I always took for granted that I would go to Yale. I had known that I wanted to act since I was about five years old, and I heard that Yale had a leading acting department. My grandfather actually commissioned the architecture/design building at Yale. During one summer, my dad helped build it, and I took a lot of my art classes in that building. It's kind of a monstrosity. I mean, it's ridiculed and almost reviled, made mostly of concrete. So, I always felt almost spooked when I was in that building, because my grandfather had helped envision it and my dad had helped build it, and there I was, using it.
Where would you send a first-time visitor to New Haven?
At Yale, outside of the library, there is an amazing memorial sculpture by Maya Lin, who did the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It's called the Women's Table, and it commemorates the women who have attended Yale. It's gorgeous. It's one of my favorite things in Yale. It's just a really beautiful piece of art and a great idea. The Payne Whitney Gymnasium is also really interesting. The story is allegedly that a family would only give money if it was going to be used to build a religious building, named after Payne Whitney [class of 1898], and so what they did is they had the gym made to look like a church. [The Yale Daily News, October 6, 1999: "The Whitney family matriarch intended the building to be a church. Incapacitated and senile, she grew unable to oversee the project herself and entrusted the project to her two young grandsons, with whom Yale struck a separate deal. While weight rooms and indoor pools were built inside, the facade of the Payne Whitney building was to remain Gothic and churchlike, so the boys could chauffeur their feeble grandmother by to review the progress being made on her 'church.' "]
What is there to do at night?
There is a really great club called Toad's, which is kind of an important venue because a lot of musicians would test their shows out in cities outside of New York as they prepared for the big city. So I think a lot of things have happened at Toad's. It looks like any other club - I mean, it's not so assuming-looking - but it's got a good history. There's also a bowling alley. We bowled a lot. There also is a bar called Bar. How would you describe Bar? It's kind of industrial in its design, and it has good pizza, too.
What are the cultural hot spots?
There are amazing museums. The British Museum is relatively new. It's got a staggering collection, and it's in a gorgeous building. Yale is mostly known for its art at the Yale Art Gallery. Louis Kahn designed it, and he's one of the best architects who ever lived, I think. So that's worth going to see for the building alone, but the art that it houses is also staggeringly great. It was just a privilege to just kind of pop in on my way back from class to my dorm room to look at the Van Gogh or the Picasso. You know what's really cool on the Yale campus? I love the old library stacks for really, really old works. It's called the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library. There are no windows, but you can see out. It's like a stone that is translucent - some amount of light comes through, but it can only let in so much or it will damage the books.
What about Connecticut stays with you?
It's not a small state. That's a really vague answer, but, I mean, my parents are New Englanders - my mom grew up in Massachusetts, and my dad lived in Connecticut - and that aesthetic, that culture and sensibility, I think informed my sense of the world pretty heavily.