My favorite part of the interview:
AVC: Did Young Adult give you more confidence in yourself as an actor?
PO: It didn’t give me the confidence to say, “I can do it.” It gave me the confidence to say, “I can put the work in,” which, weirdly enough, a lot of people don’t. And for a long time, I didn’t really have the confidence to do that either, because I had come up out of that whole alternative scene, which was all about, “Don’t try it, man. Just go up and wing it.” I think a lot of that comes from insecurity. It’s that fashion of improv and amateurism that comes from the insecurity of saying to the audience, “Well, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go well, because I didn’t even try that hard to begin with.” It’s like, “Oh, that’s why you’re not [trying]. If you actually tried hard and it sucked, then you’ve got to blame yourself.” So that’s what makes it hard for some people to sit down and actually just do the fucking work, because doing the work means you’re making a commitment. I’m giving this my all. Now my all might not be good enough—and I’m just now seeing that with some movies I’ve done—sometimes your all is not good enough, but that’s a scary risk to take. That’s what Young Adult gave me the confidence to do, and working with someone like Charlize, who just gives her fucking all.
AVC: It takes real humility to say, “I’m going to work doggedly at my craft because I need to.”
PO: It’s real humility and not that false, “I’ve been doing this for 22 years. How hard could this be?” Just think of yourself as starting from zero every time. That’s what I do with every new role. I’m at zero, and I’m going to do the work.
READ the whole interview
– – –
This applies to acting, standup, writing, drawing: Trying hard is frightening because it raises the stakes for you personally. Acting like you don't care, or self-sabotaging by legitimately not caring, is a defense mechanism; it allows you to think, "I would've done better if I had tried harder." If you try your hardest, you can't fall back on that caveat.