This is not the John Krasinski you have all grown to know and love as Jim from “The Office.” The Away We Go Krasinski has a beard… as well as a completely different persona that you will be able to love equally as much as Jim but in an entirely different way.
Krasinski is not only charming in a slightly nerdy and yet adorable way, but he is completely humble and in awe of the position he has found himself in, which is one where Sam Mendes calls him up and says “you’re the only one for this film.” His role in Away We Go shows us an entirely new side of the actor and with undoubtedly push his career even further.
Check out what he has to say below…
How did you get this role?
John: It will never look good in print, but this is the story that happened: I got a call from Sam Mendes when I was on “The Office” and [he] said, “I just read the script and I think I’m going to do it and I can’t see anybody else doing the role, but you.”
How cool is that though?
John: It’s so cool. After I passed out, had a nosebleed and woke up, it was really cool. But I think I was useless on the show that day because I was completely in space. And yes, there was a small part of me that thought, wow Clooney is an incredibly complex prankster. He’s the type that can get Sam Mendes to make that call, and the be like, remember when your life was awesome, it was all a joke.
Did you call Clooney and ask if it was a joke?
John: I definitely looked outside my trailer because he would also get on set because he is so charming and just smiles at people and everybody falls to the ground. No, it was awesome, and I actually did talk to George about doing the movie later. You know, it’s a no brainer to do a movie like this and work with Sam.
Did they envision you for this movie with a beard or was that your idea?
John: No, that was Sam’s idea. Right from the beginning, I believe it’s in the script too; I was want a full beard and long hair. I know, partly, that he wanted to get away from any comparison to “The Office.” And I really commended him for being honest about it. Getting right through, and the funny thing is, “The Office,” is not one of the jobs you want to get away from. It’s not one of those things like, “When are you going to break free of ‘The office?’” Oh no, I beg that they bring me back every year. And Sam’s a big fan of the show, which is awesome, but he wanted this to be something different, something special, and I think that it is something different for him too.
One of the questions that I got asked right when I got the movie, “Really, Sam Mendes is doing a comedy?” Which if you are as good as he is, a movie is a movie whether you’re doing a comedy or drama. To be honest, in my opinion, I think that Sam Mendes is the greatest story telling director out there. That’s no disrespect to any other director because obviously people are making incredible movies, but there is something about Sam’s ability to tell the story of the relationship so intimately and specifically that no one else can do, I think. That probably has a lot to do with his theater background, but having him at the hound, the movie was something special right away.
Although it has it’s moments it’s not an Apatow or Ferrell comedy, it’s more real. How do you describe the comedic tone?
John: I think it’s a comedy the way that life is a comedy. I don’t think life isn’t funny in the way of dogs biting you in the butt and running away from moving trucks, or something like that. It’s more subtle than that, hopefully. Although, if someone’s like is really like that, I want to meet them. I don’t see it as a comedy necessarily, I think, again not to sound totally cliché, but there is something about it; it’s almost more of an honest movie. I think that how honest it is what is so special about it. Especially in the romantic sense.
Dave Eggers wrote these characters so well. People said to me, “you’re not a soon to be dad, what did you base your character on?” And I said, just you know, there is so much to base it on, when someone writes a script that good, and it’s very rare that someone writes the parts so well, you don’t even really have to think, you just show up. They wrote it really well, and there is something about that type of relationship that I not only respect, but I am in total awe of. It’s not always about flowers and diamonds, it’s really about secret languages and knowing everything at a glance, and that relationship is something I admire in real life too.
Your relationship with Maya is so sweet and so endearing, and you have so much chemistry together. Was that due to rehearsals; was that due to the script?
John: We fell in love. [He jokes of them falling in love in real life, and nonchalantly saying that, to her husband, it doesn't matter because he has their daughter.]
