It's easy to assume, or at the very least, hope that Rainn Wilson is exactly like his Office alter ego Dwight Schrute. But don't hold your breath beet farming enthusiasts, the authoritative attitude, terrible haircut and, heck even the signature glasses get left behind at Dunder Mifflin.
Wilson, who has been playing the bobble-headed Assistant (to the) Regional Manager for the past three seasons (the fourth season begins on September 25th), has his first leading role in the new School of Rock-inspired comedy The Rocker. In the film Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, a formerly famous drummer in a hair metal band called Vesuvias until he gets kicked out. Fish gets a second shot at the big time when he joins his nephew's band and gets to show his talents (and his bare ass) to the world again.
Wilson, 42, has had minor roles in films like Almost Famous, House of 1000 Corpses, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and most recently as the snarky drug store clerk in Juno. Not to mention his cameo in the upcoming and eagerly anticipated Transformers sequel. We sat down with Rainn to discuss all things that rock.
PW: I heard that in high school you played the bassoon.
RW: Yes. Does that turn you on? (Pauses) Is that inappropriate to say to a journalist?
PW: That will be the headline.
RW: 'Rainn Wilson: Does that Turn You On?' or 'Actor Strangely Inappropriate With Me in Interview!'
PW: Would you have listened to a band like Vesuvius in high school or were you into something much more tame?
RW: I grew up in suburban Seattle where you had to listen to classic rock, that's all there was. Maybe not Vesuvias because I think by that time I had discovered punk and new wave. But certainly Sabbath and AC/DC (sings) "Back in Black!" That was the music I was weaned on, even though I was a bassoonist. I was a bassoonist that wore a Seattle's Best Rock KISW T-shirt.
PW: Were there any rock and roll hijinks during filming of The Rocker?
RW: I'm afraid not. But, I'll tell you, it was really fun to play fake concerts and really get that feel of being up on stage and having thousands of extras playing along. Experiencing that rock and roll adrenaline, that was a really special part of making the movie.
PW: Who in your mind is more metal, Fish or Dwight?
RW: I think Dwight would be more into like speed metal and Swedish death rock and some really, like, crazy stuff. Where Fish is more into Van Halen and Aerosmith, so I think that's where they differ. But, I think also Dwight views music very practically. I think it's whatever music can achieve for him. If metal gets you pumped up, than that's a good thing, so music fills a specific purpose for him.
PW: On the street, what do you get people quoting more to you, Juno or The Office?
RW: Oh, not even close, The Office. It's Dwight quotes up and down, all over the place. It's been maybe two times that someone has come up and said something about "home skillet" to me.
The Rocker opens this Wednesday.
A Short History of...
Ben Kingsley, You Kill Me
Oliver Dahan, La Vie en Rose
Chris Eigeman, The Treatment
Mark Fergus, First Snow
Lance Weiler, Head Trauma