TORONTO — RAINN WILSON is standing on the rooftop of a low-rise loft building downtown on an unseasonably cold summer night. The wind is whipping the long hair of his wig onto his face, and that, combined with his slacker ensemble of an untucked blue shirt, jeans and sneakers, gives the impression that Wilson is a relic of the late '80s.
The look, of course, is part of the joke. Wilson, who is best known as the uptight Dwight Schrute from the NBC comedy series "The Office," is on the set of "The Rocker" (opening Aug. 1), where he's playing washed-up drummer Robert "Fish" Fishman, who was unceremoniously dumped 20 years earlier from a rock band that went on to superstardom. Now, Fish is back with a shot at redemption as the drummer for a teen band.
On this night, the film crew is wrapped in thick sweaters and jackets, but Wilson perseveres without those layers. He's working out a climactic scene: Fish is incensed that his new band is slated to open for his old supergroup and launches into a tirade until a bandmate's mother, played by Christina Applegate, gives him a passionate kiss.
"Keep the pace up," yells director Peter Cattaneo, who wants Applegate and Wilson to repeat the scene immediately. "Almost without breath!" For the next hour, the two work over the same lines. It's past midnight, but Wilson's energy is still high despite the grueling six-days-a-week shooting schedule and the late-night start times.