In his new movie “The Rocker,” Rainn Wilson trades in the khaki pants of his uptight paper salesman Dwight Schrute (from NBC’s hit comedy “The Office”) for leather pants (and sometimes no pants at all). The actor stars as Robert “Fish” Fishman, former drummer for a hair-metal group, who gets another shot at fame with his nephew’s band. We chewed the fat (literally) with Wilson over breakfast last month, just moments after he was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, as he flirted with us and discussed Oompa-Loompa erotica.
Q Well, since we only have 15 minutes, I guess I’ll start with—
A May I offer you some bacon?
Oh, um …
May I offer you some of my bacon please?
Gray. I want you to eat my bacon.
[We laugh nervously.] I’m going to drink your milkshake, and you’re going to eat my bacon.
Well, yes. Thank you. You’re so hospitable. Were you raised in the South?
My dad sold Toyotas in Marietta. But no, I’m not from the South. I’m the opposite. I’m a northerner, a Yankee. I’m from Seattle, so that doesn’t really count. My relatives were lumberjacks and farmers.
Well, I wanted to ask—sorry, I’m talking with my mouth full … That’s really rude.
I know. Let’s not have this interview, Gray. Let’s talk about you and me.
I was thinking the same thing.
I mean, you can just cull what you need from other interviews. Who do you write for?
The Sunday Paper.
What’s The Sunday Paper?
It’s the best alternative newsweekly in the country and the most trusted name in news.
Wow! … Do you read a lot of books?
Yes, yes I do. Are you interviewing me?
Let me just cut to the chase here.
I want to know first and foremost—and I will ask you questions about your movie, because that’s the only reason I’m allowed to be talking to you right now …
Oh, you just want to talk to Dwight.
I want to talk about your double life as an art dealer.
My dad and I have a Web site called www.rrwilsonart.com. And a lot of the pieces that he’s picked up at little auctions over the years, we have those on sale, like Picasso lithographs and stuff like that. We also kind of represent some artists that we like. It’s just a little side project I do with my dad. Wanna buy some art?
Maybe when I have enough money to buy a full tank of gas.
Oh, that is so sad.
You must not know how that is, being a big star.
I’m going to buy you a painting.
Hey thanks! So congratulations; you were just nominated for an Emmy for “The Office.”
I want a cage match with me and Jeremy Piven [of “Entourage”]. Full on. It’d be good.
I’d watch it.
Oiled down? Only if it were oiled down.
So, Dwight and Angela. We left them with a pretty heavy makeout session last season. I took a screen shot of Dwight’s face, when I was watching the show legally on www.nbc.com with all of the commercials and advertisements.
Good for you.
I used it as my desktop picture.
Wow. That’s intense. That was so funny, because [“The Office” producer] Greg Daniels kept wanting it really big. I would kind of look, normally, and he’d be like “No, weirder!” Greg loves it when I do big weird stuff. Greg’s like, he’ll come over, and he’s this mild-mannered guy, and he’ll be like [whispers]“Do it again, just do it weirder.”
You’re really good at weird, though.
I wish we could hang out more. I wish I wasn’t leaving Atlanta this afternoon.
Where are you going next?
Going to Miami. Wanna come down to Miami with me?
[Sigh.] I have work.
You have to work?
I know, I know. So I have to ask you a real question. How was it, making the jump from Dunder Mifflin to [fictional band] A.D.D.? Jumping from paper god to metal god?
Well, fortunately, with Steve Carell, his movie career and the success of “The Office,” a lot of doors are open for us to do films. So I was pretty darn thrilled when—what is that around your neck?
No, around your neck, not on your neck. It’s not like a bite or something. What is that key to?
Have you given it away?
It’s still around my neck, isn’t it?
So it’s there for the taking. Nice. Um, what was I talking about? Oh, it was really great to get the script because one of the first things that crossed my mind was like, “Wow, this is fantastic, this part is right in my wheelhouse, but it could not be more different than Dwight.” And to play a let-it-all-hang-out, loose, sloppy, heart-on-his-sleeve, sweaty …
Really sweaty, metal drummer. It was great.
It reminded me of my friend Stuart. Back in high school he was always pretty sweaty.
Everyone has a sweaty friend. Mine is named Steve Carell. So I just jumped into chance. But on top of that, the script was good. It was funny, it’s heartwarming.
It’s definitely a coming-of-age film.
So anyways, I get these Google alerts about myself …
You do? About me?
You are very naughty. But someone did an article about how both the nerds like Dwight, and the frat boys like Dwight. So that’s kind of weird, too.
Very weird. And very true. Let’s talk about co-starring with Emma Stone. I have a huge girl crush on her.
Do you really? She’s so gorgeous.
What was it like working with these kids, this whole “new guard” of talented young actors?
Oh, it was great. These guys are amazing. I think Josh Gad is so funny. He makes me laugh more than anyone, he’s hysterical, and he’s going places. Unfortunately everyone is like “He’s trying to be Jonah Hill,” but I don’t think so. And Emma Stone is like the next Julia Roberts because she couldn’t be cooler, or more down-to-earth, and she’s funny—she’s awesome.
You went to NYU’s theater program, which is in the art school.
Did you see the movie “Art School Confidential”?
Yeah, it’s just like that. Exactly like that, it’s so funny. You want some more bacon?
Oh, no thank you.
Give me your card, by the way.
I actually don’t have one on me. But I can make one for you while we talk.
OK, good. In case I get any cool Google alerts about myself that I can send you. Listen, I have this word that I’m trying to spread around. Maybe you can help me out with it. I’m trying to start it at the grass roots, and I’m hoping it will spread. It’s another word for buttocks. It is … thigh caps. Makes sense, right? What was your question?
I’m just going to start with a new one. I had this friend in middle school and high school, Neil Brown. He was really hilarious and goofy, but as we got older, other kids started [to say] “Neil! Make us laugh!” It drove him crazy. Were you that guy?
I am Neil. I am the incarnation of Neil Brown. But for me, I was like totally nerdy and kind of a goofball, and then I auditioned for a play and I got the lead … and, all of a sudden, girls liked me. And girls who had never paid attention to me all of a sudden were. And I could make them laugh!
I started getting attention from guys with my first venture into theater. I played an Oompa-Loompa in the ninth-grade production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
That’s really sad.
I had green hair, orange makeup and white eyebrows. I also had a little dance.
Although that’s kind of strangely erotic. I want to play Oompa-Loompa sex games.
So let’s end with this. Tell me why everyone should go see “The Rocker.”
Because you get to see my thigh caps.
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