Liev Schreiber on Why Being Famous Won’t “Make You Happy, Make You Desired”

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Liev Schreiber is getting candid about what he’s learned about fame over the years, saying that it alone won’t make people truly happy.

The Emmy-nominated actor shared in an interview with Haute Living magazine, published online Thursday, that after decades in the entertainment industry, he realized the importance of working on projects that he’s actually passionate about.

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“I work for hire, as they say, and like to make money,” he explained. “I have a growing family. The older I get, the more I think I want it to matter when I work. Of course, it doesn’t always — in fact, it rarely does — but it’s nice when it does, when one of your jobs means something to people. That feels good, like the job does what it was supposed to do in the beginning, which is to connect you to people.”

The Perfect Couple actor added, “When you’re young, you think that’s what being famous will do, make you happy, make you desired. And then you realize that’s not the case.”

Though some may assume Schreiber is a confident person, especially after working on dozens of projects between the big and small screen and Broadway, including Macbeth, RKO 281, Asteroid City, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Defiance, Ray Donovan and Scream, he admitted that it’s not that simple. “I’m only truly confident with characters,” he said.

“So much of my own personal journey has been getting over that attachment to not sucking, not being bad at something,” the actor explained. “Which is funny, because the whole principle of acting is that to be good at it, you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself. You have to be willing to be a jackass.”

He continued, “You forget that sometimes, because when you do something for a while, people think you’re good or attractive — something you want to be in real life — but it was just a character that you created. I think that’s the problem with fame; you start to believe your own press. A real career in the arts is about trying to figure out identity. My consistent hang-up has been this thing about not wanting to suck, about trying to be smart and to elevate, so it was an exciting thing to do the play because it felt like a risk, just like The Perfect Couple did.”

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