Q: Right. "Fake it till you make it," etc.
A: You know what? I know exactly what you're saying. It's interesting to read David Foster Wallace on it. Because he was a guy who was supremely intelligent—a different order of intelligence, at least in his writing. And he went into a 12-step program thinking "This is all bullshit," and he writes about it and says that he's kind of amazed that it works. He actually embraces the simplicity of it. But I don't know if we're gonna go there.
Q: Go there in Californication?
A: In the show, yeah.
Q: I didn't know if you meant with me.
A: I'll take you.
Q: I just finished reading David Carr's book The Night of the Gun—he's the New York Times media columnist who fought his way back from addiction to cocaine and booze. He says that those 12-step slogans saved his life. It seems like brainwashing, but I guess ultimately you've got to accept that it works.
A: Yeah. "It works if you work it." That's another slogan.
Q: There's a point in The Joneses where your character makes a toast "to secret lives." Considering what you went through in 2008—announcing you were going into rehab for sex addiction—do you feel any anxiety about delivering a line like that?
A: No, no. . .
Q: Because that whole episode is barnacled onto your bio right now.
A: I hate to think of it that way. But it's probably right. A barnacle. Maybe not forever—I would hope. No, I never have concerns like that. Probably because I never think of a character that I'm going to play as any reflection on who I am. It's just words on a page that I'm going to try to make human.
Q: Is it a burden, though—that part of your story?
A: I mean, maybe it's annoying, but it'll pass. The gifts that I've been able to receive in my own personal life greatly outweigh any kind of annoyance or dissatisfaction. Nietzsche has this term—it's Latin, but it might've been a Greek perspective. It's amor fati. Love of fate. The way I understand it is, there is no other response to fate. You can't change it. It happens. So, I mean, what's a better response for your own personal happiness—to hate it or to love it? What happens if you say, "I'm happy with everything as it played out, because I have to be"?
[Read More on Details.com: Whatever Happened to the Sexual Fantasy?]
Q: That's liberating.
A: It takes a while to get there. Because sometimes you want everything exactly the way you want it. I have pride. I don't know if it's arrogance, but I'd like to be seen as an artist. I don't want to be reduced to a headline. And I think whenever sex is involved—whenever the word sex is involved—people kind of lose their consciousness immediately. It's like the red flag to the bull. Whatever constructive or educational dialogue that might come out of it—I haven't found yet that the waters are calm enough to actually have that conversation. I hope as a culture that we do it. It's nothing to be ashamed of, or lose your head over, either.