Why Paul Giamatti Always Plays the Guy You Love to Hate

Giamatti appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" to talk about his new hit Showtime series "Billions" and his many controversial roles.
15:35 | 02/03/16

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Transcript for Why Paul Giamatti Always Plays the Guy You Love to Hate
A thicket. Easy okay. And that god damn US attorney Wendy so I've been working there since before we were married in long before you were in office. Book. Not to repair. But we didn't always discuss that they might come when there was conflict. That was before I was making 88 times what you make and before you started making chuck senior plays late this amount of. And. Who makes more money really is this what I'm teaching the kids are we teaching them that daddy's job was always more important than mommy's I worked for the public good known you work for the good of chuck Rhodes may be sometimes they intersect. It's. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn we we tell you what pops everywhere in the pop culture and there is a show now called billions which you see on showtime. You have to see it or my guest today says he will punish you. You know I'm saying you don't you don't cross. Paul jima and now I China but I welcome thank you sir Paul to pleasure weakness it's the nicest thing if you it's nice. How you arrange that poster billion so that if you're Hatcher. Is right there that are blocking game in the unlocking of stimulus that this is huge and is a bigger hand me. Looks like he has a bigger that's why I think that put him a lot aha yes so you can see me perfectly behind me right. There but. It is like a Paul Giamatti world. There's no where you can turn where we don't see in our world is all your money well I don't know I think maybe a broader world. I mean your Burnett show call bill and I think okay so not and you come from money in the show yes but you're the US attorney yes but why should I explain. We won the trust it should be you keep my digits that's right advent. I think of the United States attorney for the southern district of New York which is what Rudy Giuliani was in Spitzer and currently this guy pre Ferrara. Who's a very. Interest and powerful guy. And so it's a really powerful swallow most powerful positions in the Justice Department arguably more powerful in the attorney general. So they do a lot of us have and I'm chasing Damione Lewis around as a white collar criminal. You know insider trading cricket hedge fund billion. I'm money to bring up a little leather because I don't wanna do any spoilers now people haven't seen billions yet and they need to watch it thank you. But basically your character has this interest in being punished there's a little bit of the Massachusetts is an alternative lifestyle thing all day as a whole thing going I've heard. Talk about you in terms of doing that personally. I thought this would be an opportunity for me to. Eskew. My alternative yeah I'll other coming out of the closet looks like let's not immediately as a NASA map you are powerful man death and maybe you wanna be on I think I don't. Think I'd want to be punished like that I feel like my profession punches me in the office that I am now it's actually very interest and I think because. You know in fear you know it's. It's interesting that the character has that in the show because it kind of but the whole show was out like dominance and submission and power and control in all the students tell us what's very interesting. Idol. I think that you know the kinda. The kind. The cliche about those things which I think is true to some extent is these guys were so hyper control need to. Lose control need to relinquish control so it's this whole thing of being. Having decision making choice making taken away from you say it so forcefully until persuasively well it's clear that you really want and I'll I don't think I'd do. No because we had to work when an actual dominatrix who was consultant on the show me I didn't work with her I just consulted him there again and she. Kept saying maybe you should check that sound thinking I don't. There's not any part of me that has any desired it can't hurt. Like that I mean that's a really specific thing do you. Have the desired. For about why. If physical pain he won't hurt me anyway. Right now so I don't wrap get a torrent I'm asking you why criticize them so they need me. That's true actions not you don't become anybody's friend but that's interest. That's a very interest in kind of masochistic. I think it is a stray bullets I don't mass and hear you because you. You can hear the arbiter you can say you sock. I just these people yet but they don't like you don't like it which is like many times when you're on the show I do try to either pull your beard. War to strike yet. Right now but you've done it back to me I didn't hear back to I don't know what will happen I'm not feeling hostile toward through adulthood you seem honest you know I'm seeing your weaknesses. Being brought to the four OK people see through your life that's had not out yet. It's its hold that's enough evidently distributed. But let's just talk about resentments though here Damione Lewis has been on the show. And he's your costar Heath an American again he said rich playing in the manner are this is happening all time it is in which directs the security. Always an entertainment is uninteresting life well yes it does here today we'll put this he when he not he doesn't irritate when he finishes it take this heat and go back into the. No actually suppressed because presently he got through that. He doesn't do that he he actually. Stayed with the accent. All the time when he was shooting because I think he found its very specific kind of Long Island's. Working class guy accent which I think he was not super accustomed to so he did actually stay in an all time. So I actually sort of forgot that he had an English accent so when he would do the him thing which would come out after work and afterwards vs. Half of the year on occasion and biko case and it would have world war beer enough when you don't the to be don't have that many scenes together in the six episodes I've seen thriller you do and there's tremendous resentment you can see it in. Yeah so do you not talk to him on stet. Ever so that I don't see a map you don't Sheehan so now we only probably have a handfuls seemed normal. Season it's like heat. Number heat I do remember the movie you know and that's right everybody's waiting for the squaring off which only happens like four times base it is for you and I got this to you. A terrific actor. Do supporting roles and you don't really see that's good I like the did fireman it's good with sugar tactic. Sure that this issue. Front Santa yeah like you are in movies that I love lakeside way or American splendor we are. These are the TV thing feels even more light as it definitely doesn't stop is there put extra pressure on you when you basically are tan in the wake of everything while I. Divided between me and him so this when actually feels a little bit less like doctor that both of us as like but but it sure it does yeah they're going to be kind of a team leader guy. Which is actually thing that comes along but that that that's been the hardest thing for me to get used to be in the the team captain guy Moore of I don't really want to be detained captain guy but actually I'm finding at the pleasant thing to. I think it would be I mean that ice cube which