“What an undertaking,” Bacon says with a laugh. He notes that when most people talk about making their first film, they say, “‘I want to make a little movie. It takes place in a bar’ or something. But, I mean, shooting in Cambodia? Shit blowing up? I thought it was amazing—sort of cool and smoldering.”

“It was a very personal film,” Dillon says. He explains that the plot and overall experience mirrored his career at the time: “Like my character, I didn’t know where I was going and had to find out along the way. You analyze things to death, ’cause you want it to be perfect. Let’s take the journey and see where the road takes you.”

Besides artistry, there’s some other stuff in Dillon’s heart too. But if we’re talking women, aside from descriptors like “blonde” or “brunette,” they remain fairly anonymous, since he generally dates civilians, models, or Apprentice contestants who you wouldn’t know by name. Reports of this part of his “journey” usually arrive in one-sentence dispatches in gossip columns and involve the words eyeing, ogling, chatting up, kissing, leaving with, and protracted horizontal mambo.

“Hello,” he says. “There’s a lot of fish in the sea. Hopefully, you’re only going to marry one girl. I want to make sure it’s a relationship that works for everybody involved.” And a career as a famous actor has given him a pretty snazzy tackle box. “You get a little spoiled sometimes,” Dillon admits. “Sometimes it’s tough because women think, ‘Oh, he’s used to getting what he wants.’ You get a little bit of that resistance toward you because you bring all this other stuff with you.”

The one relationship you may recall, with Cameron Diaz, fizzled in 1998, the same year he fully dove into doing City of Ghosts. “No one did anything dishonorable,” Dillon says, taking a bite of chicken (he does not lick his fingers). “We don’t go bowling anymore together, but we’re on good terms.”

My follow-up question: “Good enough terms to ask her what’s up with dating Timberlake?”

With this, Dillon’s brow and nose do not crinkle in disgust. He’s an adult. He tolerates you. “No. It’s not like that. She does her thing.”

It’s not surprising, but Dillon is seldom overjoyed when narrow-minded fools like me remind him of his early roles as greasy brawlers. When I bring up Dally, his character in The Outsiders, along with his role in My Bodyguard as mini-prick Melvin Moody, Dillon wants to make one thing clear.

“Listen, man,” he explains. “Those are characters. I’m no tough guy. I’m not a violent person.” He concedes, though, that he scrapped with a backpacker after City of Ghosts wrapped in 2001. Dillon says he’d gone to Bali to decompress at a friend’s place, but it hadn’t worked. “I kept thinking, ‘All I want to do is be back in the gutter in Cambodia shooting scenes,’” he says. “It was a high in a way, and coming down, trying to be fulfilled in Bali, watching all of these Europeans with their beautiful homes, wasn’t working for me. So I went to Bangkok, and then I went to Laos.”