The World's Best Character Actor

After two astonishing lead performances, Paul Giamatti is back in a supporting role. And that suits him just fine

A few months ago, Paul Giamatti was on an airplane flipping through the in-flight entertainment options when he came across Tom Hanks in The Terminal. "I watched it without the sound," says Giamatti, "because it's amazing to see how much somebody like him communicates without words." Ideally, The Terminal should be viewed without the picture too, but at 35,000 ft., Giamatti found himself riveted. "I'm sitting there thinking, That m___________! All that movie is about is him! I mean, he's just carrying the thing. And it's incredible. I can't do that. It's like he's got different brain chemistry."

Since his film debut...

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