DANO'S PREACHING FOR ALL TO HEAR.
You might not know Paul Dano by name. You probably wouldn't recognize the 23-year-old actor's voice if only because in the role you know him by -- the tortured teenager who has taken a vow of silence in "Little Miss Sunshine" -- Dano barely spoke.
But his acting in "Sunshine" made a huge impression, and next month you'll be able to take in the full Dano experience in Paul Thomas Anderson's hotly anticipated "There Will Be Blood."
"Blood," a loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair's "Oil!" pits Dano's charismatic preacher against Daniel Day-Lewis' greedy oilman in a small, turn-of-the-century California town. It's the second time Dano has acted opposite Lewis, following 2005's "The Ballad of Jack and Rose." And, in both movies, Dano antagonizes Day-Lewis.
"In 'Jack and Rose,' if I was intimidated, I couldn't let it show because of the nature of the part," Dano says. "I had to be just as fierce as Daniel -- if that's even possible.
"Having that prior experience really helped with 'There Will Be Blood,' " Dano continues. "Again, we don't get along, but it was a lot more fun the second time around to have a go at him."
Playing a preacher gave Dano a couple of meaty scenes where he got to let it fly with his congregation.
"It really gets into the dangerous aspects of being a preacher, whether you're trying to get your congregation to worship you or God," Dano says. "You certainly question whether my character's charisma is from God or something less innocent."
Dano lives in New York and is currently acting off-Broadway in the Ethan Hawke-
directed play "Things We Want." "Little Miss Sunshine" brought him a degree of recognition, particularly among young people who related to his angst-ridden character.
"It's nice hearing from people, but I always have had an irrational fear that when people recognize me, I will disappoint them," Dano says. "It's awkward. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to that."
Given his phenomenal work in "Blood," Dano likely will have more practice in those situations.
"There Will Be Blood" Dec. 26
Paul Dano is a charismatic preacher who takes on Daniel Day-Lewis' tough oilman in "There Will Be Blood."