Rainn Wilson

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:25 pm    Post subject: Rainn Wilson Reply with quote

Rainn Wilson enjoys day out of 'The Office'
By Mallory Simon

Rainn Wilson had a good day. On Thursday morning, the actor learned that he had earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as Dwight Schrute, the toadying sidekick on NBC's "The Office." Thursday afternoon, he fulfilled what he characterized as "my fantasy come true" -- doing the weather on CNN.

Wilson was at CNN Center to promote his new film, "The Rocker," which will be released August 20. (Doing the weather apparently was a bonus.) In the film, he plays a former heavy metal drummer who joins his nephew's high school rock band.

CNN.com's Mallory Simon talked with Wilson about "The Office," the value of improvisation and what it's like being strapped to the roof of a van for a movie. The following is an edited version of that interview. Video Watch Wilson answer questions from iReport users »

CNN: First of all, let me congratulate you on receiving an Emmy nomination for your role as Dwight Schrute on "The Office." What was your reaction?
Rainn Wilson: Thank you. Just, "Woooohooooo."

CNN: Dwight's such an extremely popular character that the bobblehead doll of your character is in cubicles all over the country. What do you think of the bobble craze?
Wilson: I think outrageous. It's the best-selling thing in the history of the NBC Universal store, and I have no idea why anyone would want to get my big weird bobbling head on a doll.

CNN: How much of what you do is improv? Video Watch Wilson do the weather on CNN »
Wilson: Well, we have the best of both worlds on "The Office." Because we have brilliant scripts, we usually don't need to do that much improv. Usually, when they ask actors to do improv it's because the scripts suck and they want to make it better. ...

I'd say what ends up in the final edit is about 75 percent scripted, so if we improv stuff it'll be like little stuff thrown in. It's very hard, because improvisation adds time and doesn't move a story forward -- it's always a side tangent. And when you are doing a show that has to be 21 minutes and 45 seconds long, you have to stay on story, and sticking to the script is the best way to stay on story.

CNN: "The Rocker" [is] your first time as a lead in a movie. What has the transition from TV to film and now being a lead in a film been like for you?
Wilson: I've been doing films for a long time, since before "The Office." I've done "Sahara" and "Baadasssss," but doing a lead role was quite challenging because I'm usually in reaction to the lead character and part of the ensemble. Being the guy who drives the story forward and kind of is the center of the action -- my character's needs and wants have to be the motor of the story -- that took some getting used to.

CNN: In the movie, you play a failed drummer nicknamed "Fish" who gets another shot at fame. What about "Fish" drew you to play the role?
Wilson: Well, there's so much. I love rock 'n' roll movies, I love physical comedy but above all, the fact that there was a lot of heart and great, real characterizations, and it really was a story with a character with an arc. That really sealed the deal for me. The fact that it has all those things together makes it the awesomest movie ever made.

CNN: It's also got a lot of nudity. After your skin-showing appearance on the MTV Movie Awards and now in the movie, I have to ask, do you enjoy being filmed nude?
Wilson: I do, I do, very much. I couldn't get my porn career going and so I have to settle for international superstardom on television and film.

CNN: There's a scene in the movie where you are strapped to the car. What was filming that like?
Wilson: It was an outrageous stunt where I really was strapped to the roof of a van that was speeding around the downtown streets of Toronto. ... It was pretty cool. I mean I really felt like a stuntman in a big movie, flying down the road. It was a hoot, but I did get nauseous after a little while.

CNN: So how much musical experience did you have before filming this movie?
Wilson: I've played a lot of musical instruments. I've played the guitar and I played the bassoon in high school, but this was the first time I've played the drums. I had about two or three weeks of intensive heavy metal drum lessons. ...

