James Woods built his movie career on tough-guy roles (The Onion Field,

Once Upon a Time in America) but the actor says he's probably not the guy you think he is.

"I'm really much more of a... delicate person than a strong person in a lot of ways," confesses the veteran actor on an upcoming episode of Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio (April 30, 8 pm ET/9 pm PT). "I'm finally not as tough as those characters, to say the least.

"I probably couldn't have admitted this a few years ago, but I think a lot of the brash, ambitious kind of arrogance of some of the early characters I played came out of a superficial, but nonetheless essential, part of who I was at the time," he tells host James Lipton. "I probably wasn't as confident a person as I am now. I think one of the ways I hid a lot of my fears or insecurities or lack of confidence was by being almost counterphobic in my responses."

The 52-year-old actor has come a long way since his early days as a less confident, struggling actor in New York City. "There were the potato salad days," he says. "I would literally buy potato salad by the gallon because that was all I could afford."

Woods says his future plans include movie directing, although he has not yet found the right project. He's also writing and producing a script, The Second Coming, about a Bill Gates-type billionaire who extracts DNA from the Shroud of Turin and implants it in a woman's womb. If you say so, James.