Once an actor has starred in a television series for a number of years it gets a bit difficult to see the actor in other roles — not just for audiences, but also for those who handle casting. Case in point, I saw John Krasinski in a movie this year in which he was essentially playing his Jim Halpert character from The Office with a different name. That’s not exactly the type of role that helps an actor grow.
Krasinski explains that he was inspired by Tom Hanks, who once mentioned on Inside the Actor’s Studio that he took the less-than-affable role of the manager in A League of Their Own in order to break away from his typical 1980s “nice guy” roles. He explains, “What Tom said was that he took the role because he wanted to play a guy with conflict. He called his agent and said, ‘I don’t want to play pansies anymore.’ That’s exactly what I’m headed toward … I want to play something a little more real and gritty.”
However, Krasinski admits he didn’t feel he was ready to leap into something too different just yet. He says, “This is the time for me to step out and show that I don’t just want to play the nice guy roles, and I think I’ll find out what my limits are. I don’t want to do Half Nelson tomorrow. But I do want to push the limits, and this was pushing the edge just a little bit.”
It doesn’t seem like Krasinski was being offered such roles, so Krasinski — along with Matt Damon — co-wrote a movie for himself, The Promised Land. It’s just the beginning of the next phase of his career, since The Office is in its final season. Nevertheless, Krasinski is quick to give The Office all the credit for his success, pointing out, “When people ask if I’m going to be sad that The Office is over, they don’t even understand the depth of that question for me. It’s an era of my life. No one would have known my name if it wasn’t for the show. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do any of the things I’ve done in my life. I probably wouldn’t have met my wife, unless she came into the restaurant and I knocked her socks off with my knowledge of wine.”
Ultimately though, he understands the major change he’s facing in his career with the sitcom ending. He reveals, “Everyone’s asking, ‘What’s going to happen to you?’ — which I think sounds a little menacing. Like, ‘Are you going to survive?’ To jump now into total darkness and not have any way to get back will be really, really terrifying. But I’m trying to see it as exciting.