10 Questions With Jeff Daniels
The ever-versatile actor Jeff Daniels is also a musician. He talks about his role in the movie Steve Jobs, his latest album, touring with his son, and what keeps him grounded.
1. In the film Steve Jobs, you play former Apple CEO John Sculley, who fired Jobs in 1985. What appealed to you about the role?
Why can’t you just be faithful?
Any man who has ever been on the receiving end of that question, whether dodging crockery or wiping away his wife’s tears, knows that some women really want an answer. Do men who cheat really outnumber their female counterparts? Is infidelity in marriage more natural to men than women? And do some husbands think that “monogamy” is a board game?
Aaron Sorkin wrote it. It’s a great part, and it’s a great story. Aaron painted a very sympathetic portrait of someone who did absolutely everything he could to make it work with Steve, and it didn’t.
2. Is it hard to play such a wide range of characters, especially going from an intellect like Newsroom‘s anchor Will McAvoy to the dim-witted Harry Dunne in Dumb Dumber?
It helps with a jump from Will McAvoy to Harry Dunne, because they’re so wildly different. That’s an easier transition. The tougher one is where it’s a little more subtle and they’re kind of variations of yourself. That gets a little tricky.
3. You’re also an accomplished musician. What do you like most about performing?
You have complete creative control when you walk out with a guitar and a chair, and you’ve got to hold them for 90 minutes. You’re everything — you’re the orchestra, the supporting players, the director, the editor, the writer. And if it’s great, good for you. If it’s not, the blame’s on you. All the glory and all the blame. I like that.
4. What types of venues do you enjoy playing?
I prefer the opera houses, the clubs — those kinds of places, because you can do more with them. It’s like you’re working in a close-up or a medium close-up. I like that. And a lot of what I do is talk to the audience. There’s an art to it. There’s a craft to it.
5. What was the experience of touring with your son, Ben, like?
It means the world to me that I’m so close with my kids — close enough that he would come out on the road with me. I’m lucky, and I enjoyed every second we were on the road together. Hope to do it again.