Rainn Wilson always seems to play the “weird guy” – and he’s okay with that. After all, he got his break as an eccentric mortician-in-training on HBO’s Six Feet Under, and as Dwight K. Schrute on NBC’s Emmy-nominated The Office, he plays a power-starved paper salesman who grows beets on the family farm and has an unhealthy obsession with Battlestar Galactica. This summer, he tones down his inner nerd to play the comic sidekick opposite Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. PEOPLE.com recently caught up with the 40-year-old funnyman to get the scoop on fatherhood, working with prima donnas and his weird-guy appeal.
So we have to ask: Who’s sexier – My Super Ex-Girlfriend’s Uma Thurman or The Office’s Steve Carrell?
I’m going to go with Uma, as much as I’m wildly attracted to adorable hairy chests.
Have you ever gone through a bad breakup?
Yeah. I was breaking up with this woman and I escorted her to her subway. She wouldn’t get on her train. She wouldn’t let go of my arm and she just kept crying. So finally I said, “I gotta go,” and I dashed onto the train and the doors closed. Pretty sad.
You’ve mentioned the movie’s catfight scene was one of the most fun to shoot. Why?
I (got) to adlib a whole bunch (of lines). There was one line that I thought was really funny. In the middle of the catfight (between Uma and Anna Faris) I go, “Rip her panties off!” They didn’t include it! (Writer) Don Payne fought that line ferociously.
You were shooting Ex-Girlfriend at the same time as The Office. What was that like?
NBC wasn’t going to let me do (the movie). They were literally like, “What if it snows in New York and Rainn is trapped and he can’t fly back?” (Director) Ivan Reitman personally, financially guaranteed my days on the movie by putting $1 million dollars into a fund. If I missed filming The Office, he would pony up and pay for my days. Everyone advised him against it, but he knows talent when he sees it.
Congratulations on The Office‘s Emmy nominations. How did you hear the news?
I was on vacation in Hawaii with my wife. The show has been on the verge on cancellation five different times, so we’re psyched.
Now that Steve Carrell got an acting Emmy nod for The Office, will he be even more insufferable to work with?
Absolutely. He’s a prima donna nonpareil. Fortunately, I got used it with Luke Wilson.
You’re also dad to a 21-month-old son, Walter. How would you describe your parenting technique?
I’m trying to turn Walter into a baby Dwight. I got him a polyester wool blend suit, parted his hair in the middle. put glasses on his head. … No, I have a great time watching his imagination bloom. He’s walking and talking. When he sees my bobblehead, he says, “Dada,” and sometimes tries to kiss it and feeds its mouth.
Speaking of your bobblehead, I read that 14,000 of them have been sold. Care to guess what people are doing with theirs?
I think they are often used as sex toys – that’s what I hear, and I’m alright with that.