July 08, 2021
He may have an impressive film CV, but the Actor is destined to be remembered as The Office’s resident dork. He talks about why he was perfect for the role, his new movie, Don’t Tell a Soul – and his love for Steve Coogan
Rainn Wilson: ‘I had agents who were, like: You need to get your teeth fixed, build loads of muscles’
Some actors associated with a signature role will tire of talking about it. No such preciousness from Rainn Wilson, who appears on camera from his Los Angeles home wearing a grey T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Scranton”. That Pennsylvania city provided the setting for the US version of the mockumentary sitcom The Office, which ran for nine widely adored, award-winning series. Wilson earned three Emmy nominations for playing the livid, disagreeable Dwight, the Rust Belt equivalent of Mackenzie Crook’s Gareth. Today’s beard and baseball cap, as well as his chipper demeanour, banishes all memory of the pasty face, DIY haircut and startled expression he wore in that show.
Wilson has starred in everything from Juno to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the Jason Statham shark thriller The Meg, but he knows that any conversation will inevitably lead back to The Office. “Dwight is the part I’m best known for and always will be,” says the 55-year-old. “And that’s fine with me.” First, though, there is his new thriller to discuss. In Don’t Tell a Soul, a cross between A Simple Plan and Paranoid Park, he plays an unassuming security guard who gives chase after encountering two teenage brothers (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) stealing from a house in rural Kentucky. During the pursuit, he plunges into a hole in the forest floor, which leaves the boys with absolute power over him. The question is not whether they will use it, but how.
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