'Uber Nerd' Rainn Wilson Talks 'Super' Film and Career: 'It Exceeds Every Dream I've Ever Had'
By Nicki Gostin Posted Mar 31st 2011 10:31PM
The wonderfully offbeat actor spoke to us, of course, about Steve Carell's last season on the NBC comedy, working with Ellen Page and whether he was a nerd growing up. (Answer: A decisive yes.)
You rock. Hard.
That's so sweet. I do. I rock hard.
Did you laugh out loud when you read the script for 'Super'?
I did. It's a funny story. I was on the set of 'The Office,' and Jenna Fischer who used to be married to James Gunn, the guy who wrote and directed it, said to me, "You know I was talking to James the other night, and I asked him how come he's never done 'Super' because it's my favorite script of his," and he was like, "Well I don't know who would play the lead," and Jenna was like, "What about Rainn for the lead?"
Wow. Pam looking out for Dwight!
Yeah, he sent me the script to the set, and I read it in my trailer and I just fell in love with it immediately. I laughed and I was moved and perplexed and taken aback, and it's pretty rare that a script can do that to you. I texted him immediately, even before I finished reading it, and said, "I'm in."
Did Jenna ask you for 10 percent?
She deserves it, that's for sure, but it's a low-budget movie. I don't really know if it amounts to much.
Were you into comics growing up?
Yeah, definitely, comics and superheroes, but then when I was about 10 or 11, I moved from that world and became a sci-fi geek. I read Asimov and all that stuff.
Did you go to conventions?
I was a total Trekkie, but I didn't go to Trekkie conventions. I went to sci-fi ones. I was a total loser. It was just a bunch of uber-nerds. It's like you rolled over a rock and all these really pimply, greasy nerds rolled out.
How many times have you seen 'Star Wars'?
You know, the regular, like 20.
That's not regular to me. I'm not into sci-fi, but I have to admit I've probably seen 'Pretty Woman' 20 times.
Seriously? 'Pretty Woman' is an abomination on the face of cinema. It's a total fantasy. She's a streetwalker.
I know, I know.
Girls see that movie, and it really warps their idea of what love is.
I know, but when it's on, my finger freezes on the remote.
And she's just so adorable!
Back to 'Super.' You got to work with the very cool Ellen Page.
Pretty great, and the second time I've worked with her. Ellen's a delight. We get along really well. She's half my age and half my size, but we just share the same sensibilities and the same sense of humor.
That's right! You were in 'Juno.' Took me a second...
That was really fun. There was a while there where pre-teens were like, "Are you the guy from 'Juno'?" They obviously hadn't seen 'The Office.' It was great to be a part of it. I just did it on a lark. Jason Reitman [director] is a friend. I flew up and did a day on it and got paid $700.
See a trailer for 'Super':
Question. Will 'The Office' jump the shark without Steve Carell?
Absolutely. We have a special jumping the shark episode. We're planning something really special with some shark jumping. There'll be an episode where Dwight takes everyone deep-sea fishing, and there's a shark and there's a limbo dance contest involving the shark, everyone jumps over it in their own way. It's going to be fantastic.
You've created a character that will go down in pop culture history.
I'm happy to be associated with 'The Office' and playing weird, creepy dudes. Honestly, I never set out to be famous or star on TV or anything like that. I just wanted to work and not wait tables anymore, so the fact I'm here and going into season eight of a beloved TV show and getting to do cool movies like 'Super,' it's just phenomenal. I wouldn't even say it's a dream come true because this was never my dream. It exceeds every dream I've ever had.
Were you a good waiter?
I was a really good at it. If this thing all falls apart I could go back to waiting tables, and I think any four-star restaurant would be happy to have me.
Were you handy with the giant pepper mill?
I was great with it. I actually stowed it away in my butt hole. No one ever really thought of that before.
Why do you get cast in creepy parts?
I think those are the characters I identify with, that I've always identified with. I play the outsiders, the rebels, the weirdos and the losers and the misfits. That's who I am, that's what I'm about. Those are the parts I like to play. I'm never going to play a popular, well-balanced guy.
You practice Baha'i. After Seals and Croft, you must be the most famous adherent.
That's very good. I'm amazed that you know that. Pretty much, yeah. Baha'i faith believes that there is only one God and that there is only one religion and that all the great faiths of God come from the same source. It's all about unity.
That sounds very peaceful. Do you have any words of advice for Charlie Sheen?
[Laughs] No comment.
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