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20 questions with… Dermot Mulroney

The actor has spent more than two decades playing a myriad of characters, most notably an outlaw (in Young Guns and The Last Outlaw) and a heartthrob (in My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Wedding Date). This month, you’ll see the multitalented artist—he also just happens to be a classically trained cellist—star alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in the film adaptation of the black comedy-drama August: Osage County, and in January, he’ll play the lead role in NBC’s Crisis. Here, Mulroney answers our burning questions. 

What’s your 2014 New Year’s resolution?
Same as always­: quit cussing.

 

What was it like to work with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep together?
Like biting into the perfect handmade deli sandwich. It’s got everything you love in it and tastes just as good as it looks.

What has been your favorite role to date?  
Dirty Steve in Young Guns, without a doubt. But I can’t leave out Jack Nicholson’s son-in-law, Randall Hertzell, in About Schmidt. These parts felt less like acting and more like channeling.

What five iconic figures would be at your dream dinner party?
Yo-Yo Ma, River Phoenix, my dad, God and Liam Neeson.

Worst job you ever had?
I’ve only ever been an actor, so I’ve never had a bad job. Unless you count the summer I spent as a dishwasher at Paul Revere Smorgasbord in Ocean City, Md. That job sucked.

What profession would you never try?
I could never be a motorcycle cop. I’m too afraid of motorcycles—and cops.

What are you most afraid of?
Fear.

Funniest thing that’s ever happened on set?
Actors who do plays use the term ‘corpsing.’ It’s when you can’t stop laughing while you’re doing a scene. The worst case of corpsing I ever had was with Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne in a scene for Point of No Return. I still laugh just thinking about it.

First celebrity crush?
Tatum O’Neal in Paper Moon.

What’s your definition of sexy?
Have you seen my wife [Tharita Catulle]?

Most outrageous thing a fan has ever done to you?
In all seriousness, it wouldn’t be advisable for me to answer this question.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
My friend’s father told me I should be an actor when I was 12. I agreed with him.

What’s your favorite word?
Moot. Say it a couple of times—see?

Who’s the funniest person you know?
Richard Radutzky. His company, Joyva, makes halvah in Brooklyn.

What always surprises you about New Yorkers?
I like that New Yorkers look at each other. I think they collectively like to see who’s in their city on any given day. It’s some combination of friendliness and vigilance. Like that neighborhood dog at the end of the street keeping track of who’s coming and who’s going.

What’s your TV guilty pleasure?
Eastbound & Down.

What’s your favorite music to dine by?
These days it’s Ray Charles or Dinah Washington—on vinyl.

What holiday dish do you prepare best?
Rutabaga.  

Describe Christmas dinner at the Mulroney household.
Turns out, I’m the slowest eater in my family. The second half of most Christmas dinners is usually me alone at the table polishing off the stuffing.

What does no one know about Dermot Mulroney?
That I’m 6-foot-2.