Paul Rudd is nobody's "Idiot Brother"

Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:54am EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thanks to hits such as "Knocked Up," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," Paul Rudd has become one of the most reliable comic actors in Hollywood, unafraid of embracing slightly dorky characters who make people laugh.

In his new film, "Our Idiot Brother" opening on Friday, he embraces his inner hippie and shares the screen with three high-powered actresses (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer) playing his neurotic New York sisters. His character -- the under-achieving, homeless, Croc-wearing brother Ned -- wreaks havoc in their lives.

Rudd recently sat down with Reuters to talk about portraying the easy-going Ned, the joys of tie-dyed T-shirts and why he's not shy about kissing dogs.

Q: "Our Idiot Brother" sounds like a very broad comedy, but it's not, is it.

A: "Not at all. There's lots of drama. You hear the title and see the main character with his beard and long hair, but I don't think Ned's an idiot. He's a gentle soul, and makes some idiotic decisions -- there's no getting around that. But we wanted to make it very clear he's living his life a certain way, and it's a conscious decision. He has an ethic he subscribes too, and it's not always easy for him. The cracks show in some scenes, and that's important. You don't want it to look like he's just out to lunch."

Q: After he's busted for selling pot to a cop and gets out of prison, Ned moves in with each of his sisters and chaos ensues. How much of you is in Ned? Can you relate to him?

A: "I can. It's not me, but there are parts that are. I like to think of myself as being optimistic and happy, although not as much as Ned, which is good and bad. The moment I read it, I wanted to do it, and I also felt it'd be a fun world to live in for a couple of months -- and it was. I was very happy making this movie because of Ned."

Q: So he rubbed off on you a lot?   Continued...

<p>Actors Zooey Deschanel (L-R), Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones and Elizabeth Banks pose at the premiere of their new film "Our Idiot Brother" in Hollywood, California August 16, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>