I think I've become more relaxed throughout my career. I don't feel the need to jump up and down and make a big noise to get people to pay attention to me. I don't need to do punk rock gestures or eat a cockroach or do something weird to say I exist.
In the beginning my energy and passion for acting came from an almost punk rock need to express a lot of anger wherever that may have come from. As I got older, it became or is coming more from a place of wanting to use the craft to help others in some way, to hold a mirror up to the situations that we're going through, to actually be more cautious about the way that I use the power of film and to see if there's anything that I can do in the performances that will resonate in the public a similar string that's on people's minds and is on my mind. That way we have that relationship.
People often say that you should never work with child actors. I think that's all wrong. Children have not had the imagination kicked out of them by life experience and adulthood. So, they still are very much alive with that kind of magical thinking which enables an actor to believe they're in these circumstances and make them real to you.
I don't find the same things funny that many other people seem to find funny. I don't really respond to sex jokes and things like that. Some of my friends look at me and go, "Come on, Nic, that was my best joke. Why aren't you laughing?" I go, "I really don't know why I'm not laughing. I'm sort of out of sync with it." So I'd have to find something that was really about weird human behavior for me to laugh.
We do see Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Chow Yun Fat, but it's very rare to see the Chinese male actor in Hollywood movies, which is something I take great umbrage with. You know, my son is Asian. He may want to direct one day; he may want to be an actor like his father - and I want that to be open to him.