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Multitalented Dermot Mulroney helps bring Apple’s origin story to light in the new film Jobs

For Dermot Mulroney, there’s always room for cello. Even as he gears up for a robust 2013 on-screen schedule — starring opposite Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs, appearing in the twisted thriller Stoker and continuing his work on HBO’s Enlightened with Laura Dern — he stays close to the melancholy strings he’s played since the age of 7, contributing to the soundtracks of films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. American Way spoke with the 49-year-old actor — who’ll play Mike Markkula, an early supporter of Steve Jobs, in next month’s eponymous film — about his hair, his music and his luck.

American Way: We’ve seen some promo photographs from Jobs, and it looks like you got the short end of the stick, hairwise.
Dermot Mulroney: [Laughs] Wigs were flying on that movie, man. But I’ll tell you this: I didn’t wear a single wig. That’s all me, man. We shot the movie chronologically, so I started with my hair dyed and grown out kind of long for the ’70s stuff, and by the time we were shooting the more recent stuff, it was my natural hair, gray and all. No special effects on me. It’s old school. My hairdresser will swear it’s the truth.

AW: Mike Markkula, your Jobs character, is an interesting guy.
DM: From my point of view, as under-the-radar as he is, he owns Steve Jobs, and he owned him from the beginning. He bought him outright with a $9,000 check in that garage in 1977, and he owned him every day after that. Now, Ashton sees it all a little differently. [Laughs.] But I had to play it like I was the big dog and nobody knew it.

AW: Have you had much time to play your music lately?
DM: Get this: I texted my friend Michael Giacchino, an Academy Award–winning composer, and asked him when they were recording the music for the next Star Trek movie. He called back and said, “What are you doing tomorrow?” So later today, I’m going to warm up on the old cello a little bit, drive over to the Sony soundstage, sit with 100 other musicians and play on the original Michael Giacchino score for Star Trek 2.

AW: In interviews, you often talk about luck and being lucky. Is there more to it than that?
DM: Maybe it’s an Irish thing. I don’t know. But what people forget about luck is there are two kinds of luck. Even if you’re depending on luck, you have to manage which way it’s trending. I think I’ve gotten a lot better at that. I’m definitely a very lucky guy.