LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thanks to hit television show "The Office," John Krasinski has become one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood -- in demand for TV and movies.
In his latest film, "Away We Go," he plays an earnest, expectant father on a cross-country road trip with pregnant girlfriend (Maya Rudolph) in search of the ideal place to call home.
Directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes, and co-starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney and Catherine O'Hara, the film opened to mostly good reviews.
Krasinski, whose movie credits include "Dreamgirls," "Leatherheads" and "Shrek the Third," spoke to Reuters about making the film and why he'll stay on the hit comedy "The Office."
Q: How would you describe this film?
A: "It's about belonging and figuring out who you are, not only geographically but emotionally and mentally. It's not a pregnancy movie, but as Sam (Mendes) says, 'it's the catalyst to make us rethink where we're at and where we're going.' I think it's very timely -- rethinking who you are and who you want to be is something everyone's going through.
Q: Is it true the role was written with you in mind? That's very flattering for an actor.
A: "That's what they tell me. (Laughs) I keep telling (screenwriter) Dave Eggers, 'You know I'm not Ryan Gosling, right?' It's a great compliment. I remember reading the script and thinking, when 74 people pass, maybe I'll have a shot."
Q: You worked with Sam before on war film "Jarhead." This must have been a very different experience for you?
A: "One hundred percent different, especially as I have hair in this. I've seen Sam do two types of movies - the huge budget production with enormous sets and design and so on, and then the smaller, more intimate film like this. In my opinion, he's the greatest storytelling director we have, and there's plenty of great directors out there."
Q: How surprised were you to then get a call from him saying he was only considering you?
A: "I was on the set of "The Office" and my agent told me he wanted to talk, and we'd kept in touch a bit since "Jarhead." When he called and told me he couldn't imagine anyone else in the part, I really thought I was in the middle of some huge prank. I thought maybe George Clooney was behind it. It was totally surreal to get that call. If I read something like this, I'd be, 'Yeah, sure, that never happens.' But it did and I'm still amazed."
Q: How much of you is there in (lead character) Burt?
A: "I hope there's a lot of me, only because he's such an incredibly sweet guy. He's very earnest, and I hope everyone strives to be earnest. I hope I'm an earnest guy. I also hope I'm a little more focused and complex than Burt."
Q: You and Maya have great chemistry together. Any surprises working with her?
A: "I fell in love with her (laughs). I've been a big fan and I love watching her perform. I already knew her as I'd reached 'stalker-status' at "Saturday Night Live." I'd gone a bunch of times, so when we got the parts I immediately saw her as someone who could be one of my best friends. And she was, instantly. We hung out a lot together, and there's just something incredibly sincere and otherworldly about her."
Q: What's going on with "The Office"?
A: "We don't even know the seeds of what's going to start next season as our writers have been in coma ever since we wrapped."
Q: You obviously still love doing it.
A: "One hundred percent. People keep asking me, 'so how much longer are going to do 'The Office'?' And it's not something you break free from. It's without a doubt the greatest gift I've ever gotten in my life and I'd never turn my back on it."
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney