In an interview with PBS' Tavis Smiley last night, Reznor said he initially turned down director David Fincher's offer to score the film — he'd just gotten married and finished touring — but he also said a lack of confidence prevented him from accepting the offer right away.
"It took a long time in the '90s to get my act together," he said. "Jump ahead to this past decade and I got sober and I worked on myself and the act of creativity became something I looked forward to now instead of dreading."
He added: "At the time when fame presented itself to me, I was not at a point in my own life where I was equipped to deal with it. I had a built-in sense of not being good enough that I've carried with me from wherever it's come from, and an easy way to fit in was to self-medicate... Twenty years into making music, the soundtrack has been a breath of fresh air."
And while the Reznor who sat down with Smiley was, for the most part, worlds away from the guy who wrote "Hurt" nearly 20 years ago, his old self peeked out at the end of the interview.
"To be frank, seeing the accolades that are coming in for the film has been a great experience," he said. "So, there's nowhere to go but down from here!"
Watch: Trent Reznor chats with Tavis Smiley [Consequence of Sound]