How important is fashion for you? And how important are appearances to you?
Was that a concern, with this role? That you'd have to be a good-looking guy?
In the last few years, didn't you kind of avoid this type of "handsome" role?
"Not at all, no. Really, I mean, this is fitting for the character. And people have asked me if I avoided romances or love stories...not at all. The only pre-requisite or criteria that I have for doing anything is, is there enough there to do? (Laughs.) Is there enough dimension to the characters, is there enough? Otherwise, I become bored as an actor."
Did you have any hesitation or reservation taking on such an iconic American character?
"Sure, yeah. You know, the truth is, it is a very risky undertaking. Everyone has got their version of The Great Gatsby, when people go into the theater. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and have said this is their favorite book of all time. So, they are going to want to see you dramatize things that they have got stuck in their head. But, the partnership of having Tobey involved — and Baz — both people who I have known for over 20 years, as trusted sort of collaborators, [helped]. But yeah, there was a tremendous amount of hesitation initially, but it was really that partnership and that trust [that convinced me to do it]."
Gatsby talks about fame, and of course, you have experienced that in spades, in Hollywood. Do you connect to the character on that level?
"Well the truth is, my life is much different than Gatsby’s. I have grown up with great family and friends surrounding me. Gatsby is somebody who erased his past and left all of his connections to his humble beginnings so he could re-invent himself as this great oligarch of West Egg. He doesn’t want to connect with anything from his past. But I do identify with the ambition — and I think certainly everyone does — with the idea of him becoming this dreamer, somebody that has manifested this image of what he wanted as an adult and worked tirelessly and had such great ambition to become that. He is the manifestation of his own dreams."
Speaking of dreams, are you thinking about marriage now that you are close to be 40?
"I take it as it comes. We'll see what happens in the future. I don't try to determine what the future will be. I take it day-by-day."
Recently, you mentioned that you are more comfortable now than you have ever been. Is it because you are turning 40 soon?
"Two more years, and I am holding onto my 30s desperately! I suppose it’s something that comes with age. I have grown up in this industry, I have been acting ever since I was 13 years old, ever since I really have known Tobey, I have been acting. So, in a lot of ways I have grown up on screen and in the public eye. And I suppose I don’t know where or when I said that, but yeah, I do feel more comfortable than ever before. And it’s just in the realization that it’s just sort of been this grand journey to fulfill my childhood dreams in a lot of ways. I lived in Hollywood, I was somebody that knew about the industry, I wanted to become an actor. But I was like Nick, I was within and without and I never felt like I belonged. And I got my foot in the door and from then on it felt like I was winning the lottery — and I am just so excited to be able to do what I do and that it’s been this long journey."
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