"I think people are really cautious about important movies," said Pace, who stars in "The Fall," opening Friday. "If you're told, `There's an important movie coming out,' people would rather chew glass than go see it."
Tall, dark, with piercing eyes and brows so thick they just may be able to shelter a small family in a blizzard - Pace looks like he should be in the movies. So, of course, he is best known as a TV star, in a show he also believes has suffered from too-precious reviews.
"I had the same thing on my show, `Pushing Daisies.' There's this kind of `very special TV show' that people should go see," he told AP Television late last month. "And there is kind of a backlash to it. People are not interested in seeing something that they're told is good."
"The Fall," from director Tarsem Singh ("The Cell"), the lavish epic - and intimate character piece - about a paralyzed silent-film-era stuntman who befriends a young girl in the hospital, seems to have split critics into love-it or hate-it camps.
Not unusual for the Oklahoma-born, Texas-raised and Juilliard-educated Pace, who was working primarily in New York theater when he landed the role of a transgendered nightclub performer in the 2003 Showtime drama "Soldier's Girl," a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
A stint on the widely praised but short-lived series "Wonderfalls" ultimately led him to the producers of "Pushing Daisies" - about a man whose touch can bring the dead back to life. The eye-filling dramedy earned strong critical notices when it debuted last fall, and earned Pace another Globe nomination. But it's struggled to find a large viewership.
If Pace could bring someone back to life, who would it be?
"I hate this question," he said, squirming, then breaking out into a big laugh. "I'm so bad at this question. I can't think of anything funny enough, and I can't think of anything kind of poignant enough. Anna's ("Daisies" co-star Anna Friel) good. She'd say Ghandi or something. But I'd say my grandmother."