Paul Giamatti didn’t really intend to become an actor, although he later went on to earn Academy and Golden Globe awards. He found pleasure in acting, and was introduced to it through a ‘buddy of his. He didn’t think he would become a ‘star’.
‘I was never the class clown or put on shows at home. I never thought of acting as something I could do with my life. When I was a kid, I used to run around wrapped in toilet paper so I could be the Mummy. But that wasn’t a sign that I was dreaming of being an actor. I was just an odd child’. (Paul Giamatti)
Paul allowed himself to pursue his passion for acting along side a ‘serious’ career in something more academic, something ‘safe’. Naturally, he would pursue an academic career – his father had been a professor at Yale and his mother a former teacher. But something greater was in the works for him. It all started when he moved to Seattle to establish this ‘serious’ career – in tandem however, he felt the need to seek out acting opportunities in nearby theaters. All the acting he had done to this point was purely out of interest, going with the flow and seeking the enjoyment he felt in expressing himself through acting.
‘I can potentially be everything…I actually really like the fact that it’s fake, that it’s not real, that there is a kind of benign con job going on…that there’s this kind of fooling people…I really get a thrill out of it…why I like being other people, I don’t know…I have a compulsion to be other people’. (Paul Giamatti)
Amidst his volunteer acting opportunities, he was unexpectedly approached one day by an agent! Paul agreed to sign on with her. Once he signed on with this agent, it was a snowball effect for Giamatti from then on! The acting opportunities were rolling in – and he was getting paid! ‘Remember, wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure’ (Paulo Cohelo – The Alchemist). Giamatti definitely found his treasure and said to himself ‘Oh, I can make money at this? This is obviously what I want to do… I was loving doing it’ (Paul Giamatti).
Paul’s success can be attributed to what attracts him to acting in the first place. He is truly fascinated and gravitates towards peculiar characters that no one thinks about; ‘Weird guys around the edges…those guys are badass’ (Paul Giamatti). Paul studies these types of characters and plays with them to create intriguing idiosyncrasies, in an effort to spark engagement by the viewer.
We can be inspired by Giamatti and his outlook on his love for acting to make parallels in our own endeavors and passions by taking his words into account:
“Don’t listen in anyone’s’ advice… [don’t get] too dogmatic about things.” – Paul Giamatti
“If I don’t feel like this thing is pulling me along, like I’m done, like 10 pages into it. But I make snap gut decisions, yes.” – Paul Giamatti
“Honestly, I never wanted to be more than a good supporting actor. Really, I enjoy it.” – Paul Giamatti
“I want to be a villain with steel hands or something. I want to be the crazy world domination -obsessed villain. I would love to be a Bond villain.” – Paul Giamatti
“In a weird way, I like to find the quirkiness in ordinary things. I like to find what is ordinary in quirky people.” – Paul Giamatti
“I don’t think film actors need training, really, but I needed any help I could get.” – Paul Giamatti
“I still want to be the guy on the subway that can check out the freak on the subway.” – Paul Giamatti
“If I play a more aggressive, stronger guy, I often go through my day feeling a bit better than when I play somebody who’s not.” – Paul Giamatti
“Somehow whatever I play ends up being sleazy.” – Paul Giamatti
“I like working in a smaller space and I like working with more eccentric characters it excites me.” – Paul Giamatti
Author Bio: Alessandra Aversa
Alessandra Aversa has recently re-kindled her love and passion for writing following the birth of her son in 2016. She is currently building up her writing profile. If you would like to contact Alessandra, her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org