21 questions

Oliver Platt Is Not a Fan of the Lannister Twins

Name: Oliver Platt

Age: 52

Neighborhood: West Village

Occupation: Actor, Currently in The Big C on Showtime. This summer you can catch him in As You Like It in Shakespeare in the Park.


Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
My grandpa Geoffrey.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
You’re joking. Okay, the skirt steak at Roberta’s last night, if you must.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Try and stay out of my own way.

What was your first job in New York?
In 1986, I was a member of the comedy core of the Manhattan Punchline Theater, an off-off-Broadway theater on Theater Row. If you answered the phones and swept the floor you could audition for their plays. (When you’re a new actor, the big catch-22 is that you can’t get a job without an agent and you can’t get an agent without a job, and so the right to audition for something when you’ve just gotten here is a treasured commodity.) I auditioned for their one-act-play festival — which all of the junior agents would go to — and I was cast in The Greenhouse Keeper Died Last Night.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
. I loved it. I thought Cynthia [Nixon] was just extraordinary.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Not always.

What’s your drink?
. It has this bizarre herbal taste, but if you acquire a taste for it, you will travel to distant lands to get it. I mostly get it when I’m in Maine in the summer.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Two to three times a week. My favorite thing to do is what my friend Mr. Batali calls “icebox cooking,” which is when you open up the icebox and then you just go. Unplanned, improvisatory.  It’s fun. 

What’s your favorite medication?
The pork buns at Momofuku.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
Seventeen photographs, some of them I took. I’m such a philistine: There’s a couple of cool photographers represented there, like a Cartier-Bresson, the beautiful picture of people dancing in their ball gowns … I might sound like less of an idiot if I could actually name some of the other photographers. But you know, the fact that I can’t is essential to who I am, so I shouldn’t try to mess with that.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
45 bucks. You have to understand that most of the time my hair is cut by whatever project I’m working on. But I have a wonderful barbershop in my neighborhood that I go to.

When’s bedtime?

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
New, barely. Who doesn’t miss the romance of Weegee’s Times Square? It’s gone too far in the other direction, but for the guy with the family and the guy who likes to go to the theater, and as a fan of the city, it’s good for the city. The commerce there is inevitably good for the city.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
The Romney endorsement, in all its aspects, tells the tale.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
The cost of living here, because it sanitizes and streamlines the population in a way that we’d all rather not think about.

Who is your mortal enemy?
The Lannister twins. Couple. Twins! Couple! Twins!! Couple!!

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Yesterday. I drive myself to and from The Big C in Connecticut. I love driving my car, so I’d drive to get a quart of milk, if I could.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It put a lot of pals out of work.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
, but the truth is with the iPad, we dip into all of them. (I like Flipbook and Pulse, which aggregate all of these periodicals into a single place.) We grew up getting the New York Times overseas: My father was a diplomat. We’d get week-old versions in Hong Kong when I was a little kid, before the Internet.

Where do you go to be alone?
My office.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
A love of the city. I had this epiphany coming back from a vacation. Usually at the end of a vacation you’re like “oh, I wish I can say here forever,” but I was like “I can’t wait to get back to New York.”

Oliver Platt’s 21 Questions