You have starred in Sin City, Shoot ‘Em Up and Inside Man–all action movies. Do you consider yourself an action star? Dany Jean-Philippe PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
No, definitely not. I’m not buff enough. Apart from Shoot ‘Em Up, which is an out-and-out crazy comedy-action movie, I don’t feel that any of the others are action movies. They’ve just got action in them.
Is there a role you didn’t get that you wish you had gotten? Katie Baker, AMES, IOWA
Not really. I have very few regrets. This part in Duplicity would have hurt if I hadn’t gotten it. I finished the script, called up the agent and said, “This is the one.” If someone else had ended up doing it, that would have hurt. I just thought it was incredibly smart and savvy, and it has some of the best dialogue I’ve ever been given on film.
I admire your craft and think you would make a great 007. Have you ever wanted or been offered the role of James Bond? Phillip McDowell JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
No. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing.You seem attracted to dangerous, dark characters. Are you interested in playing good guys? Joel Morales-Rolón SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
All the characters I play are good guys. They’re just misunderstood. I honestly don’t think I’m attracted to dark characters. I’m just not attracted to straightforward, plain, likable people. I don’t think they’re very interesting to play.
Are there any movies or roles you regret having done? Alexis Bondoc NEW YORK CITY
A few, yeah. I’d never tell you what they were.
What are the challenges of playing contemporary roles, as opposed to classical theater? John Fischer, SAN FRANCISCO
There’s a huge difference. Theater is grueling because it’s every night. But the advantage is you get a long rehearsal period where you get the chance to explore a character in a proper linear, narrative way. In film, you’re darting all over the place. Personally, even though I trained in theater and I do love theater, I love film more.
Seeing you on shows like Conan O’Brien’s makes me think you’d do well in comedy. Are there any comedies you wish you’d done? Marla T. Jacobson, ATLANTA
I don’t get offered them much, and the stuff that does come my way, I often don’t find that funny. It’s the hardest thing to write good comedy. And I’m not going to do a bad comedy. But I would like to do it.
Your female co-stars and even some fellow actors have professed their love for you. Who do you have a crush on? Cindy Custodio, MANILA
I’ve got a bit of a crush on Julia Roberts, it has to be said. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s incredibly grounded. And she has a very wicked sense of humor. Some of the dialogue in Closer–to be saying that to America’s sweetheart! Part of the reason I adore her is she was so brilliant working on that film. It’s very dangerous material, and those scenes are emotionally brutal. She made it as easy as possible for me.
What is the most difficult role you’ve ever played and why? Naafeh Ali Dhillon LAHORE, PAKISTAN
Probably Children of Men because it was such an unusual lead character. It was a guy who had given up. To play someone so listless was very difficult because you don’t want to get to the point where people have given up wanting to go on any journey with you. It was a real challenge.
Have you gotten more comfortable having fans? Melody Barnes, TORONTO
Listen, if people appreciate your work, there’s nothing nicer. When I was young, I did a big TV show in England called Chancer. I kind of got thrown into the limelight, so I went through a period of finding a way of dealing with it. When things opened up in the States for me, it was less disorienting than it would have been if I hadn’t had that experience. But I think most parents stay grounded. My kids keep me very much in check, really. I have very low status in my house. The days are full of disapproving looks.
If you want to watch the interview with TIME, you can watch it here.