Stephen Dorff: ‘Who would play me in the film of my life? I’m not a big fan of young actors working today’

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Stephen Dorff, 47, started acting as child. His films include The Power Of One, Blade and Somewhere. He also co-starred in the third series of True Detective. His latest film, Embattled, is released on 5 July. He lives in Tennessee.

When were you happiest?
In the 90s. I am pretty happy now, but back then I didn’t have the heavier things that life brings as you get older.

What is your greatest fear?
Drowning; airplanes crashing.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
My biggest teacher and my supporter over the years has been Jack Nicholson. I worked with him, we became very good friends and, every time I hit a low moment, I go visit Jack.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Social media has turned people into complete idiots. I like smart, interesting people, and I’ll know immediately if I want to know you or walk away.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I was on a date with a girl when I was 16. I had a brand new BMW and I thought I was really cool, until I got into a big car accident driving over Laurel Canyon.

Aside from a property, what is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
When I was 24 or 25, I bought a Warhol canvas. It was a lot of money to throw down on a little painting, but I’ve always loved art.

What makes you unhappy?
Losing people. I lost my mom, I lost my brother – that makes me unhappy pretty much every day, but I try to do things that I know they would be proud of me for.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I would have taken a couple more inches – from 5ft 9in to 5ft 11in. Other than that, I am pretty happy. I feel lucky that I can still get the ladies if I turn on the charm.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
I would like to bring my brother back to life, because he was taken too early in an accident.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
I am not a big fan of young actors working today, so I would rather they didn’t make that movie about me.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Smoking is my most non-politically correct habit. People say, “You smoke cigarettes?” Yeah, I do, shut up.

What is your favourite smell?
My friend owns the Hôtel Costes in Paris and they make a candle that I spend a lot of money on. It’s a very manly smell.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
I used to let reviews bother me, but the truth is, most critics are failed actors or failed film-makers. If I get a good review from Jack Nicholson, that’s all I need.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My personal life is a bit of a train wreck. Maybe my first girlfriend when I was 17, Courtney Wagner – the daughter of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. Maybe I am like George Clooney, and I’ll have babies in my 50s.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My body of work and maybe the fact that I got famous young and I am still here and never ended up in a jail cell.