Rainn: If Dunder Mifflin went on strike — you know what Dwight would do? Dwight would join the Pinkertons and he would immediately try and bust the strike. And he’d work for management.
He’d go to corporate headquarters and figure out a way to bust up the union — maybe kind of join as a secret — under a different identity and rabble rouse, and be a counteragent. But he would love to join the Pinkertons, wear one of those hats, maybe carry a derringer and be a badass.
Question: And what would he — what would the first day of work be back — be like for him?
Rainn: He would be all about sales — all about sales.
Question: So I want to ask Rainn a quick question about the movie, The Rocker. Can you tell us about it? And also, do you have a musical background yourself?
Rainn: Oh, gosh. Well thanks for asking about my movie. The Rocker stars George Clooney as a heavy metal singer. No it doesn’t. I don’t have George Clooney in my movie.
The Rocker is a very funny movie. I saw it and it’s where I play a former heavy metal drummer from an up and coming heavy metal band. And I get kicked out of the heavy metal band right before they make it really big.
And then 20 years later, my life has kind of gone nowhere and I get a second shot at fame by joining my high school nephew’s garage rock band. So I wear a nice heavy metal wig and I reveal a lot of my butt crack and my torso.
And we rock out and I actually learned to play the drums for the movie. I do have a musical background. I played a lot of musical instruments in high school and in college — and still do.
And — but I really enjoyed learning and playing the drums. And it’s a really sweet — if there’s such a thing as a sweet family rock and roll comedy, this is it. It’s kind of like School of Rock with teenagers.
Question: And what were those instruments that you grew up playing?
Rainn: Well I started on piano and then clarinet. And then saxophone and bassoon. And then xylophone or bells and baritone in the pep band. And then guitar.
Greg: No tuba?
Rainn: I played a little bit of tuba. We played baritone. But it was — tuba was too hard.
Greg: Like every comedy instrument there is.
Rainn: Pretty much — yeah, every comic — every clown instrument, I learned — anything having to do with getting a laugh. And then the recorder, oddly enough, for the show The Office where Dwight is — plays recorder and guitar whenever they need some musical accompaniment.
Question: Rainn, I’m curious about the fact that all of the characters in The Office are ridiculous in their own way and yet the setting is very, very real.
And the audience has to accept, somehow, that all of these characters could be employed because otherwise the comedy just kind of falls apart without that base.
I’m wondering is that a fine line for you to walk because if you make Dwight too ridiculous, then the comedy kind of falls apart? We have to believe that he is employable, too.
Rainn: Yeah, I was — just the other day I was shooting a scene with Steve and I just had — Greg, you saw part of that scene. You were watching it for a different reason.
But all I had to do was like run into Steve’s office and then I ran into Steve’s office — into Michael Scott’s office as Dwight. And I turned to Steve and I was like wow, I just ran into your office like I was a cartoon character.
And I was like why am I doing that? This is a documentary about a guy who works in an office, you know, there’s a lot of people working in an office.
Greg: I’ll tell you one thing, though … I was in the other room listening with all the writers and I don’t know exactly at which run, but Jen Celotta said, “Oh my god, Rainn just did the funniest run.” And she was saying that was her favorite part of the whole scene.
Rainn: That’s probably the one you’ll use. But it’s — yeah, you always have to — I always have to — we always do that. We kind of check in with each other and we’ll go oh right, we’re not doing a comedy.
Like we can’t — let’s tone down the broadness here and make it more real. And of course, the editors always use the broadest takes that we ever do.
Greg: Well the thing is — I also think when you look at the show, you know, when you look at a real office, once you get to know the people who are in the office, you realize how, you know, bizarre they can be.
You know, people can be very bizarre. And, you know, and I think that it certainly has been my experience — like I hear, you know — I don’t know, I probably shouldn’t say this.
But I remember finding out just about these women that used to work with my mom who were also bikers. And you just — you’re like — you couldn’t write some of the stuff that they were doing because it would just seem too implausible.
Rainn: There was a businessman who came in to watch The Office being filmed and I think he had won it at some auction. It was a friend of a friend of Steve’s or something like that.
And this guy was like, he — it’s like Michael Scott came in to watch Michael Scott being filmed. And he was like — he was giving Steve notes. He was giving Steve acting notes. He was giving Steve Carell acting notes.