Wild Card with Rachel Martin: NPR

Chris Pine says he has 'fantastic nightmares'.

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Chris Pine says he has 'fantastic nightmares'.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty

A comment from Wild card host Rachel Martin: I recently spoke with It's been a minute host Brittany Luse. I asked her some of our Wild Card questions and one came up that was about what it means to live a good life. She said that a good life is one where you can be exactly who you are – a life where you don't have to pretend to appear in the world.

I keep thinking about that answer. I think we all do things that aren't authentic to us: to please our parents, to impress our friends, or to meet some societal standard of success. But as someone who recently made a big leap from that, I can tell you that it feels quite liberating. However, it can also be scary, because creating something new and personal means that if people don't like it, it's on you.

And this is where Chris Pine is in his life right now. By most accounts, he's done it. He has played Captain Kirk on a few occasions Star Trek movies. He was Wonder Woman's boyfriend and played the hero in the movie Dungeons and dragons movie. He could have just ridden that handsome hero thing into the sunset. But it turns out that Pine is much more than that (and honestly, he's much stranger than any of these roles let him be.)

His recent film, Poolman, is his way of appearing in the world in his real skin, so to speak. Pine co-wrote the film with his friend Ian Gotler, and Pine directs and stars in the film. This is his baby from start to finish. So when critics trashed the film, it was tough, as you'll hear in our conversation. But he doesn't grumble about it, because he made something he loved and that felt true to his creative mind. And you can see in the movie that he's just having the best time. That seems like the good life to me.

The trailer in front Poolman.

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This Wild Card interview has been edited for length and clarity. Host Rachel Martin asks guests randomly selected questions from a deck of cards. Tap play above to listen to the full podcast, or read an excerpt below.

Question 1: What was a recurring dream you had growing up?

Chris Pine: I grew up with this beautiful plane tree in my front yard. And I had a dream that this elf lived in some kind of underground hut that connected to the tree in my front yard and this little door next to my garage.

And I remember going in and having tea with the elf. It was probably caused by my mother. She told this fantastic recurring story about this family of mice that lived in the sycamore tree. So I think that's probably what got into my brain and seeped around and blossomed in that dream.

Rachel Martin: I like that, because it was mainly positive.

Pine: I don't have nightmares, thank God. I have anxiety dreams, I have fantastic anxiety dreams. But no, that was the moment growing up that I remember most.

Martin: Did you have anxiety dreams when you were young, or is that primarily an adult experience?

Pine: I'm sure I did. I was a very anxious child and quite an anxious young man and I still am, but I've struggled with that demon for so long that I think we're at a stalemate now, at least for the most part. But no, my more interesting anxiety dreams are now.

Question 2: What goal are you glad you gave up?

Pine: Perfection. My film was absolutely decimated when it premiered in Toronto, like obliterated. I haven't read any of them [the reviews]. Thank God. But I heard enough to know that people really didn't like it. What for me brings up one of my main triggers, or whatever, is not being liked, or that idea of ​​perfection, that I'm not creating something that's seen as [perfect].

So in many ways this journey so far has been so wonderful to remember: I had joy. I experienced joy. It still gives me joy. That is it. That's enough. There is no perfection. That is perfect. There is nothing more perfect than that.

Question 3: Is there anything in your life that felt meant to be?

Pine: Poolman felt destined. I call it a snowball. A snowball starts growing and at some point the snowball is so damn big that it just falls downhill. There's nothing you can do about the snowball falling down. You just get out of the way and let the snowball fall down the hill.

This is what acting felt like. That's what the writing, directing and acting felt like in this film. I can completely believe that idea that it is meant to be.

Martin: Hey. And that surrender – I mean, you had complete control over this film. You made this film, but in some ways it got to a point where it took on a life of its own, and then you just let it happen?

Pine: One of my defense mechanisms is cerebral, where I use words to block out the emotion. And so this process of making this film was a way for me to simply follow instincts, simply follow emotions. So this idea came out: this is what my brain and body wanted to do together. In that respect it was the most harmonious.

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