The Hot Seat: John Krasinski

We briefly interview an irreverent man.

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Surprisingly, the most difficult thing about talking to John Krasinski, who plays the charming, practical-joking paper salesman Jim Halpert on The Office, isn't resisting the urge to make a "That's what she said" joke at every opportunity. No, the largest challenge in talking to the 29-year-old actor is to not call him "Big Tuna." Next week, he can be seen in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (which he also directed)—an adaptation of the beloved story collection by the late David Foster Wallace. We caught up with Big Tu...Krasinski, rather, in the midst of a fantasy football draft.

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My mom is a big fan of The Office. She says Jim reminds her of me.
Oh my God.

I don't really see it.
No, you do see it. You're a charming guy. We all love you, Drew, come home!

Better than if she told me that I reminded her of Dwight, I suppose.
Yeah, that would be really scary. Don't ever come home if that's the case.

I understand that you have a history with Brief Interviews that goes back a ways.
Yeah, my experience with this book is that I was in school, and I was an actor, not because I thought I had any talent, but because it was really fun to hang out with a bunch of cool people. And it was sort of my social circle back in school. And one day, a friend of mine put on a staged reading of this book, and I remember really wanting to be a part of it, because it sounded like something that was actually something special. And I did get a part in it, and it was an incredible moment for me, because it was the first time I had been introduced to David Foster Wallace, and the first time that I had been introduced to something that was so intense and polarizing and provocative. It was a big day, because it was the day that I decided that I would give acting a shot for real, and not just for the friends.

I noticed you have a couple of guys from The Wire in your film.
Yes. If it was up to me, there should be someone from The Wire in every movie for the rest of time.

I was kind of hoping Omar was going to show up and start wasting fools.
You know what's funny, I was desperate to get Omar. I think there was a scheduling conflict or something. I'm not kidding. He probably doesn't know that. He'll probably be like, "Liar. I'm boycotting your movie." And you don't want Omar boycotting your movie, man.

He hated hideous men. You also cast Will Arnett, who may play the best hideous man in history.
Yeah, he's kind of great. And to tie it all in, Will should've been on The Wire . But that's a whole other story.

I was a big fan of him in Let's Go to Prison.
I was too! That's fantastic. Let's segue right into that movie, and talk about that for the rest of this Q&A.

Can do. Remember when they make merlot in the toilet?
[Laughs] Yes, and one of the greatest performances ever is David Koechner: "It only took a second to raise this money. A second mortgage." One of the best jokes ever made.

You don't strike me as a hideous man yourself.
Aw, thank you. That's really nice. And I don't know how much of that has to do with you wanting to prove to your mother that you're not hideous. It's that you have to say that I'm not hideous, because I represent you out there.

Of course, now it will come out that you throw cute puppies on the grill, cheat at cards and foisted subprime mortgages on those who couldn't afford them.
You know what the really weird thing is? I'm not kidding. I was just like, Oh, here I'm going to pick up a joke, and I was like, "I throw puppies out of windows" in my head, and you said throw puppies on a grill. It's weird how we're connected, Drew. I'm not going to lie, yours is better, but we're right in the same ballpark.

Who's better than us? Congrats on the engagement [to actor Emily Blunt], by the way. Fantastic work.
Thank you very much. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

You have a best man yet?
I don't. Not yet. But I'm thinking you're in the running, Drew.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men opens Sept 25. The Office returns Thu 17.

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