Jeff Daniels is interviewed in the current issue of Esquire, where he made an important point about the difference between the way a character actor and a star approach a role.
Stars like to be likable. The Squid and the Whale is a perfect example. You get to the end scene, and that’s the point where the star turns to Noah Baumbach, the director, and says, “You know what’d be good? If I had a speech, heart-to-heart, a lot of tears. I’ve actually written something you might like.” It happens all the time. Noah and I — never. Not a word. If the guy’s got flaws, wear them on your sleeve. And stars don’t like to do that. And they’re paying you $20 million to do that thing you did that America loves, now just do it for them. It’s true.