As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Alex Robinson STILWELL, KANS.
Probably a baseball player. Then a boxer. I think it was always sports in general. I was not very comfortable in social settings. I was more comfortable on a ball field or in a gym than anywhere else.
Looking back, why do you think you were so self-destructive after your initial success? Rian Cooney, SAN FRANCISCO
Oh, there were a lot of reasons. None of them outstanding. I had a very naive outlook on what I thought acting was all about, and I wasn't really prepared to deal with the business end of it or the politics. And I think that sort of short-circuited me.
Do you feel like the same person you were 25 years ago? Amir Khan, ATLANTA
God, no. Absolutely not. I don't walk the same, talk the same, look the same, sound the same, hear the same, react the same, especially. Before, with me there were no rules. I didn't really care about repercussions. Those added up and bit me in the ass.
I always loved your '80s stuff--Barfly, Angel Heart and the like. Even though those movies are still panned by critics, what do you think of your '80s work? Andrew Fedeli GREENBRAE, CALIF.
I had a good time when I was working with good directors. When I was working with Adrian Lyne on 9 1/2 Weeks, I was fine with that. I was fine with Francis Ford Coppola when we did Rumble Fish. It would fall apart with me if I did material for a payday. When you got bills to pay, you've gotta take a part that I would call a piece of crap. Then you just don't like yourself. That was when I really started to self-destruct. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man--that started it.
Do you ever regret leaving acting to pursue boxing? Quan Pham, MELBOURNE
There are days when I do and days when I don't. Looking back, I probably should not have done it. But it was something I did to save myself from myself, and at least I found direction in something honorable. It could've been worse if I didn't have that outlet.
Does it bemuse you that your performance in The Wrestler should get so much attention? Lindsay Coleman, MELBOURNE
I think it was not just my performance. It wouldn't have been the same movie without Darren Aronofsky and the team of people that he surrounded me with--my wrestling trainer and Doug Crosby, a great stunt coordinator. Evan Rachel Wood was just so focused. When you're working with somebody as talented as she is, you can take each other to another level.
Where'd you get such great style? Zach Kienitz, BOZEMAN, MONT.
I grew up in Miami. [Laughs.] Probably my grandmother. I lost her about four months ago. She was 99. But you know, she was pretty sharp.
How hard was it to train and get in shape for The Wrestler? John Luma WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF.
It was murder. I walk around at about 192 lb., and I had to get up to 228 and put muscle on, not fat. I found this trainer, this Israeli ex-commando, and he made it real serious. He's like, "You gotta be here at this time. You've gotta eat seven meals a day. You have to run every day." I respected him, and he respected his job.
In your Golden Globes acceptance speech, you thanked your dogs. What kind do you have, and what are their names? Jill Fritz, MADISON, WIS.
I've got Chihuahuas, pugs and a Samoyed. There's Loki, the Chihuahua, who had a brother, Chocolate--he passed away. And then there's La Negra. She's a pug. And Ruby Baby. Taco Bell, he's a Chihuahua. Jaws, who's a Chihuahua. He's named Jaws because when I rescued him, I went to give him a kiss and he gave me two stitches in the face. He's a character.
What is your advice to survive and come back in hard times? Jose G. Camil QUERETARO, MEXICO
Get a lot of sleep, a lot of exercise. Eat real good. Say your prayers. And be good to your dogs.