John Krasinski is a runt. At 6 feet, 3 inches, he is a full 5 inches under the shorter of his two brothers and 6 inches below the taller. And, he says, they're both far better basketball players than he (one played pro ball in Amsterdam). But don't weep for the 29-year-old Krasinski, as things aren't going too badly for him off the court. He has shared a pair of SAG Awards for best ensemble for the NBC comedy "The Office," in which he plays paper salesman Jim Halpert and which has completed its 100th episode; he stars in the new Sam Mendes film, "Away We Go"; and he's awaiting the release of his directorial debut, "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," which he adapted from the David Foster Wallace stories and saw premiere at Sundance last January.
Is there a lot of cutting up on the set, people trying to break each other up?
It's not really us trying to cut each other up; we break because -- you've seen the line in the script, you've heard it in rehearsal, but now you're shooting and it's still so funny, the way they're doing it, that you can't keep it together. Usually the biggest offender is Steve [Carell, as idiotic boss Michael Scott]. Steve very rarely breaks up, ever. But he intensifies jokes by doing small things like making really severe eye contact, so the joke is going through your brain. He knows how to get me to laugh, and he will do it right to me. It's awful. It's awful.
Idris Elba recently said he made the mistake of going online and seeing what angry fans were saying about his no-fun character.
I haven't done that since the pilot. I remember there was a posting somewhere that just had the word "NO" in capital letters. I thought, "Well, that's a pretty good reason to never go back." That is as clear-cut as you can get. As to Idris' character, he's a guest star and he's also being mean to Jim. It's amazing to experience this with the fans because they have our backs.
Who is doing the most radical acting job on the show? That is, who is least like his or her character?
My brother came to the set and had to take 15 minutes to process meeting Angela [Kinsey, who plays ice queen Angela Martin]. Angela Kinsey is probably the sweetest Southern girl you've ever met in your life. She's so cordial and charming and funny, and yet how she's able to play that . . . she doesn't even speak like that, that enunciated and cold.
Can you think of a favorite episode so far?
My favorite episode this year was when Jim and Dwight [Rainn Wilson] worked together on the Party Planning Committee. Talk about breaking up, that's probably the episode that I laughed the hardest because when I walk into that room -- I'm laughing now, which is pathetic -- and he's putting up the balloons and they're half-filled up and gray and black and brown, I think it was Take 15 before a word came out of our mouths. I just walked in and started crying-laughing. And I'm a crier-laugher, which is not good because it takes more time to recover.
My favorite episode to watch overall is probably "Booze Cruise." To know what they were planning for the romance, for sure. Having that long pause on top of the boat [with Jenna Fischer's Pam] . . . we did that pause because they said to take our time, but I never thought they'd use all that. Having Amy Adams on that episode, and Jim debating whether to stay with her, having Steve do all those crazy dance moves.
The ending, where he's handcuffed to the boat, made me laugh so hard. That episode was that defining moment where you realized that these writers were willing to go to any lengths to make it different and real.
Getting married and having a mortgage, those real-life concerns, could force Jim to grow in a realistic way.
Exactly. My whole theory on this part is, I won the lottery. Not only am I on this show with incredible writers and all that, but I've been given a part they can have play good stuff and bad stuff, all at once. I'm not just in the comedic parts, I'm not just in the dramatic parts, it's an incredible role in which you can kind of ride the rail between both things.
Most of my firsts have been on this show. Playing a romance, a big joke. . . . This has been the beginning and will be the end of everything. Steve said to me, "No matter what we go on to do, whether someone goes on to be a huge director or someone goes on to win an Oscar, you'll still be known as the guy on 'The Office.' " It has been an incredible experience.