Q & A
Cool, highly intelligent, he's actor Tim Roth. Nervous, actually about to puke, she's writer Stephanie Trong.
It's very scary to interview Tim Roth. Especially if you've seen any of the Brit actor's 30-plus films. Most of them are edgy, independent creep-fests, like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Plus, he's smart and responds to dumb questions with either biting touches or a total clamp.
Yet Tim, 39, is not immune to goofiness, like when he played a cheeky bellboy in Four Rooms. He's flirted with mainstream Hollywood, as a swashbuckling villain in Rob Roy. And the man's a loving father -- to Jack, 15 (from a previous relationship), and Hunter, 5, and Cormac, 3, who live in L.A. with Tim and his wife, Nikki. He even makes the family-man claim that the last movie he saw in a theater was Toy Story 2.
After directing last year's The War Zone, Tim's back in front of the camera: Vatel is a period piece with Uma Thurman, and Numbers is a comedy with John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow. Now I have to get on the phone and hope that this very cool guy doesn't think I'm an idiot.
This might be one of the only interviews with you that doesn't take place in a seedy bar, so I can't comment on how you're swilling beer and constantly smoking.
 That's just page filler.
So anyway, about Reservoir Dogs . . . just kidding! I thought I'd make a joke since that's all other journalists want to talk to you about.
Er . . . okay, You met your wife at a Sundance film festival several years ago. What attracted you to her?
I thought she was stunning. She was just one of those people who you think, "She's way out of my league."
What about her personality did you really click with?
You've probably got as much as you'll get out of me.
Ooookay. I've heard that you were bullied when you were younger. How did you react to it?
I'd run. Then I wouldn't go to school, so I spent a lot of time around the West End of London with a group of kids who shouldn't have been there. It was very dangerous. Luckily, the punk thing came along and saved us.
What bands did you listen to?
The anarchy music, like the Pistols, the Clash, the Fall. Now I like Rage Against the Machine, and I love the Butthole Surfers.
You do an amazing American accent. Do you ever use it so people don't bug you about the English thing?
Yeah, sometimes, because American people have this thing of, "Say that again, I love the way you speak!" You mellow your accent out because you tend to become a performing monkey.
You've done a lot of independent films. Are you opposed to doing blockbuster action films?
Oh, I'd love it! It'd be such fun to do. Plus, my kids would love it. I'd be a god in my household. I'd also like to do a voice for a big cartoon.
Do you consider yourself famous?
It's your job to work on that . But when you're beginning, it's what you crave. Then if it does happen to you . . . I know actors talk a lot of shit about it, but in truth, it's a very strange thing to have to deal with. Your privacy is not guaranteed.
You mean like talking to a stranger about personal things, like this?
Well, this is just part of the work that I do. I go through phases, but generally I'm quite relaxed about it. A lot of actors think that they should put up a fuss about this stuff, because they think, "Well, that's what De Niro did," or something , and then they get all pissy because they haven't got the cover or an article.
You might be burnt-out on this topic, but I know that you and Gary Oldman have written sexy messages to each other on your bodies in photos.
I haven't done that for years! It started off when someone asked who I thought sexy men were and I mentioned him, among a few others. Then he wrote this thing on himself in a photograph: "Hey, Tim Roth, I think you're sexy, too," and then I gave him one back. Eric Stoltz also nipped in at one point.
Let's add more guys to it.
Okay. Samuel Beckett, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Picasso, Cezanne.
Well, I guess people's talent makes them sexy. People's abilities, as much as a physical outlet, can make them very sexy. Think about John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons.
I have a feeling that a lot of people would say, "Think about Tim Roth in such-and-such movie."
Good!  Keep it going.