The Hebrew Hammer Can’t Stand Paris

In 2003 he made another of his own films, co-writing and directing the indie feature I Love Your Work, about a meltdown of a movie star (played by Giovanni Ribisi) done in by the strain of bright lights and nonstop attention. “It took some very superficial experiences that I had and blew them out of proportion,” Mr. Goldberg said, who added, “I’m not that famous. I think if I was really famous it would be really, really difficult for me.” A couple of nights earlier, he said, a large and drunk Irishman approached him in a bar to say “‘Saving Private Ryan is fucking shite.’”

“I normally have a pretty short fuse but he really, really outsized me by quite a lot, so I just gave him a thumbs up,” said Mr. Goldberg. “And then he said, ‘I was paid 20 bucks to do that. You’re magic,’ and then he walked away. That sort of thing makes me incredibly uncomfortable and it’s frightening on that level. But for the most part it’s just dealing with some stares and friendly people who want to tell you that they like what you do. Which, I think, anyone would be crazy to deny is one of the reasons that people get into the entertainment industry—to have some part of themselves sort of nourished by the accolades of other people.”

As of now he has no immediate plans for another foray into writing and directing. “I don’t do it for the sake of doing it,” he said. “It really has to resonate for me—you devote such an enormous amount of time and energy to it.” He said he was currently weighing the pros and cons of attempting to direct someone else’s work. “It’s appealing on the level that it would be nice to exercise the directing muscle without it being quite so personal, which my other films have been. When I write, I’m already directing it [in my head] so by the time the script is done, in a sense it’s already directed.”

Mr. Goldberg currently lives a rather low-key existence in Los Angeles (though he’s been linked for many years with the talented and gamine actress Christina Ricci, he firmly refuses to discuss her). “Los Angeles is my home, ultimately. The traffic is incredibly infuriating but other than that you can live a fairly placid and reclusive existence. It’s sort of by design—you’re in your car, or your house—and you’re sort of isolated. I guess there’s a certain amount of desire for that on my part.”

“It’s funny,” he continued, “because when I first moved out of my mother’s house I kept trying to find these kind of New York-type apartments. I tried to create this faux New York existence in L.A.” After living here between 2000 and 2002, he said, he realized he truly was an Angeleno. “I’m glad I lived in New York and got to experience it. But I feel like there is sort of too much New York in me already. It’s almost redundant for me to actually live here.”

The Hebrew Hammer Can’t Stand Paris