As an actor, I constantly have to expose myself. So between shoots I would much rather not reveal anything. Besides, I am not the kind of person who knows exactly where he’ll be in ten years. I’ve done things in my life that I never would have thought myself capable of.

My mother infected me with her passion for sports, art and theater. I loved to play baseball as a kid, and at the same time I imagined what it would be like to ride my bike over to the theater in the afternoon and go onstage. Later in New York, when I was working as a waiter, I just dreamed of having an interesting job. And then one day it happened: I was going to the theater every day and was actually acting in plays! To be in films – that was something I couldn’t imagine at the time, let alone winning an Oscar. When I did hold one in my hand, for my role in Capote, I thought to myself: "My God, how did I get this far?"

Often it isn’t until I’m working on something that I notice I’m actually in the middle of realizing a dream.

I don’t really feel free unless I get to daydream. I like to read, and I can imagine how many novels must have come out of intense daydreaming. To embody a literary genius like Truman Capote, I had to get into his dreams, to dream his world. This inner dialogue with the role is like free association. It’s like a dream in which one thought leads to another and all questions are allowed. When I’m reading a screenplay and I instantly feel like I’m going on a journey with one of the characters and want to discover his most intimate motives, then it’s pretty easy for me to take the role.

My children often tell me about their dreams and they remind me of feelings I had in my own childhood. But I try really hard not to impose any of my childhood dreams on them. I take my son to baseball games and sometimes he comes to the theater and watches us rehearse. My kids should feel that you can be an athlete and an artist at the same time—that there doesn’t have to be a separation between body and intellect. I am showing them a lot of different worlds so that they can choose their own dreams later.

When I close my eyes and let my thoughts travel freely, I’m finally perfectly alone and anonymous. Then my thoughts are totally unbound. This is the feeling of complete freedom that makes dreaming so utterly essential to being alive. And that’s why I’m keeping most of them to myself.