is here talking yet been again another Paul Giamatti performance this year and street at a Compton core. So effective or you as the manager Jerry Heller Jerry Heller's suing. Because of your performances. Not really your performance but. How he was written yeah. Think he comes off okay we'll still to Daisuke. I didn't know he didn't think anything I don't know the man personally and I am I don't know I don't know getting their money as a character I didn't think that character if you just watch a purely a vacuum that's the character didn't seem that bad. That it that you saw it. Is what he needed to do even though he drove by you away from him. But Q did stated. Very complimentary to you beak issue in them. People to concede. I think he did tasted he's idiots. That's nice can't all be class counts this is somebody but. But who Ceres about his whereabouts and I think you're an effect I don't think they needed me to give them crop tops. Those issues the end of the hate ice cube as a lot of grimy times you know I mean he Ed at the end when we saying he says I should get used to seeing straight at a company but. I'll wait. Still. Domestic law and DeWitt together. But okay. It would have been. Also in. Very recently year and another read terrific movie called love and mercy now we are you are somebody I hate. Yeah doctor Jean Kennedy it's horrible Bryant now. It's a arguably again kinda at the heart don't mince them he in the movies like clearly our Elizabeth. Well Elizabeth practice terrible in history. We hated you are now what you're supposed to hate me in the all I hate you for asking for then on upon. There are now it is a hardy was it was not a good influence. But it's arguable even Brian Wilson says he did. Save my life. He suffered Brian Wilson site I did indeed lose 300 pounds and got off drugs because of him then. It got bad. But he didn't dot Niemi didn't continue to be on drugs because of this gotten. So you're seeing since I think that's a good guy let's say but there's it's more nuanced but maybe people think it. Yes that he did may be accidentally do something but it attain that but enough to own it became part bar. This is all leading two again another leading question free as to why do they cash to people. Who are so controversial. Who somehow drive other people insane sometimes you do me way I'm not too strong. I don't know. But this can yard catch your right to replace sort of I'm. I don't know I don't you've you would have to tell me why you think people do I guess I'm gonna I guess I'm going to playing sort of that the antagonists as a it's that the it could be explosive protagonist is also an antagonism. I mean yes. But usually when I see when you John Adams yeah I I felt free the or Alaska we should for him I didn't vote for him you should. I'm for the sky true you know it's like. I do think something but that like this dire channel atoms that make sense is these guys were kind of their right. But that just don't want about it in a way that's not plus. Their relationship but they don't know how to present what's right to the world in a way that's palatable with ease and this is policies view. Because you know occasionally I do anything you on the street if something and you say like not now. Yes you know as these you know what do you do if the total as if it. But that I don't lie. What are you look at how busy you can I think is meant that I didn't say okay now it took I hope it's okay you're asking me if I didn't. Terrible argue that people say I want you money for this part well but I really like political I think we went on and I wonder gene via chop when that story just. And I said I would love to play I'll chop and I Bennett maybe would go for somebody's had a that I wouldn't play helped but it's not an unlikely thing for me to apply. You're right if fits him with a lot of things. And particularly the way he was just presenting himself as look I'm just a simple man and I'm a good man and a family man and I pickled business just over the records about very proud of ferry for a business owner. I mean and create there's all hot at that there's a lot of echoing I don't know. I don't think those people I mean obviously there me I'm playing Parton so obviously I'm making the choices of how this person's going to be horrible person. So it's got something to do it. In the beginning when you would just when you exploded. As pig vomit you can do with it in the Howard Stern you. That's gonna change people. Loved you so much including Howard you know that they would see when the street name yes pig I would get a lot of but any affect on Atlanta. To a certain extent still people I'm happy for. Why don't mind at the great pond now in its right now still people I get there when the picked up. Get people doing all different kinds of things but everybody -- of what what's the one thing that. More than any other when they look at you and they say liked you in that you're the guy from the kid's movie that I did big fat liars. I got dyed blue because I think generations. People of Nelson. Now the people who are old enough to show it to their kids. So it's like so that he can solve a ninety day. Strangely enough the academy strictly true skipped over there I think I received a Ramsey. Teach you actually know I didn't get a rousing is there an actual thing there is arrested. If there's an actual raspberry to golden rents and if you ever been of the residents. I went once it's it's it's very very nice it's like in some of the little basement and there Sandra Bullock actually showed up to get her related death. They give them out they give them out but very now little slow to accept except she did. There are but I can't believe you actually. Oh I think I did get nominated for. Very proud but it wasn't repeat that. I think I did three vehicles that. Using us for some miles what happened although I I'm not. He was filming what do you think it was for doing now that you spend enough corporate. What's really we're just strangle golf clubs arsenal Bolton now want to elaborate Alan Feldman out the raid he had never I did I think it's building. And if I said one you would say I would rate I was often and that what I was on the block are you talking about so now I'm going. There's enough written evidence aside Evers it's true that could be fan you can back up extra. But you know the show always goes out song. I'll that was they all have something as a witness on the line there is though it may not was create edit com that the Taliban. I don't know the word sister and not and I wouldn't Mattie could just move your lips and then they would let it all out because it would be and I it's funny because. The first slowing it comes to mind if somebody says sing a song love for saying so. Advertising. You know mile first thing you. Typical way when is a cool quarter its cause is not the right words to advertising and we will not advertise. Appetizing unloved but Stan but cope words at all like yeah mile members. I. And you know. If you're thinking somewhere health and well and you're going to have advertising yummy loved these kids don't want them I hope don't. Advocates seized that account that I had to do it. I'm sorry I don't look at you I almost came to him I don't look at it again yeah but Letterman horrible final word union. It's always a pleasure to have really is it is scary always scared but I. He totally enjoyed it looked like. It.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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