The Leftovers alum Justin Theroux is featured in the July/August 2018 issue of Men’s Health.
Justin Theroux seems to have figured out how to engineer his life so that he enjoys it more often than he doesn’t. So work is rewarding more than it is soul-crushing. Remember, the guy’s 46—he’s been around a few blocks.
Let’s start with range. It’s his professional hallmark. Actor, writer, producer. He played a douchey director for David Lynch in Mulholland Drive, a psycho with a six-pack in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and Evil DJ in the Zoolander films. (He wrote the second one.) He also joined the screenwriter ranks with Tropic Thunder, Iron Man 2, and Rock of Ages. The “full retard” speech in Tropic is all his. More recently, he’s gone heavy, headlining HBO’s The Leftovers for three seasons and taking parts in The Girl on the Train and the underrated Netflix flick Mute. (The sick-o-meter goes to 11 in the latter role.)
In the early ’90s, after graduating from Bennington College with a drama and visual-arts degree, he became that stereotypical young N.Y.C. artist bouncing between acting jobs and painting murals in nightclubs, then expanding into bitsy film roles and, eventually, bigger gigs.
In those younger days, though, he felt the pain of things not going the way or at the pace he wanted. “When I was in my early 20s, I was impatient,” he says. “Always wanting things to happen the way I wanted them to happen. And that has gone away. Not completely—because there are definitely things I want to happen in the time I want them to happen. But I don’t lose sleep over things anymore the same way I used to.”
Aside from work, Theroux fills out his life with some genuine loves: motorcycles and dogs. If you ask him about his favorite bike, he rattles off a complete paragraph in one breath. He’s also partial to pit bulls—he is taking custody of a new rescue later in the week. “Dogs do drive you crazy,” he says. “It’s like having a toddler that’ll never speak, and toward the end of their life they get very sweet and tender and break your heart.”
In the meantime, may we all push ourselves to a point where we can say something like this: “There’s nothing I’m dying to do. Nothing gnawing at me.” Then Theroux laughs. “There are things I know I will do. I just don’t know what they are yet.”
Photography: Ben Watts / Styling: Sandra Nygaard / Hair: Peter Butler / Grooming: Erica Sauer