Paul Dano on being shaved by Brian Cox playing a paedophile: “How did we do that?”

"When you’re young, you’re like, sure, whatever. Now it would weigh on me more, frankly"

Paul Dano has opened up about one of the most unnerving roles of his early career.

In the 2001 drama L.I.E., Dano starred as a neglected teenager being groomed by a paedophile, played by Succession‘s Brian Cox.

In one of the film’s most disturbing scenes, Cox’s character tenderly shaves Dano’s face with a cutthroat razor. It’s a sequence that didn’t weigh too heavily on Dano at the time (he was 17 years old), but now has a much greater impact on him.


In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian, the actor said he couldn’t believe they got away with the scene, admitting that he now views it in a completely different light.

“My first thought now is: how did we do that?” Dano said. “When you’re young, you’re like, sure, whatever. Now it would weigh on me more, frankly. It was a good experience, though. I love Brian, and he was lovely to me.”

Paul Dano
Paul Dano. CREDIT: Matt Easton

Elsewhere in the interview, Dano discussed his new film Dumb Money, an adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s non-fiction book The Antisocial Network, which dramatises the true story of how YouTuber Keith Gill became rich after capitalising on a stock movement for the video game retailer GameStop.

On preparing to play Gill, Dano said: “I became totally smitten with him. He’s such a buoyant spirit. I could see there was something so beautiful in him. It’s all about: here I am, I’m wearing a headband and a cat shirt because I think it’s cool.”

In reference to dressing like Gill, Dano added: “It makes you feel younger. As an actor, you’re always looking for anything to grab on to. What’s behind that door? What’s under that rock? Anything that’ll help.”


However, he drew the line at trying to contact Gill. “He was subpoenaed by Congress and has really been off the grid since then. It didn’t feel right to drive to Massachusetts and stand outside whichever house I thought was his.”

Dumb Money arrives in cinemas on September 22.

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