I [also] spent a lot of time on YouTube revisiting the '80s, which is awesome, just going back and looking at all those music videos from Whitesnake and Ratt and Twisted Sister.
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Joined: 25 Apr 2006

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q & A with Seattle's Rainn Wilson
Charles N. Wainger
5th November 2009

I got to talk with local comedian and actor Rainn Wilson, best known for his character Dwight Schrute on "The Office," about his visit to Seattle on Friday. Here's what he had to say:

Q: How long are you going to be in Seattle?
A: I'm flying in early tomorrow (Friday) and only staying for two days, unfortunately. I wish I could stay longer… I just have stuff to tend to.

Q: Do you come to Seattle often?
A: My wife and I have a cabin in the mountains outside of Bend, so we go to central Oregon a lot … I go there more than Seattle these days. I come up to Seattle to visit my mom … and I still read the Seattle sports scene.

Q: Are you going to go to any old stomping grounds when you're here?
A: My mom sells jewelry down at the Pike Place Market ... I might go down and say "Hi" to some folks.

Q: How was your trip to Haiti with the Mona Foundation?
A: It was amazing, absolutely amazing. We toured around many of their projects down there … It really helped me see how the Mona Foundation works down on the ground … 'cause what is crucial about the foundation is it is community building … it helps root the community with a board of locals.

Q: How did you get involved with the foundation?
A: The founder of the foundation, Mona Mahmoudnezhad, lives in Kirkland and she knew my dad when I lived back in Seattle … I really didn't remember her … but they knew each other … so they approached me to help do some benefit work … and the more I unearthed about them the more I fell in love with the work that they do.

Q: You are speaking with UW while you are in town, have you prepared your speech yet?
A: Oh ... well no … I haven't prepared my talk yet … I've got about two hours on the plane tomorrow to plan on what to say. I think I am going to talk about Haiti, the Mona Foundation and my Web site, SoulPancake.

Q: Can you explain SoulPancake?
A: I am going to put this all in a broader context, which is kinda the reason why I started SoulPancake ... it is about the spiritual, philosophical and artistic journey we take through our lives. It's a community of people having conversations in a civil manner -- most of the time. The great thing is we have born-again Christians, atheists, Baha'i, accountants, Muslims, agnostics, artists, housewives, and they are all having civil discourse about life's big questions.

Q: Is it living up to your dreams?
A: Definitely. There is a big re-launch that we are going to be doing in December and it is going to be the new and improved SoulPancake. It is going to be much more fast-paced and interactive, and have a lot more interesting ways of interacting with the site. It's fantastic.

Q: You recently played bongos with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. How long did it take to get your part done?
A: I think we did three takes of the song, and I think the second take I really nailed the solo. I did a little drumming when I did the movie "The Rocker" and I've always played different instruments … it was really fun to jump in on that.

Q: Many of the members of "The Office" play music; do you guys ever jam?
A: We do. During the wedding episode we were all sitting out in the courtyard of the church at Jim and Pam's wedding and we just jammed. You know … we had a couple of guitars and Ed (Helm) was on banjo and me and Creed played and people sang … it was like being at a giant campfire.

Q: What are some of the bands that you are listening to?
A: I like a lot of the Portland bands like Blind Pilot and Blitzen Trapper … they're fantastic ... and I love Modest Mouse.

Q: Have you been busy with any projects?
A: We are in pre-production for this movie I plan to be shooting in December called "Super" with Ellen Page and Liv Tyler. I'm very excited. It took a long time to get it green-lit and moving forward. It's still not 100 percent happening. It's an independent film, low-budget, and it's looking pretty good.

Q: What is it about?
A: It's about a wannabe superhero who has no super powers ... he just has visions of being a superhero and fighting crime.

Q: Do you feel sometimes you are a superhero without superpowers?
A: That's how I am. That pretty much sums me up. I'm Dwight Schrute, SoulPancake, and a superhero with no super powers.

Q: What is "Bonzai Shadow Hands"?
A: That is a script I wrote for Jason Whiteman called "Bonzai Shadow Hands" about an alcoholic ninja. Hopefully we'll get to shoot that one of these days.

Q: Did you still enjoy playing Dwight Schrute?
A: Absolutely. It is the greatest television job anyone could ask for. We're 115 episodes in and I am still doing really fun, new, fresh and interesting stuff.
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