Jane, October 2001
Stephen Dorff stands up Claudine Ko, then redeems himself by talking about puking and hair removal.
"Where do you get off?" was going to be my first question to Stephen Dorff after he flaked on our original phone interview date. But then he kept me waiting another two days, during which I calmed down and tried to dig up as much incriminating info about him as I could. Aside from a lengthy career beginning with a He-Man toy commercial at age 11, an eclectic mix of solid performances including a South African boxer (The Power of One), a transvestite (I Shot Andy Warhol), and a 1950s Brooklyn street gangster in the upcoming Deuces Wild, his 28-year-old slate is suspiciously clean.
CK: Have you ever been stood up?
SD: I've been stood up by my guy friends before, don't know if I've ever been stood up by a woman. You can stand me up next time.
CK: I was thinking about it this time. But this is due tomorrow. Have you ever not felt confident before a part?
SD: A few times, but I think that's what makes [the performances] pretty good. When I did I Shot Andy Warhol, I had no idea what I was doing. I just wung it. I was kind of insecure because I had no hair on my body. They Naired me. My eyebrows took about a year to grow back. I thought I was never going to be able to play a man again.
CK: Any desire to Nair yourself since then?
SD: No. I don't think I'll do [drag] again. I like playing boys.
CK: So I've been reading articles that say you're a "modelizing actor" and that you "troll for talent" at fashion parties.
SD: I guess when I was younger I liked beautiful girls. Call me crazy. I like nice girls, too. They don't have to be models. I think the model thing has become a trend thing that magazines have pinned on certain guys.
CK: Including you?
SD: Yes, I would be part of that group.
CK: I also heard that you like spending money.
SD: I love money. I just bought a nice toy for myself.
CK: What is it?
SD: It's highly confidential. I mean, you seem like a nice person, but I'm a little worried to divulge certain information.
CK: If it's a dildo, don't worry about it. We write about that kind of stuff all the time.
SD: Uh-uh. It's a really extravagant toy. You know how sometimes your in a bad mood...don't girls just go out and buy something, and it makes you feel better?
CK: That's just a stereotype.
SD: Is it? If I'm in a bad mood and working really hard, I say, "Fuck, I'm buying myself a present." You don't do that?
CK: No. I find that material things don't do it for me.
SD: I'm not a materialistic person. Could be a great pair of jeans that just makes you feel amazing.
CK: But that's materialistic.
SD: They're cheap jeans.
CK: Speaking of materialistic, what is it you love about living in L.A.?
SD: I love it and I hate it. I love New York, too, although when I'm in New York for more than a couple of months, I get claustrophobic and then I want to go to the beach.
CK: Well, there's always Coney Island.
SD: Yeah, Coney Island is nice. That Cyclone roller-coaster is crazy. You've gotta have two Nathan's hot dogs and one of those orange drinks right before you get on. That's the test. You go once, and then you get right back in line and go again. Done that twice now - I never puked.
CK: When was the last time you puked?
SD: I've only puked three times in my life. Once when I had too much red wine. I was walking right toward the bathroom and there was a garbage can on my way, and I let it rip. And I had food poisoning once in London - I puked for 10 minutes outside the restaurant. I hate throwing up. Some people do it all the time.
CK: Like models, maybe?
SD: No, not like that. Friends, they drink and are able to make themselves throw up. I met Bjork once. She puked right in front of me.
CK: For awhile your reputation was "Stephen Dorff: bad boy." What's the biggest misconception about you know?
SD: I don't know. I don't really care that much either. I mean, I think the people who want to see my movies are gonna go see my movies. The key is, talk to the good writers. Before, I would talk to anybodywho wanted to know how I looked in leather pants.
CK: What's your favorite thing to do outside of work?
SD: Play my music. I have a collection of pianos and guitars.
CK: You're like a regular Renaissance guy. You dance, too?
SD: No, I mean, I know how to move, I can shake my ass when that song plays.
CK: When what song plays?
SD: "Shake your ass, watch yourself" - you know that one? But I'm not a big dancer. I'd much rather sit back and have a sea breeze and watch the girls dance. I just think it's a much more gratifying situation, you know what I mean?
CK: Yeah, I know what you mean. I like to objectify women every so often myself.
SD: Too bad you're not here, Claudine. We could go for a nice drive to Big Sur. What do you look like?
CK: Oooh, we're going to play this game now?
SD: Can I do a Q and A on you sometime? I didn't reveal too much of my personal life, did I?
CK: No. You love to shop, hate to puke and you like to ride the Cyclone after eating two Nathan's hot dogs.
SD: Those are great things. That's what your story should be about. Not about me asking you what ...
CK: I look like.