Welcome to Catching Feelings, a new series where we ask our favorite male celebrities to get all sensitive with us and open up about what makes their hearts do backflips. And it just so happens that Martin Starr, the man who made my heart do backflips in Freaks and Geeks (see the most beautiful scene that’s ever graced a TV set here), was game to play along.
Starr is known for killing it in comedies (Party Down, anyone?) but in his latest film, Amira and Sam, out today, he takes an artfully dramatic turn—as an army veteran charged with looking after a young Iraqi immigrant who’s in trouble with the law. They fall for each other in the sweetest, most intimate way and end up having each other’s back when things get heavy. The film reveals that romantic side to Starr, which I always knew was in him, and it made me want to ask him a whole bunch of questions about his feelings. So I did.
Hello Giggles: Prepare for some emo questions, Martin.
Martin Starr : I’m game.
HG: For starters, what do you consider a romantic gesture?
MS: That’s a really easy question for me to answer but it’s going to sound a little messed up. Uh. So i don’t know if I should walk down this path with you or not.
My father recently passed of ALS and because his body was basically failing him, one of the last things he did — the most grand romantic gesture that he was able to do — was going to a drive-through Starbucks and buying his wife two cups of coffee. He was so weak that he couldn’t hold both cups at the same time. And that was a small thing in the timeline of a human being but to me that was a grand romantic gesture.
HG: That’s really, really beautiful. I don’t know what to say. So here’s another question: What makes you earnestly happy?
MS: My friends. I have such genuine and wonderful relationships with people in my life. Both new and old friends. Right now I’m working on a show called Silicon Valley. I’m so honored to be a part of it and I feel so fortunate to be in the presence of such an earnest group of people that I now have the privilege of calling my friends. I can say I love every one of them. So it’s really the people that I spend my time with that bring me the most joy.
HG: Is there anything that makes you irrationally angry?
MS: Technology. When things don’t work the way they’re supposed to. I’ve broken my phone, I’ve thrown my phone on the ground out of anger, the same way I did when I was a child playing video games. Little has changed from those days. Technology still doesn’t function and still makes me angry.
HG: What gets you misty-eyed: Is there a movie, a song, a video that just gets you in the heart?
MS: Sure many do that to me. There’s so much sh– that’s great on the Internet these days — those misty-eyed moments are a dime a dozen.
HG: Is there an era from the past that you yearn for?
MS: I would have loved to have witnessed the music of the ’70s in person. It was a good era. My favorite band is Zeppelin so if I could have heard them live that would have been an amazing achievement. But it doesn’t stop there. There is so much good music from back then. It’s most of what I listen to today. It’s weird that they call it classic rock when I feel like that was just, like, the last good era of rock.
HG: What hurts your feelings?
MS: Insensitivity. Although I probably commit a lot of it myself on occasion. But I try to be as aware as I can be. I think when people are insensitive and intentionally rude those are things that get to me.
HG: And how do you handle those emotions?
MS: It depends. I’ve never had to accost anybody so I don’t really know if I needed to how I would react in those circumstances, but certainly I’d verbalize it if needed. I think safety is the first thing that comes to mind so it depends on who’s around me and who’s being affected by what’s happening and if it’s appropriate to engage in open communication that hopefully isn’t as irrational and rude.
HG: Can you describe what it feels like to fall in love?
MS: No. That’s not possible. It’s so individual. Even the times I’ve felt love for friends and family or falling in love romantically, they’re all so beautifully different every time it happens.
HG: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
MS: I used to stay up a lot late at night with my best friend growing up, James. We’d have sleepovers and my dad didn’t know, but we would sneak out at 10 or 11, while he was in bed, and go stock up on candy and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at 7-11 and then we’d come back and eat everything in a little makeshift tent that we built. Those were fun times.
HG: Aw, that’s pretty awesome, Martin. Thanks so much for feeling all your feelings with me.
MS: Thank you for talking to me. Do we have to end this by saying goodbye, Giggles?
HG: Yes we have to. That’s a good new rule.
MS: OK then, Goodbye, Giggles.
(Image via Victoria Will/Invision/AP)