Paul Giamatti: ‘I Hate Watching Myself Onscreen’

Saturday, January 15, 2011

 Paul GiamattiPAUL Giamatti hates watching himself onscreen.

The actor — who’s favored to win a Golden Globe for his role as a belligerent but loveable alcoholic in the dark comedy Barney’s Version — admits he can’t stand to see his own performances.

“I’m not gonna get any better if I don’t,” he explained. “And no one else is going to pick me apart–well, they will–but I want to learn so I have to pick myself apart. I think I do it in a more useful way than I used to. It used to be dismissive. I couldn’t even watch.”

Paul was then asked why he continues to act.

“That’s the question!” he hooted. “It’s complicated. When I started acting, I didn’t know I would do film as much. I did stage stuff. That was much easier because you don’t have to see yourself. One of the reasons I go back [to film] is because I want to get better at it. I really didn’t like what I saw but I kept going back because I was like, ‘Well, f–k it, I’m gonna get better at this!’

“I try not to pay too much attention to [awards]. What’s nice about it, especially with something like this, is if it means people will actually see this movie, which is such a weird, obscure Canadian-Italian movie, if the awards thing means people see it, then great. Other than that, it’s nice, but it’s weird.”


  • jeremy

    Always liked his performances. He was great in Private Parts.

  • Ellie_C

    He’s one of the couple people (really! Judy Dench is the other one) who when I hear are in a film I say “oh I’ve gotta see that.” I care more about what the story is than the actors-and normally these two actors are in something interesting. Amazing some of these people get away with 20 mill salaries for big piles of poo.

  • Lori

    I really enjoy him as well. Ellie, I agree with you about Judy Dench too. Whenever I am a bit blah, I turn on the old “As Time Goes By” series and am instantly cheered. It is tough to find compelling stories that aren’t just about showing off body parts. That is why I think I still enjoy going to plays more than movies–the story is key and the actors mentioned here are great at telling it!

  • hellenscunt

    Best actor alive today. He and Rufus Sewell were both fantastic in The Illusionist.

  • Chris Astoyan

    I can totally understand that Paul doesn’t like to watch himself on screen, many actors don’t. It’s just a bit weird to see yourself full 360 degrees.

    I enjoy Paul’s work very much though. Sideways is one of my Top 10 films of all time. He was amazing in that film, and I couldn’t have picked a better cast.

    Lets not forget his other amazing work such as John Adams, and many countless others.

    Thanks Paul for being an amazing actor.

  • Meresa

    I liked him in “Man on the Moon”

  • Nikki

    That’s normal to feel that way! And he’s a great actor, top notch :)

  • Jim

    let’s not forget “Safe Men” as jewish mobster named Porkchop.

  • Troy

    I loved this guy in sideways…great movie

  • Randal Phillips

    They said I was supposed to pick up a little blue car. They didn’t say nothing about a little blue man.

    Paul need to relax. He’s great.

  • Randal Phillips

    Ooo. I forgot that that was him in John Adams. He was so good, I forgot he used to be blue.

  • Tough

    When a actor says these things about himself/herself, they’re definitely got it “spot on right” about their working attitude. It’s not about awards, it’s all about the quality of work you can put to film. Another consistent standout is Leo DiCaprio. They might as well just give Leo the Academy Award already.

  • DadinWestchester

    Paul is such a joy to work with. Really supporting to young actors. Look for him in Win Win.

  • Andy

    Awesome actor!

  • Fred

    Great actor. I really liked him in the “Cinderalla Man”.

  • Kevin

    His singing in Duets was very good.

  • Jane

    I have been performing for years and cannot watch myself. Others tell me that I am beautiful on stage but honestly If I watch myself I might not be able to perform again.
    Its who we are.

  • Guest

    That makes two of us Paul.