Actor Paul Giamatti is coming to Omaha this weekend for Feature VIII, a benefit for Film Streams.

It’s the latest in the series of fundraisers that started in 2008, usually featuring a film actor being interviewed by director Alexander Payne, who’s from Omaha. Payne directed Giamatti in “Sideways,” a 2004 comedy about wine, and he’ll be the interviewer again this year. The event is at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Holland Center.

Giamatti’s body of work is broad and diverse, including roles in “Saving Mr. Banks,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Private Parts,” “Too Big to Fail,” “The Cradle Will Rock,” television’s “Downton Abbey” and, currently, Showtime’s “Billions,” among more than 100 parts in film and TV.

“I have the mentality of a supporting actor,” he once said.

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Some random Giamatti trivia:

  • He’s 52 years old.
  • He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in drama, both from Yale. While a Yalie, he was elected to the Skull and Bones secret society, founded in 1832. Other famous members include President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, actor Sonny Tufts and William F. Buckley. The organization quit releasing official rosters in 1982.
  • He’s been married to producer and director Elizabeth Giamatti for 21 years, and they have one child.
  • His dad, Bart Giamatti, was the Major League Baseball commissioner for five months, from April 1 to Sept. 1, 1989, when he died of a heart attack. Dad’s tenure as MLB leader was brief but eventful, earning him a permanent place in history: He was commissioner when Pete Rose was banned from the game. Dad also was the youngest-ever president of Yale.
  • Paul once told The Believer magazine that he had a fascination with home-plate umpires when he was a kid. It had something to do with their chest protectors and masks. They seemed “weirdly sinister,” he said.
  • He was No. 1 on the list of actors considered for the role of Michael Scott on NBC’s “The Office,” according to the New York Times. He declined the part, and it went to Steve Carell.
  • His myriad roles include two presidents: He won a Golden Globe Award for playing the title character in HBO’s “John Adams” miniseries, and was the voice of Teddy Roosevelt in “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” a film by Ken Burns.
  • Russell Crowe said working with Giamatti in “Cinderella Man” was one of his favorite showbiz experiences.
  • A role in “The Hawk is Dying” turned Paul into a raptor enthusiast.
  • He loves science fiction and the Boston Red Sox. (Not that those things are related.)
  • In “Sideways,” his character has extensive knowledge of wine and loves pinot noir. In real life, Paul isn’t a fan.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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