Best known for his stand-up and as as the quirky friend Spence on King of Queens, Patton Oswalt has moved on to darker comedy with his recent role in director Jason Reitman’s latest venture Young Adult.
Co-starring alongside Charlize Theron, Patton stars in the film as Matt, a ” moonshine-making, action-figure-creating disabled man,” in a story that chronicles Theron’s character Mavis, a recently divorced fiction writer who travels back home to Minnesota, hoping to reunite with her married ex-boyfriend.
Talking to the L.A. Times about his role, Oswalt used an acting coach for the first time and faced the challenges of portraying a disabled man, a role the actor says he took to test his abilities. “This guy is very articulate and smart, but there are those moments when that fails him, and I wanted to know that I could play that,” he said.
He could also relate to Matt, nearly sharing the same fate as his alter ego, Oswalt chose instead to pursue his career as a comedian, rather than continue living in his home state of Virginia, settling down and marrying his college girlfriend. “That would have destroyed me and I would have been a really unpleasant person had I stayed.”
Oswalt was also straight forward about working several avenues of the entertainment biz, whether it be stand-up, movie roles, or publishing his own book of essays, the comedian says he’s in it for the money – mainly. “I’m in this business for the money — and the anecdotes. I’m not going to lie that I’m not in it for the money, and sometimes the money wins over the anecdotes. But the money lets you explore the stuff you want to do.”
A film like Young Adult for Oswalt appears to be in the larger scheme of things, a stepping stone, and a challenging one at that. “A movie like this will hopefully give me the exposure to work with other directors I like, or [give me] the breathing room that if [eccentric horror director] Ewe Boll wants me to go to Germany to do something, I can go. Because I also want to observe Ewe Boll and write about that experience.” Adding that he doesn’t plan to leave the stage, given other opportunities. “I still want to be a stand-up and you can’t be a stand-up if you’re not living life.”
Watch Patton Oswalt in the trailer for Young Adult. The movie opens in theaters on December 16th 2011.