Super funny actor Rain Wilson plays super nerd Dwight Schrute on the NBC hit sitcom “The Office,” launched the spiritually-oriented website Soulpancake.com, and has carved out a successful feature movie career, the latest of which finds him starring in “Super,” an offbeat indie comedy about a self-styled ordinary guy turned super hero that’s available on XFINITY On Demand at the same time its in theaters starting April 15. (Look in the movie section under same day as theaters.) “It’s really a one joke movie, but it’s a good one,” said Entertainment Weekly. “Smart, sick, subversive,” added the Boston Globe. We caught up with Rainn in Los Angeles shortly before the movie opened and just before Steve Carell’s departure from “The Office.” As always, Wilson was on point, and fun.
Let me get the obvious question out of the way: What’s “The Office” going t be like without Steve? We’re taking a big hit. We’re losing one of the greatest comedy actors of all time, and that’s no fun. But we will survive, as Gloria Gaynor says. We’ve got the best comedy ensemble on television. And the best writing staff on television. But we all know it’s a very unique and interesting challenge to kind of reinvent the show. My prediction: (He sings) We will survive.
Tell me about the movie. What’s it about? “Super” is a new kind of dark comedy. I play an ordinary guy whose wife runs away with a drug dealer and so to win her back he decides to become a super hero. But he doesn’t have any super powers, so he kid sews himself a super hero suit and uses a pipe wrench to bash people in the face.
There’s a great cast – Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler, Ellen Page. Only in Hollywood would Liv Tyler be my wife. And Ellen Page is brilliant as my kid sidekick, Boltie. She’s even more sociopathic than me.
How did this movie come to you? Amazing story. I was hanging out on the set of “The Office,” and I was talking to Jenna Fischer. She used to be married to James Gunn – they’re still good friends – and she said, you know, I was talking to my ex husband, James, and I asked him, “What did you ever do with that movie “Super”? That’s my favorite script that you ever wrote.” And James said, “Well I can’t really think of anyone to play the lead.” And Jenna said, “What about Rainn for the lead?” James though that was a great idea and he emailed the script to me right there at my Dwight desk. I had them print it out in the front office and I read it in my trailer. After 22 pages, I texted James and said, “I’m in. I want to do this. This is fantastic. “ My hands were trembling. I just loved that the character juggles so many balls in this script. It’s action, it’s horror, it’s super hero, it’s romance, it’s got a lot of heartfelt drama in it, it’s got ridiculous whacked out absurd lunacy. But somehow it all fits into a cohesive hole. It’s a really daring work, and I just – I loved the character and I just wanted to be a part of it. I knew right from the get go.
Do you have a favorite scene? My favorite scene in the movie is me alone in my room at the beginning of the movie. I say this very heartfelt prayer to God on my knees. It’s like a page-and-a-half of writing. And I’m crying, I’m snotty, and I’m asking God for help to win my wife back. Almost immediately thereafter tentacles emerge from the walls, grab me, my brain is plunked open and the finger of God touches my brain. And then I’m set off on my mission. I just love that because it’s so heartfelt. There are these tears, and then seconds later it’s so ridiculous with this giant finger emerging from the ceiling and touching me on the brain. But I love. I love the imagination and the heart.
Any real life super hero moments in your life? I’ve had some before believe it or not. When I was living in New York City you see a lot of stuff happening out on the mean streets, and I had a few “hey leave her alone” moments. I’ve seen a couple of hit and run accidents and written down the license plate. They make you feel better though. They make you feel like a really positive, good citizen.
Who’s the audience for this movie? “Super”’s main audience is the fan boys. The geeks. The downtrodden. The outsiders. The misfits. Those are the people really who this movie is for. That said, I’m astonished at the number of people that really love this film, and all the wide variety of ages. Men. Women. Housewives. Mom who is 65 years old loved it.
But she is your mom. True.
Give me the quick pitch: Why should someone not related to you see it? I guarantee you, you have never seen anything like it before.