Maya truly is, in my opinion, is one of my favorite people to watch. She has always been one of my favorite people to watch, period. I think on SNL, she brought a completely unique take to the show, and her characters and her energy. I think, I also reached stalker status at SNL because I went to visit friends and just sit behind the scenes, like I was totally that nerd.
Maya is dangerously funny. I pray, I’m actually never driving a car when she is with me because, I will crash. She is that funny. I mean, crying laughing before takes. And then, they’d call action, and most of the time, you’re like, no, that’s not going to happen because we have tears running out our face and that’s not going to be good for anybody.
When I actually got to do the movie with her– we had known each other through friends, a little bit– But to sit down and start rehearsing and things like that, I instantly knew that she would be one those people that would be a best friend. Someone to go through anything with, not just this movie, and we did that before the first day of shooting. We became really good friends, and then it also helps to shoot the, in the bed shot, like first or second. It was extremely awkward. I think more for her than me, because her face was showing. I could be under there just crying and people wouldn’t know. It was a very smart move on Sam’s part, I think to put that up first because if you can get through that then you could pretty much get through anything for the rest of the movie.
How were you guys that morning before the “sex” scene?
John: It was like a seventh grade dance. Overly saying hello to people. Like, “Hello, how are you?” Just trying to get your mind off of what was about to happen. I wouldn’t say I am a shy guy when it comes to scenes like that, but you almost get shy because you respect the person so much and you’re having such a good time getting to know them, and it’s like, now I will between your legs for the next six hours.
Aren’t you glad they didn’t do the whole birth thing?
John: I know, right? You know it’s funny because I think that Sam said, this isn’t a pregnancy movie. You can say it, as many times as you want, but until people see the movie they won’t believe you. And no disrespect to Knocked Up, or any of those movies, the truth is, this is just a different movie. To me, it has nothing to do with the fact that we are having a baby. It has everything to do with the fact that getting pregnant and having a baby is a catalyst to actually focusing on ourselves in a new way.
Maya says it because she has had experience with it; I have not. But that when you are pregnant, you realize how selfish a life you live and then all of a sudden you have to revaluate everything. Not only what is my life going to be for this child, but like, am I doing everything that I wanted to do, who am I, am I with the right person? All of those things. And I ‘m 29 years-old and that’s the stuff that I am going through right now, and of course, I have an incredibly gifted existence right now, but at the same time, on a more personal side of it; with friends, and being away from my family, and not seeing my niece and nephews enough. You are always constantly wondering if the choices you are making are the right ones. I think it is a huge universal issue. I don’t think people stop wondering were they belong and it’s a movie about belonging, I think. And that is both awesome and horrifying, at the same time.
So did you have any hesitation playing a character named Burt Farlander?
John: You know, when I read the name Burt, I was like, that just doesn’t sound right. It’s also really hard to tell the writers, rename your character for me. But when you actually get into shooting and rehearsing, it’s like; of course that’s his name. That is the only name for that character, and it was funny. We talked throughout the movie about it, a little bit that there is like this Burt-esque thing that happens later so the word Burt kind of meant this overly positive almost childlike way to approach things. And Sam would be like, “Oh yeah, that’s very Burt!” There were things that were very Burt throughout the whole movie usually, which were things that were nice so that helps. You never want to be the character that people are like, yeah, you never want to be like that, ever. But yeah, it was awesome playing a guy named Burt Farlander.
Did you ever wonder why Sam was having you eat so much soup in he film?
John: I love soup! He didn’t know that, but for some reason we never got off the starters in all these scenes. We’re never actually gone into an entree, which I think it’s actually kind of funny. For me, it was awesome because I actually get to slurp soup in the movie. And you’ll notice that I am eating it a lot. But everyone else is like, this is a prop and I was like, this is dinner!
Did you really travel to those different locations that are in the movie?
