BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti is nothing like the curmudgeonly characters he plays so often — unless he gets talking about the R train.
The "Famous Neighbor" says riding the subway is one of his favorite things — a pleasure the temporary demise of the line in his Brooklyn neighborhood is robbing him of.
The 46-year-old actor is promoting his new comedy co-starring Paul Rudd, “All Is Bright,” about two French-Canadian ex-criminals who come down to New York City to sell Christmas trees in the hopes of “going straight.”
Giamatti conceded that because of the film, he does want to buy a tree off the street this year, even though "the whole Christmas thing, I’m OK with not celebrating."
DNAinfo New York got a few minutes with Giamatti to talk about his neighborhood hangouts — and the plight of his train.
Do you get stopped a lot in your neighborhood?
Yeah, I mean frequently. It’s at a level that I’m comfortable enough with. I can always tell there must be things on TV because all of a sudden [there will be many] and then suddenly it’ll quiet down. But it happens plenty.
Where do you like hanging out in Brooklyn Heights?
See, I always feel bad about these things because I don’t know. And then I do worry about giving away a place. There are places in Brooklyn Heights. There’s a place called Teresa’s, which is this old-school Polish diner I go to all the time. I go over to Chinatown sometimes with my kid to a place called Dim Sum A-Go-Go.
There’s a good Vietnamese noodle place near me. Hanco’s. I like that place. Nothing fancy for me. Very simple.
How did you settle on Brooklyn Heights?
I think it was just something pretty mellow and different from where I had lived, which was in the Lower East Side. I lived on Bowery and Great Jones Street when it was just gas stations and empty lots. Tompkins Square was just terrifying so it was insane down there. I had had a kid at that point, so it was just somewhere more mellow for the kid.
And it’s where "Moonstruck" was shot.
It was? It’s a great neighborhood. I mean, it’s changed, the demographic, but there’s still that old-school ethnic thing going on underneath it.
What do you like the most about living in the city?
I like riding the subway.
You still do that?
Oh yeah. I love riding the subway. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. I don’t have to commute on it every day so I’m sure that’s why I still like it.
What’s your favorite line?
I used to be on the R. It was the most convenient line for me. It was right around the corner and now it’s shut down for like the next 12 years or something. It’s a big pain in the ass. That was the line that got me everywhere I needed to go. No more. I’m just screwed.
"All Is Bright" hits theaters Friday, Oct. 4. For more information, click here.