Even though he left the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2012, Andy Samberg has yet to stray far from his comedic roots.
He’s on the NBC sitcom “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” has served as the funny guy hosting awards shows (including the 2019 Golden Globes) and has never starred in a deeply dramatic film. And that’s purposeful, says the 41-year-old.
“I don’t really court it, and I don’t get asked to do it a lot, either,” Samberg said of “serious” acting. “Every now and again, I’ll get sent a really intense indie script or something and I’ll have to tell the people that I’m very flattered but I know that I would ruin their movie.”
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But in Samberg’s latest movie, “Palm Springs,” the actor shows more range than perhaps ever before. In the film, which debuted to strong reviews at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday and was acquired for release by Neon and Hulu, Samberg plays Nyles — a dude who is approaching middle age and isn’t particularly happy with his career or his girlfriend. At a wedding in — you guessed it! — Palm Springs, he bonds with the surly maid-of-honor (Cristin Milioti), and the relationship causes him to begin evaluating his purpose in life.
While director Max Barbakow’s movie is certainly a romantic comedy, it still offers Samberg plenty of moments to show off his dramatic chops.
“I enjoy doing more serious acting,” Samberg admitted during an L.A. Times panel with his fellow cast and crew. “And this was a script where I felt like I could thread the needle — where it goes back-and-forth enough. There were moments comedically that I knew I could hold onto where I’d be like, ‘At least I know that will be funny, and the other stuff, we can make sure that the editing is tight. We’ll keep the footage on Cristin, mostly.’”
“I felt so the opposite,” Milioti responded insistently. “I think you’re such a good dramatic actor.”
“He actually shows this really nice, soft side I’ve never seen before,” Camila Mendes — who plays the bride at the film’s wedding — agreed. “He’s really sweet in the movie, and I think people are going to be surprised.”