Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. What kind of person is your character, Oliver?
A. The appeal of Oliver is that it is easy to relate
to him. There are so many men like him who often feel like they
have to achieve a certain status in the world before they can
have a successful relationship. Oliver feels that he needs to
be financially secure before he can get involved with anyone.
He tells himself, ‘I am not cool yet but I will be when
I have this and that …. a lucrative business and a house.
Then I will be OK.’
He is the kind of guy who thinks ‘right now I am not at
a high level in my life, so I can get a certain type of girl,
but when I get further up the ladder and have progressed with
my career, I will be able to ‘trade up’ to a different
type of girl. He has his own set of rules.
So he tells himself not to have a relationship until he gets to
where he wants to be in life. The truth is that you are never
actually there. But at the same time, you are always there, wherever
‘there’ is. It is a journey. I think people will really
identify with him.
Q: Do you set yourself very high standards too?
A: Yes, that is why I can relate to him so well. I constantly
set standards for myself and goals and create an illusion that
I cannot have both (a relationship and career). But you find out
that you have to have a balance in life.
I used to do the same thing as Oliver in terms of my career, for
sure. I was ambitious and I was unkind to people as a result.
I do not think I was fair to people a lot of the time and I made
really poor judgments because I was so driven and needed to succeed
as an actor.
Q: When you were a little boy growing up in Iowa, did
you ever dream that you would be as successful and famous as you
A: No I didn’t. It is weird. Every time I have
a successful movie or TV show it is amazing, like a dream come
true for me. And when dreams come true more than once, we start
to call the dreams realities.
Now it has become much easier because I don’t need to drive
myself crazy anymore. But it was a dream, what I am doing now
with my career never seemed as though it would be possible when
I was younger.
Q: What does love mean to you?
A: Agh …well .. that is a really difficult question
for me because I am really a love cynic. I don’t know if
it is truly attainable every day.
To me, love is when your desire for someone else is greater than
your desire for yourself, or equal to that. That is a tricky thing
The concept of love that we see in A Lot Like Love is what most
of us called love, where there are always obstacles, but it is
hard to define.
Q: The director of A Lot
Like Love, Nigel Cole, compares you to Cary Grant. Is that thrilling
A: It is a great compliment. I appreciate it and it is
so great because it is like the captain of your ship saying that
you have sailed well. I cannot thank him enough for saying something
It is hard for me to comment, of course, because I cannot take
an outside, objective perspective on my career and my life. I
don’t know what direction I will go take in the future,
whether I will move do drama as well as comedy.
Certain people will always try to compartmentalize you by saying
things like ‘Oh he’s only good at comedy’ or
‘he is still doing the same funny character as before’.
People always try to categorize you.
Q: What was it like having a nude scene in the desert,
was it difficult for you?
A: I like being nude as often as possible. [laughs]
I was actually really frightened of it. For other people it is
OK. I like them being nude, but I don’t like to be naked
very much on screen myself. It means being completely exposed,
which is hard.
I had a ‘banana hammock’ on, which is a really exciting
garment to wear, it is like a thong with a (baseball) catcher’s
mitt attached to it. [laughs].
It is a little awkward to wear. I think we were both so insecure
about taking off our clothes though, that we were not looking
at anybody else to see their reactions. We were on a stage. We
were not actually outside, so I think that helped.
Q: What was it like having sex in the toilet in the airplane
with Amanda? We don’t actually see you because you are behind
A: I have done it in other movies. For some reason, directors
seem to like the idea of me having sex in toilets! I was really
comfortable with that scene.
Q: Have you ever done that yourself?
A: I tried it once but I did not even actually get into
the rest room. I was flying with somebody and we were sitting
down. I got up and went over to the rest room, but it was too
difficult trying to get both of us in there. There were too many
people around us and people would not go to sleep. It was really
awkward and we never actually made it.
Q: Your character is seduced in the movie; do you usually
make the first move in your relationships?
A: I am not really a ‘move’ guy. I do not
make first moves. I do not know how to make the first move; I
am pretty shy about the initial conversation to start a date or
relationship. I am not good at that.
A Lot Like Love: Did we love
it or loathe it?
Interview: Amanda Peet
Why the soundtrack