×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paul Schneider

'Jesse James' star prefers life over acting school

Paul Schneider is the first one to tell you he has friends back home who wouldn’t be so inclined to show their emotions the way actors often do.

“Growing up in North Carolina, I was around a bunch of guys who did a lot of drinking and fighting,” recalls Schneider, currently co-starring in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “Lars and the Real Girl.” “I did my share of that, but I was always the sensitive guy. When I wanted to talk about my feelings, they’d tell me to have another drink.”

Though Schneider studied filmmaking in college, what he learned is only part of what made him an actor. His time spent with friends seems just as vital to what’s turning into a burgeoning career.

“There are people doing this who’ve been to Juilliard, and I’m not that guy,” says Schneider. “What I found out was that time I spent living was my acting school.”

On the set of “Jesse James,” where he played outlaw Dick Liddil, Schneider found himself surrounded by a new group of guys — Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt and Sam Rockwell — and they bonded on the plains of Alberta, Canada.

“Usually when you have a bunch of men in their 30s and 40s together, there’s a lot of competitiveness and measuring yourself against each other,” Schneider says. “There was none of that with these actors.”

The thesp adds he found the same support on “Lars and the Real Girl,” where he plays the brother of a man who begins a delusional relationship with a life-sized doll he orders on the Internet. “There’s nothing better for an actor than being around other actors who are willing to work hard and get dirty to figure out how something should be done,” says Schneider.

For now, Schneider has temporarily taken a seat behind the camera. He is in post-production on “Pretty Bird,” a film he wrote and directed, starring Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup as two men trying to manufacture and sell rocket-powered belts.

“I’m really just there as a guide,” says Schneider. “These guys don’t need me to tell them anything.”

MOVIE MUSINGS

AN ACTOR SHOULD ALWAYS: “I’ve been fortunate to work a few different jobs in film before I began acting, and I’ve learned actors should always say thank you, especially when being shown what never to do.”

I’M INSPIRED BY: “Deadlines. No, fear. On second thought, maybe it’s the fear of deadlines. Scratch that, it’s the fear of sucking.”

FAVORITE FILM CHARACTER: “The people seen in life whose plight or behavior could be applied to future characters in future films.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Germany's Leonine Buys ‘Dark’ and '4

    German Indie Studio Leonine Buys ‘Dark’ and '4 Blocks' Producer W&B TV

    Leonine has acquired “Dark” producer W&B TV from Endemol Shine. Fledgling German studio Leonine had already bought Wiedemann & Berg Film and established itself as a Munich-based movies, TV, and digital production and distribution group. It has now added the W&B TV unit to its roster. The production company is behind several big German dramas [...]

  • iHuman

    Cinephil Acquires AI-Themed Political Thriller Documentary 'iHuman' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tel Aviv-based Cinephil has acquired worldwide rights to Tonje Hessen Schei’s (“Drone”) “iHuman,” a political thriller documentary about artificial intelligence, power and social control. U.S.-based sales agent ro*co films is representing North America on the film, which will have its world premiere in the Frontlight section of Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film Festival. “iHuman” follows the [...]

  • 'Feast of the Seven Fishes' Review:

    Film Review: 'Feast of the Seven Fishes'

    Early on in “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” two characters debate the optimal way to decorate a house for Christmas. One favors an “understated” approach, with white lights and little more; the other argues that the holidays are no time for subtlety, advocating green, red and gold sparkle as far as the semi-blinded eye can [...]

  • Queen & Slim

    AFI Fest Film Review: 'Queen & Slim'

    Going to the movies can feel a lot like agreeing to a blind date: It’s normal to feel a little wary — but also a bit excited — at the potential before agreeing to spend two hours with characters you don’t know. If the film is any good, it wins you over early on, enough [...]

  • Steven Spielberg Branko Lustig

    'He Left Me Speechless': Steven Spielberg Remembers Branko Lustig

    Steven Spielberg has offered a touching remembrance of Branko Lustig, the Holocaust survivor who produced “Schindler’s List” with Spielberg and Gerald Molen and died Thursday in Croatia. “I was heartbroken to hear of Branko’s passing and my thoughts are with his family and friends,” Spielberg said. “When we first met to discuss ‘Schindler’s List,’ he [...]

  • Dylan Brosnan and Paris BrosnanGolden Globe

    Pierce Brosnan’s Sons Paris and Dylan Brosnan Named 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors

    Pierce Brosnan’s two youngest sons, Paris and Dylan Brosnan, have been named as the 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Thursday evening. Paris and Dylan are also the sons of journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith. The ambassador(s), a title that typically goes to the son or daughter of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content