The Tree Of Life shows boys’ fascination with guns, and you played a celebrated cowboy in The Assassination Of Jesse James. Did you play war or cowboys and indians as a child?
"I liked being outside, in the elements. I am not big on guns. I really don’t care much about them. I guess it was a rite of passage for a father to give a gun to his son, and I got my BB gun when I was in kindergarten.
"I got a shotgun when I was in first grade. I shot a .22 by second grade. My father always stressed the respect for the thing that’s in your hands and it was actually good training because I got through guns early and I haven’t really cared about them since."
So what exactly was the appeal of playing Jesse James for you?
"I think it has something to do with being above the law, being able to make your own rules, not being stifled. We live in a society of laws and we have to operate within them, and there is in the back [of our heads] a tendency to strike out."
If Jesse James wasn’t an idol for you growing up, who was?
"When I was little I liked Elton John. And I liked Evil Knievel. I was a huge Evil Knievel fan! And Muhammad Ali. Ali I got to meet a few years ago and it was still an honour for me."