous girlfriend for a while and that can be a little bit invasive, but not like it is today. In the last I'd say, six years, it's got a lot worse. It really has. I think it's got out of hand to tell you the truth, I think there needs to be some checks and balances. I think it's wrong. I think it's worse for the women, they're scrutinized for every pound they lose or put on. I think it's done in a very kind of severe and unfair way. It's going to cause eating disorders among people and that's dangerous. It's irresponsible and then they wonder why people are distrustful of the media.
How do you handle stress?
MATT DILLON: The best thing for me to do is to get to the gym and let off some steam. Or just relax. Drinking too much coffee causes that to happen often. Eating is a good comfort thing too.
Do you have time to travel?
MATT DILLON: I used to travel a lot, but now I seem to be going back and forth from LA to NY. It's mostly business related. Last year, I was down in Brazil for a friend's wedding and that was great. I like to go over to Europe, but it's usually work related. I think they call it Fool's Paradise for a reason.
Is there anything that makes you really angry?
MATT DILLON: Yeah there are a lot of things that piss me off, but I'll just say one right from the top of my head, is greedy land developers. I'm really bothered by this because these people will tear down beautiful old buildings, places with character. They throw the baby out with the bath water which is based on their own greed. I think it's really horrible. I see it all over my city, New York and it's really bothering me. I see it around the world.
By Johanna Juntunen
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