John: Pretty much. We were in Connecticut for six weeks so that stood in for Madison, Denver- the house, but then we actually traveled to Tucson and to Phoenix, and to Orlando, and to Miami. So we actually did a lot of travel. Not Montreal, that was good old New Haven… surprise! It was nice to have the first six weeks, because we did all the traveling in the end, which I think is really nice because then you feel like you’re on the road with a band, or something. There is sort of, a lot less, sort of rigid behavior because you’re just having a blast being on the road, and yes it’s still exciting to like, be in a hotel with Maya and Sam, and like going to dinner, and you kind of hope, your parents aren’t watching for some reason
Do you have a place were you would like to live?
John: Yeah, I mean, I’m living out here, and I don’t hate it anymore, I think when you’re from east coast and you land in L.A., you’re like, nope too different. It is so spread out here. I grew up in Boston, so you have the city, and then you have all of the suburbs, so there’s that rhyme or reason, and there is no rhyme or reason out here.
I personally saw that as a plus later because the thing about L.A., it’s one of the most malleable places I’ve ever known. You can turn it into whatever you want, so this can be New York City, if you want it to be, or it could be the middle of Montana. I thought about it a lot were I wanted to live and there is still something about New York, I was there for about four years before I came out here, and you got to respect the city that dictates where you’re going and how you’re doing it whether you’re having a good day or a bad day.
Aren’t you now, in a movie with Meryl Strep, or have you done that already?
[Jokes about his life being a George Clooney prank.]
John: I’m in the middle of shooting that movie right now like I said I want to work with someone good. Yeah, I’m working with Meryl now, in the Untitled Nancy Meyers Project, which I think that title has a ring to it.
Are you Meryl’s lover in this movie?
John: Unfortunately not. That would be more awkward than being with Maya. But no, I am playing Meryl’s daughters’ fiancée. It’s a smaller part, and I love Nancy’s movies, I think that there is something incredibly uplifting and fun about the way that she sees the world, at least in her films, so it’s fun. And I think, when they tell you, that all your scenes will be with Meryl, Alec or Steve Martin, you’re like, yes, I will do that!
Does she hate you? Is that the problem?
John: No, she actually loves me. I’m sort of the good guy in the middle of a love triangle that she has. I’m sort of, I represent the really good guy that her daughter happens to be with, and she would like to find happiness too.
You made your own film, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men how is that coming along?
John: We actually have a couple of distributors now, and I am hoping that it will be coming out in the fall. That’s what they tell me. It’s two days away from being official, and I’ll announce it from my rooftop.
So what do you want to do? Using “The Office” as a base, of being able to do a movie for three years, if you want to?
John: Even you saying it, it must sound weird, because you’re like, you’re on the show, you’re doing this- its completely and totally surreal. There is no other word for it. And the truth is, like I said, having “The Office” be your “day job” that you can go back to is insane. It’s insane that you go and do a movie that you have a lot of fun on and then you have to go back and work at “The Office”— it makes no sense. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to, really have these people choose to work with me.
Even from License to Wed, my first big movie, that was a director on the office, Ken Kwapis, who said, “I want to do this movie with you.” These are opportunities that I thought would take forever and yet I scurried to the issue with a lot of people because they took a chance on me, and I am completely indebted to Ken, and George taking a chance on me to play that big a role in a movie that he had so much stock in. It was such an honor to work with him and Renee, and then to do this; to have Sam call you out-of-the blue and just say, “I want you to do this movie.” It’s insane. I think I am waiting for the other huge show to drop. And I hope it doesn’t happen any time soon because I’m having a blast.
I’m happy to do small parts, big parts, whatever, as long as it is working on movies that are this good. And honestly I think that it’s so weird to be a part of a movie like Away We Go, because in all honesty, this is the movie that at the Arclight, and then be like, “Oh my god, you guys have to go see this movie.” And I would tell all my friends about it, but you can’t when your name is on the poster. That just sounds weird.
Check out the film in select theaters starting this Friday June 5th and for a chance to win a free soundtrack and gift cards, compete in our Away We Go Caption Competition!