The bohemian actor — also in the hot fest title The Stanford Prison Experiment — stunned as Tilda Swinton's disturbed son in 2011's We Need to Talk About Kevin. He's making the leap to tentpole fare as the lead in Warner Bros./DC's The Flash, slated for 2018.

Most memorable moment: "The most unshakably memorable moment would be watching Johnny Simmons get hog-tied. There's just no way to fake a hog-tying and by the third time it had to happen, it really just felt abusive. He's a brave champion and did it with no complaint, but he looked so sad and it's hard to watch a friend in so much discomfort. It's interesting how our brains best retain horrible memories."

Most "pinch me" moment so far: "Zack Snyder told me on the phone that he wanted me to play the Flash while I was eating a tilapia in a small Central American village. That was definitely a moment that prompted me to question the fabric of my reality."

Worst audition: "I went in for some low-grade tweenish movie when I was first auditioning for film. The casting director insisted on throwing water in my face to emulate a beat in the scene. At first, I just thought it was unnecessary — usually in an audition all props and interactions are pantomimed, but by the third or fourth time I couldn't help but notice the almost violent force with which this maniacal character kept chucking this water at me. Then I started observing him as he was doing it, and there was this sadistic glint in his eye. We must have done that scene seven times; by the end of it I was wet and cold and feeling increasingly indignant. Then this villain told me that at the end of the second scene, I was supposed to dance with an imaginary partner — to a notable lack of music! So there I was, wet as a dog, dancing like a fool, feeling like a helpless victim at the hands of this horrible man. I walked out of that audition with a lot of compassion for the naive folks who routinely get trapped in the darker corners of this 'Hollywood' business."

Industry role model: "Probably people who are not principally considered actors. I mean, we all say Patti these days, right? I think to young artists, Patti Smith symbolizes the possibility that a performer who swims into the mainstream might both maintain their integrity and remain alive. So she's one. David Bowie is another. Did you know he once performed an exorcism on his swimming pool? I'd like to emulate that!"

Best/worst advice: "If an electric plug isn't fitting in an outlet, put a butter knife in the outlet to straighten it out a little."

When I'm not working, I'm: "Spending time with my family and my darling, Erin. Listening to audio books. Donkey Kong. That sort of stuff. Lots of protesting lately, but that's a kind of work in my mind. And painting. I've recently discovered a love of painting."