Audiences acquainted with the "Saturday Night Live" character MacGruber — a bumbling special-ops agent who rather consistently fails to save the day — might be surprised to see the man who portrays him, Will Forte, co-starring in Alexander Payne's new black-and-white drama "Nebraska."
Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series recently, Payne explained why he doesn't hesitate to cast comedic actors in dramatic roles.
"I've found that in the past I'm often drawn to people with good comic timing to perform in dramatic parts," the director said. "Because they're not going to drag it — they're not going to wallow in heavy-osity."
Payne continued, "You want someone who can put a little pizazz into it and has some good timing and [can] keep it kind of nimble and light on its feet. So I find in retrospect I'm often drawn to comic actors."
Forte said his motivation for taking on a different kind of role was simple: "I thought it was a beautiful script," he said. "I felt this connection to the character but never would have ever thought that I could get this part. And it wasn't, 'Oh, I'm going to try dramas now.' It just kind of happened."
Bob Odenkirk, who is well known for his comedic work but has proved his dramatic chops on "Breaking Bad," also has a role in "Nebraska." Asked whether he approaches comedies and dramas differently, he joked, "I have different pairs of socks," some for dramatic roles and some for comedic ones. "They get mixed up, and I do bad auditions."
For more from Payne, Forte and Odenkirk, watch the video above, and check back for daily highlights.
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