When I was offered the part of The Dude in "The Big Lebowski", I went through a big thing in my head worrying if this was going to be a bad example for my girls. The guy was kind of an anti-hero, a pot-smoking, slacker kind of guy, and I was really racking my brain about it. I always want to feel free to play any role, a despicable guy or a good guy -- the full range of human experience. But this one was really giving me problems. So I assembled the family and told them my problem. After a long pause, my middle girl said, "Dad, you're an actor. We know that it's all pretend what you do. We know that when you kiss some lady on the screen that you still love Mom. We know you're an actor". So I had their permission, their blessing, to go play a character like The Dude. That was great that they understood that. And I count on the audiences to understand that what I do in my personal life and what I do on the screen are not some kind of example for them to base their lives on. Hopefully, when people see a movie, they know it's a movie.
As far as the lack of hits goes, I think perhaps it's because I've played a lot of different roles and have not created a persona that the public can latch on to. I have played everything from psychopathic killers to romantic leading men, and in picking such diverse roles I have avoided typecasting.
Basically, one of the hardest things about being an actor is getting your first break. I'm a product of nepotism. The doors were open to me. I'd done several movies before I decided what I wanted to do. There was a certain amount of guilt and worry about whether I really had what it takes. I thought I'd spare my girls that.
I had years of partying, and I was kind of surprised and happy I survived it all. Now, being a parent, I look back on it thinking, Oh God, the things you did!