Tobey Maguire admits he’ll sign other actors’ names when he’s mistaken for them

Tobey Maguire has a new interview in Parade, and he just seems like such a serious, grown up guy. He touches on a lot of issues that parents are familiar with, like balancing home and family life, trying to prioritize your time, and just being present for your children. The part that made me laugh is where he admits that he often gets mistaken for other actors, like Jake Gyllenhaal and Elijah Wood, and that he’ll just say “thank you” and sign the other person’s name. Maguire also mused about the responsibilities that come with fame and the fact that he doesn’t want to be a celebrity. Maybe that’s why he’s often mistaken for other actors – he’s been in some blockbusters but he’s in no way overexposed or even covered much in the celebrity press.

Re-editing his own life.
“It’s just all a time issue. Recently, I’ve been putting my life down on paper, listing what I spend my time doing because I’m trying to edit some things out in order to make more time for the things that are important to me. It’s kind of a process of self-reflection on how I’m living and spending time with my wife and children, which is a number one priority. But, I love my work as well, so that’s very important too.”

Searching for quality time.
“A lot of times I’ll work out of home. But, it can get in the way of being a dad. The kids pop in and I’m in the middle of things so I stop, but I’m not as present as I want to be. Now, I’m thinking I’ve got to put everything away, the computers, phones, BlackBerrys, people bothering you about whatever, and just be like, ‘OK, I’m just a daddy right now. I’m going to eat breakfast with my children, I’m going to play with blocks or toys whatever and just totally be with them.’”

Analyzing his success.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be a pretty successful person, but I’ve realized that it doesn’t bring fulfillment. Success, of course, has a lot of fun stuff about it, but ultimately, if you’re the kind of person who lives in desire and constantly wants more, you’ll never be satisfied. So I’ve had a certain amount of success and I’m reaching for more and I have ambition, but I go, ‘Wait a second, this doesn’t make me happy, this isn’t really what fulfillment is.’”

Keeping his celebrity in perspective.
“I think I have about the right idea of how cool I am. I’m not trying to be a celebrity. Some people who get famous make bad choices — it depends on what you want out of life and who you want to be as a person. I like feeling good about myself as a human being, so if I make a choice that doesn’t support that, I stop pretty quickly. It’s really self-correcting.”

Getting older, but maybe not wiser.
“I’m always amazed at how, like when I was a kid, I definitely thought I was fairly intelligent about things and then you get a few years out and you look back and I’m always amazed at how little I knew. You go, ‘Wow, I had no clue.’ Now, it’s finally caught up to me, the point where I realize I just don’t know much at all, period.”

He was not in Brokeback Mountain.
“I’ve been mistaken for so many different actors, it’s just wild. I’ve gotten Jake Gyllenhaal a few times like, ‘Loved you in Brokeback Mountain.’ I’ve had that. I can’t remember all of them, but Wes Bentley, tons of times, and Elijah Wood. When people ask me for my autograph and say, ‘Oh, you were so great in such and such,’ which I wasn’t in, then I usually just sign the other actor’s name and say, ‘Thank you very much.’”

[From Parade]

Tobey can be a real sourpuss with fans and with paparazzi, but he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. I did a quick review of our archives on him as I remembered that he had a rough childhood but I couldn’t recall the details. I found this older interview with Parade he did in 2007 in which he talked about the fact that his parents split when he was three and that he was shuffled around to different family members. He said “I realized at a young age that I was responsible for myself… I had plenty of difficult, emotional and scary times as a kid, but I don’t dwell on it.” Tobey went on to explain that his difficult upbring influenced his decision to do well in life “Growing up the way I did, I had a very serious ambition to make some money, to have some security and comfort in my life.”

Tobey is promoting Brothers, out tomorrow in the US and also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. There were some stories of minor diva antics on set between Jake and Tobey, particularly the two insisting on having their own personal makeup artists while the studio wanted to save money by having them share. I bet they got along fine.

Spiderman 4 is coming out in 2011, and may have been slightly delayed by Maguire’s insistence on having nights and mornings off to play with his kids. He has daughter Ruby Sweetheart, 3, and son Otis Tobias, 7 months, with wife Jennifer Meyer.

Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Meyer are shown at the Brothers NY premiere on 11/22/09 and out with their kids on 11/8/09. Credit:

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9 Responses to “Tobey Maguire admits he’ll sign other actors’ names when he’s mistaken for them”

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  1. Jess says:

    Just one more reason for me to love him. A sense of humor and a man who puts his family first.

  2. snowball says:

    Ha, I was just thinking he looks a whole lot like Elijah Woods, in the right light with a longer haircut.

    And more pics of cute kids!

  3. Huma says:

    That signing the name thing is so cute.

  4. lucy2 says:

    He seems pretty grounded now, happy with his wife and children, and that’s good. Considering he was in some HUGE movies like Spiderman, he does seem surprisingly low-key in terms of fame.

  5. danielle says:

    I think that’s an adorable story, especially since I’m sure too many famous people would go bat**** crazy at being mistaken for someone else.

  6. hannah says:

    Whats funny, is i seriously mix up jake and toby all the time. even though they are both good actors, i just can’t seem to seperate them in my mind.

  7. nikki says:

    @hannah:agree LOL

  8. Prissa says:

    He’s another I hope never has a skanky scandal in his future. I loved him in Pleasantville (and Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen and Reese). Very nice movie choices he makes.

  9. kimberly says:

    that last question made me smile