One of the best parts of running OfficeTally is reporting on The Office cast’s various movie projects. It’s been a busy summer — John Krasinski in Away We Go, Ed Helms and The Hangover, and B.J. Novak in Inglourious Basterds.
Now it’s Brian Baumgartner and ‘Into Temptation.’
Into Temptation is a story about a young priest who tries to prevent a prostitute from committing suicide. Its cast includes Jeremy Sisto (“Law and Order”), Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,” “Pushing Daisies”), and The Office’s Brian Baumgartner.
Needless to say, this is a radical departure from playing Kevin Malone, and after watching the trailer and listening to the Minnesota Public Radio interview, I had to go directly to Brian Baumgartner himself and ask him a few questions about the movie.
The film had its world premiere in Minneapolis on Thursday, plays in limited release around the country after that, and then comes out on DVD in October.
Read my Q&A with Brian here.
Q&A with Brian Baumgartner
Q: How long did it take you to film your role in the movie? Did it kind of feel like going home (Minneapolis)?
Brian: (I can’t remember!) I have very fond memories of my time in Mpls. Originally being from Atlanta, I would not say Mpls felt like “home,” but it is certainly where I grew up as an actor and an artist. I had some amazing experiences and worked with some spectacular directors and actors on the stage there.
It was nice to see so many familiar faces — many of whom were also in the movie. And it was very strange for me to be staying in a hotel downtown there. It felt, once I was there, that I should be going to my old house.
But I will tell you, I was glad to be there in the summer. Those winter days … I do not miss at all.
Q: You mentioned in an OfficeTally chat that it was nice to take a break from comedy and to play a dramatic role. Can you go into more detail about that?
Brian: Well, I did a lot of dramatic work on the stage. Certainly as much drama as comedy over the years.
I am unlike many of my colleagues on THE OFFICE. Most came from improv or stand-up … some form of a comedy background. I came up doing straight theater. Some comedy, some drama, but I was not “known” for comedy specifically. As far as I can think of right now … only Rainn and I came from a strict theater background. So it was fun for me to play a role that returned me to my roots a bit.
Now, let me be honest, my character in ‘Into Temptation’ was not heavy heavy drama. But I think it gives people a chance to see me play someone other than Kevin. And although he is a priest, a character that is more like me than Kevin is.
Q: I’m assuming that unlike The Office, you performed pretty much on script for “Into Temptation.” Was it weird not getting the chance to improvise? Did you catch yourself looking directly into the camera like characters do on The Office?
Brian: Yes we did play on script for the most part. But Jeremy and I had a really good relationship on set (and off set too btw — he is a great guy). So we were able to banter a bit at times. Which I feel kept things very real and relaxed.
And yes — once, I did look into the lens. Felt like an idiot. But other than that, it really was not a problem.
Q: Describe the character of Father Ralph and his role in the movie.
Brian: Father Ralph is the best friend of the protagonist, played by Jeremy Sisto. A fellow priest. And his guide in a way. They come to each other for support and counsel, and have a friendship that is clearly important to each character.
In the film, Father John (Sisto) comes to me for help with a problem he is wrestling with. I guide him along the way, as he struggles with a decision whether to follow the church’s doctrine, or his own conscience.