Actor Paul Dano puts his 'Heart' into careful spending

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Paul Dano stars in The Good HeartYou think actor Paul Dano has it made? Paul Dano doesn't even think Paul Dano has it made.

"I certainly don't feel like there's another paycheck coming necessarily," he told WalletPop in a recent interview to promote his new movie, The Good Heart. "I've always been a fairly -- not frugal -- but conscientious of anything I've made. For a thing like recession, I've been good about protecting myself. I would like to try and avoid doing work that I find completely unsatisfying."

Dano, who impressed as the slick preacher and his twin in the oil drama There Will Be Blood and as the silent big brother in Little Miss Sunshine recently pocketed a few more paydays. He stars as a homeless man taken in by a bar owner (Brian Cox) dying of cardiac disease in The Good Heart, opening Friday in limited release, and as who-knows-what (Dano is only saying that he's involved in stunts) in the Tom Cruise popcorn adventure Knight and Day, opening June 25. While the latter might seem out of character for the indie-decorated Dano, he embraced the big-budget experience, calling Cruise one of the hardest-working performers he had ever met.

The extra money came in handy, too. Now 25, the actor confessed to more worldly concerns during our recent chat in a Manhattan hotel room.

"That's only going to matter more and more too," he said. "When I first started I had the attitude that 'Oh I'm going to go back to college. I don't need to worry about making bucks as long as I can pay rent.' "

Dano keeps his overhead lower and mood calmer by living in Brooklyn, New York. But his character Lucas in The Good Heart lets New York City get the best of him. He ends up living on the street and eating cat food before a suicide attempt lands him under the watch of a tavern owner who wants Lucas to take over the bar when he dies. It's as close to a financial plan as a suicidal pushover might get.

The real Dano's fiscal strategy includes caution. He's invested in that ever since his parents endorsed his goal of becoming an actor. "I appreciate their confidence in my doing something that really may not work out," he said. "You could not make a paycheck for a long time."

He also likes to keep revenue expectations for his films out of the equation. Said Dano: "If you do a movie just because you want it to be No. 1 at the box office, then if it's not No. 1, I feel like I would have a hard time with that."
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