As noted previously in posts about The Hunger Games, my pick for Haymitch is Philip Seymour Hoffman. That said, Paul Giamatti works too. So many articles about Giamatti reference the fact that he’s not a pretty guy. Thing is though, he gets more, and lately better, than most of the pretty guys in the business. And maybe that’s the benefit to being “Hollywood ugly”. That the quality of the scripts, especially now, coming to Paul Giamatti is far superior to the ones that, say, Matthew McConaughey probably gets. That’s certainly been the case after Sideways.

He was great in Sideways, totally. But I will always love him as Pig Vomit Kenny in Private Parts, the Howard Stern movie. Did you see Private Parts? It’s good. So underrated. And Giamatti is hateful in it. Which always makes me laugh. His apoplexy when Howard goes off on him on the air is hilarious. Performance aside, if we’re honest, casting him to play Pig Vomit wasn’t far off either, right? Paul Giamatti is not conventional quiver, not even close.

Giamatti doesn’t shy away from the “not good looking question” though. He covers the winter issue of NUVO Magazine and addresses it directly:

“Somebody once asked me, ‘You play these guys and they’re not attractive guys in [many] senses of the word a lot of the times—where’s your vanity?’ I said that my vanity is not being vain. This is what I can give as an actor, actually not being the perfect-looking guy or the perfect-seeming guy.”

Another advantage to looking the way he does is that it allows him to be an actor, just an actor, and not primarily a celebrity, which in turn means that details about his life cannot be called up by memory, unlike how many times Julia Roberts has been engaged. Those details – the more obscure ones – are often much more interesting.

Like the fact that Giamatti went to Yale (English) and, while there, was supposedly a member of the infamous secret society Skull and Bones.


Please. I am obsessed with Secret Societies. Obsessed. It’s the private school girl in me. But the conspiracy theories surrounding secret societies are wildly imaginative, and, therefore, incredibly fascinating. Some people think Skull and Bones was responsible for nuclear bombs, for assassinations, for wars, unrest, and all manner of nefarious accomplishment, in addition to some good sh-t too, sure.

Paul Giamatti was in Skull and Bones? Well... he kinda skirts the question, telling NUVO:

“It’s an interesting thing. I don’t know where that came from ... I don’t want to say one way or the other whether I was, which of course, most people automatically say, well, I must have actually been. But I like to be cagey about it because people keep bringing it up.”

He’s right. I’m automatically saying he was.

Adds another dimension to Pig Vomit, non?

Oh and by the way, if you’re into Secret Societies and Young Adult Fiction, two suggestions: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, both quick, addictive reads.

What’s next for Giamatti? Barney’s Version opens next month in limited release. It’s adapted from a beloved Canadian novel. It was very, very well received at TIFF. One day, Giamatti will get his Oscar. He should.

Click here for more on NUVO.