Today: April 24, 2024

Actor Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson is best known for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute, the arrogant and misanthropic paper supply salesman on the US version of The Office. This week sees the theatrical release of his film Super, also starring Ellen Page and Liv Tyler. In an exclusive interview for FilmJuice, Rainn talks to Chris Patmore about the film.

Rainn Wilson is best known for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute, the arrogant and misanthropic paper supply salesman on the US version of The Office. This week sees the theatrical release of his film Super, also starring Ellen Page and Liv Tyler. In an exclusive interview for FilmJuice, Rainn talks to Chris Patmore about the film.

How did you get involved with Super in the first place?

It’s an amazing story. It’s all because of Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam in The Office. She used to be married to James Gunn, the writer-director, and they’re still good friends, and she said to him, “Whatever happened to that Super thing that you wrote, which is my favourite script that you wrote?” He said, “I don’t know who would play the lead.” So she said, “What about Rainn?” So he sent the script to me, because of her, and I started reading it and fell in love with it. I thought it was just an awesome script, and I loved the part. I’d known James for years, but it was out first time working together. That’s how it started.

Was it made by a whole lot of friends getting together, because that’s what it feels like?

Any time you do an independent film it’s a little like doing that. I knew Ellen Page from Juno, and I had her email address and I was like, “Let me send it to her”. She loved it; she met James. Then we attached Liv [Tyler], and then we attached Kevin [Bacon]. We went out and got financing, which was a real struggle because it was right when the recession was starting. Nobody had any money to invest in the film, and no independent films were doing very well, so it was tough going, but we begged, borrowed and stole the money and scraped the money together to do it, and that’s how we go it going.

It always seems strange to me that the studios won’t fund these low budget indie projects, when they’re happy to chuck billions at films like The Green Lantern that no one really likes when it comes out. And yet, everyone who sees Super absolutely loves it.

It’s a very strange phenomenon. It’s really weird. The studios only know how to do one thing really well and that is to have tent-pole movies, do Transformers 1, 2 and 3 and they know how to market that and do tie-ins with Burger King, cross-platform launches and four-quadrant movies, and all that stuff that they know how to do. A lot of them set up specialty indie houses, but they seem to struggle with that as well. You’d think there’d be room for all of it, especially at a studio, but I stopped figuring out how movie studios work a long time ago.

The one thing the studios are good at is marketing and I guess that if they looked at Super, they wouldn’t know how to market it.

Yeah, and it’s tricky, even for smart, indie film people. It’s part action film and it’s part comedy, and it’s part disgusting, gross-out movie, and it’s also really sweet and it’s got a good heart. It’s a tough one to put your finger on. James always said it was a lot like the Korean films that have been coming out lately, which are really hard genres to define. That’s a good analogy.

Super fits into the same group of films as Mystery Men, Defendor, Kick-Ass and Galaxy Quest, to a certain extent. Do you think these are coming out as an antidote to the big superhero movies that come out every summer?

When we were first going out with it, Watchmen had just come out and I was pretty disappointed in it and I tweeted about it and said, “We’re going out with a low-rent, fucked up version of Watchmen” and that’s what intrigued our producer, Ted Hope, to get on board and help out. It is, it’s an antidote, it’s getting back to the basics: what is a superhero story about? What would it be like if a guy really tried to become a superhero? What would happen? Other movies have explored this before; Hero at Large with John Ritter, back in the ’80s, which was one of the first ones that did it. They’ve been making these movies for a long time, but I think Super is the most fucked up, weirdest, most disturbing and the funniest of all of them, by really digging into the edgy, gritty aspect of that story.

James does come from Troma, so a dark and disturbing background seems inevitable.

Absolutely. In fact that background was really useful because he knew how to do things really cheaply, and we shot this film for less than three million dollars, which equals about £47. We shot it really fast, run and gun, which he knew how to do from his Troma experiences.

Do you consider yourself a comedy actor?

I just consider myself an actor. Before I did The Office, some of the stuff I did was comedy, but I did mostly character stuff. I was in theatre for ten years in New York – on Broadway, off-Broadway, and bus-and-truck tours before I came to LA and did any film and TV. I did Eugene O’Neill, and Shakespeare, and Moliere. I just used to view myself as an actor with a knack for doing comedy and playing weird characters, and that really worked out for me to do The Office, but I’ve never done stand-up and don’t consider myself a comedian.

A lot of people say that comedy is one of the hardest acting gigs to do. Would you agree?

Absolutely. Comedy requires a light touch, deftness, and timing is involved. It’s much more difficult than drama. If you go into a beginning actors’ class, there’s a lot of people doing tearful, dramatic scenes – crying and being very serious, but doing comedy effectively is much more difficult.

Super was the closing night film at SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival in May and went down a storm with the sold-out audience.

I think it’s going to do really well in England. It’s only getting a limited release but I think English cinemagoers are a bit smarter than Americans and a bit more willing to try things that are a little more out of the box. It’ll do pretty well over there. I can’t wait to see the reaction.

Finally, do you think “Shut up crime” is going to become a cult catchphrase?

I hope so. I think it should. Makes a lot of sense. Just go out with a bull horn and start shouting it.

Super is out in UK cinemas on 8 July.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

Previous Story

Powder

Next Story

Huge

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and The Canary is a ground-breaking masterpiece of early cinematic horror, directed by the man who literally perfected the old, dark house trope. Paul Leni’s (The Man Who Laughs) seminal

Malum + Hunt Her Kill Her

In this nostalgia-fuelled cinema landscape we find ourselves in, it’s surprising we don’t see more of the big-screen double-bill. Back in the good old days of cinema, it was very common to

The Holdovers

The Holdovers was something of a dark horse at the 2024 Academy Awards, while the likes of Oppenheimer, Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon were vying for top honours The
Go toTop