Ed Helms talks "Cedar Rapids" and "Hangover 2"

Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:38pm EST
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Is it too early to declare 2011 as the year of Ed Helms? On January 23 the former "Daily Show" correspondent premiered to a warm reception the raucous comedy "Cedar Rapids," his first starring role, for director Miguel Arteta.

Helms, who turns 37 on January 24, executive produced the picture and plays Tim Lippe, an emotionally immature insurance salesman who comes out of his shell at a corporate convention by, among other things, smoking crack with a prostitute.

That precedes May's blockbuster sequel "The Hangover: Part 2" and the still-undated Duplass brothers comedy "Jeff Who Lives at Home." And Helms is sure to get more screen time on NBC's "The Office" after Steve Carell leaves in the spring.

THR: This is your first lead role. How does it feel to be in an Ed Helms movie?

HELMS: It's incredibly exciting and daunting. The insecurity kicks in. "Well, how's the movie gonna do? How's the gonna affect me in terms of the work I can get later? Will people give me a chance to carry movies?" All of these bullshit career questions star swirling around. But I'm just really proud of the movie. The people that I care about and whose opinions mean a lot to me, are liking it, and that's all I can hope for.

THR: There's a sense of naïveté and an unwillingness to grow up about your character. It's a little like Carell in "40 Year Old Virgin."

HELMS: Well, he's not a virgin, to make a clear distinction (Laughs.) In some respects this movie is less broad, but Tim is oddly more naive than Steve's character. I think it's a real and poignant look at a real stunted man who has found a lot of self-protective mechanisms that have kept him in a very sheltered state.

THR: Important question: Is there a tiger in "Hangover 2?"   Continued...

<p>Cast member Ed Helms kisses a cardboard cutout of his character from the film "Cedar Rapids" during the movie's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>