BackTalk: Steve Buscemi Page 2

What do you listen to on the radio? I like NPR, and I listen to jazz. I also like Tom Waits and Elvis Costello.

Do you listen at home or on the go? Well, it's mainly an iPod and speakers right now. But I've gotten back into using a turntable, so I've dug out a lot of my old albums, like Nick Lowe. Back when I was into vinyl, I didn't like jazz like I do now, so I've been buying Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, and I'm enjoying collecting those.

I know you've been a firefighter as well as an actor and director. How do those experiences compare? Acting for me is when you get that adrenaline rush that's comparable to going into a burning building - there's that nervousness, that fear, but you're with people you trust, and it's something you experience together. And when it's over, you feel good. I've never gotten that adrenaline rush from directing, but I definitely felt it doing that live radio piece. I still got really nervous even though we had our scripts in front of us. It wasn't until the fourth time we did it - three in Brooklyn and one in London - that I forced myself to calm down and savor each moment we were on stage.

You've done more than 80 movies. Is there one role that stands out as your favorite? The one that has always stuck with me is one of the earliest roles I did, in a film called Parting Glances. I think it was the first portrayal on film of a character with AIDS. Aidan Quinn had already done An Early Frost on TV, but the subject matter was important. More than that, though, I just loved the character. It was a joy to play someone with so much life even though he had this dreaded disease. He didn't let it stop him from enjoying life.

What kind of theater do you like to watch movies in? I like movie theaters with character. That's been one of the fun things about having Lonesome Jim on the film-festival circuit. In Athens, Ohio, we were in this huge theater that seated over 1,000, but I don't think you lost the intimacy of the film. At the Sundance festival, we watched it at the Eccles Theater, which is the largest venue there. And, again, sitting in the audience I could just feel that everyone was with it. I like intimate theaters. Some of the multiplexes have rooms that are too narrow, and the sound isn't good. I'm a fan of the old classic movie houses, but unfortunately those are really rare now.