Breaking the Mold

Actor and producer Michael Douglas defies leading-man expectations with bold creative choices.

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So how does a man who travels as much as Douglas deal with humidor maintenance on a regular basis? "Basically I have cigars in Point A and cigars in Point B and one of the prerequisites for my personal assistants is to make sure that the humidity is correct in my humidors," the actor says. "That's certainly a high-quality problem to have in life: I'm not worried about the quality of the cigars I smoke, I'm just worried about how dry my cigar is. At the level that I'm living my life right now, it's fairly rare that I get passed a bad cigar. I may get a dry cigar, but never a bad cigar."

Douglas is aware of the toll that movie making can take on body, mind and spirit, and he is consciously looking for healthy avenues to regenerate and create balance in his life. "I think part of the reason that I am doing fewer pictures as I get older is that acting takes part of your soul. You give and give and give, and basically it's depleting your store of power and energy. You have to find ways to renourish and restore it. Whether it's learning more about cigars or wine or food or traveling or religion. Culture, nourishing your soul, your stomach, your mind and all the other things."

As the first stars of the evening begin shimmering on the horizon, Douglas takes the last puff of his cigar. "The hardest thing for me is to find the next picture that I want to do. I never know what my next picture is going to be. Most actors have got a slate. They have pictures lined up. Right now I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do next. I wish I was one of those people who could line up pictures, but I never really know what I want to do. And I'm pretty fortunate in that way, because it allows me to follow my instincts. I love to act. And my job is to give the audience something that they want. And I don't know what's going to come next and sometimes it makes me a little nervous and antsy, but that's really just part of the fun."

A frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado, Alysse Minkoff is a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, California.

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