Then came the fight. At a bar, Dillon, still wound up, took a head butt from a backpacker that knocked him on his keister. His response? “I went after him pretty good. I don’t know if he was Australian or English, but I was kicking his ass, then he ran off.”

“There was a fair amount of Laotian moonshine consumed,” Dillon admits, making a facial expression you’ve seen him do in the movies maybe 1,000 times. I call it mock formal, because it makes wondrous use of that brow and conveys that a shitload of somber deep thinking is taking place. It’s a patented look from a mug that Wilson describes as “practically iconic.”

And okay, the Dillon you usually hear about isn’t a fighter. He’s a bit of a playboy, sure, but also, oddly, a Ward Cleaver–style throwback—if Ward Cleaver dug Kerouac. A good, old-school time for Dillon is crate-digging at record stores in search of 78s. The man does not keep an L.A. apartment. He doesn’t relate to people say who say “What up, yo?”: “I never got comfortable with that. It’s got to be ‘Yo, what’s up?’” Prada, who made his Oscars tux, does “a good job.” And he didn’t bring a date to the big Oscar event because he wasn’t seeing anyone seriously, and besides, “it’s a work function, business-related.” When I ask if he hammers out scripts on a typewriter, he says, “A computer,” but then riffs about having used WebTV (remember that?) for a long time. “It’s for grandmas, I know,” he says, laughing. “It’s lame.”

Still, he’s not a complete fossil—those brittle 78s have been digitized so he can listen to them on an iPod. And as far as I know, he’s never been a spokesman for wing tips, but you might have seen him in a Skechers ad or two (“I did that before I went to Cambodia—I knew I wasn’t going to be making a lot of money for a while and needed to put some in my pocket”). He’s also lined his pockets by doing the Suntory thing in Japan, à la Lost in Translation. “It’s so funny how much that mirrored my own experience there. I was a young guy, a lot younger than I am now. But it was interesting, staying in a hotel like that. In this case, I met a young model . . . ”

And we’re off into another story, making a seemingly unscheduled stop at Point G: the subject of art. It turns out to be a language Dillon is particularly fluent in. “There’s an interesting piece by Mike Kelley,” Dillon says. “It’s called Symbiotic Relationship, and it’s a big banner, and at the top it says fuck you, and at the bottom it says now give me a treat please. And it’s the definition of what a symbiotic relationship is when you think of art vs. commerce. ‘Fuck you’ is what we say when we’re in conflict with the money people, and ‘Now can you please help me out and give me more money so I can create?’ And you can flip it, too. It works either way.”