Is Wilmer Valderrama the Screech of the 2000's?
By Jo Piazza Posted Jun 22nd 2011 04:48PM
But Wilmer himself shot those notions down when PopEater spoke to him on Tuesday afternoon, as he filled us in on exactly what he has been doing since Fez left our lives. While he may not have been marrying up or landing major studio flicks like some of his ''70s' compatriots, he certainly hasn't resorted to a life of sad, sad porn like Mr. Dustin Diamond. And in fact he has a small role in the upcoming Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts summer flick 'Larry Crowne' -- not too shabby.
A few years ago I contributed to a New York Daily News piece entitled, "What's Up With Wilmer Valderrama?" The question seems much more poignant today.
"The problem with doing a lot of behind the scenes work is your fans don't know exactly what you're doing because you're behind the scenes," Valderrama said while hosting an event in Herald Square in Manhattan for Stride, the ridiculously long lasting gum. "I launched a production company with scripted and non scripted development and I have been helping the company grow for the past couple of years. I have a number of projects in development with the Discovery networks and a couple of animated series for the Disney channel. I am telling you, it is an exciting time."
Does that mean he likes being an off-camera guy? Doesn't he miss the constant fan adoration and the chance to date starlets like Lindsay Lohan?
"I love [behind the scenes work] but once an actor always an actor. I took a nice break after eight years and 200 episodes. I did independent films over the past few years that have been festival darlings but that is stuff a lot of fans haven't heard about and this year I decided to return to the camera starting with 'Larry Crowne' and a couple episodes of 'Royal Pains' just for fun."
He also tells us that he's returning to television soon with a series called 'Awake,' which will begin shooting in the fall for NBC and is something unlike anything else on television and -- in his words -- groundbreaking and 'Twilight'-esque.
If you have reservations about whether Wilmer is a decent actor, then you're wrong, because multi-Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, star of 'Crowne,' apparently thinks he's awesome.
"I had my meeting with him and he tossed the script aside and said 'I know you're hilarious,'" Valderrama told us.
Sometimes it just takes time for a quirky character to die -- five years to be exact.
"I loved Fez and I loved 'That '70s Show.' It's the character that introduced me to America but yeah as an actor it took a little while for me to mature and strategically understand what my lane was and challenge myself," Wilmer said. "I think people won't necessarily see me as my character from [the show] anymore. This year people will see me do things they wouldn't expect me to do."
And unlike Dustin Diamond, none of those things include straight to DVD porn. That's what's up with Wilmer Valderrama.
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