Nick Kroll found a niche: He’s the obnoxious one. (You may know him from Parks and Recreation; he played “Douche.”) But now the comic actor is trying his hand at less repellant roles—first in Adult Beginners, which he produced and developed the story for, and then in a series of high-profile acting projects. Prior to a screening at the Coolidge, Kroll told us about working on his last few gigs:
On the complications of producing a film he acts in: “I’m shooting a big scene, and in-between takes, I hear that New Rochelle—where we shot the movie—won’t be giving out permits tomorrow. So we have to move a swimming pool scene. But we can only get the pools on Saturday, and Jane Krakowski—who plays the swimming instructor—can’t shoot on Saturdays. Do we want to recast? Blah Blah Blah … and then [clapboard noise] action.”
On going to Mark Duplass—Kroll’s costar on The League—for help producing the film: “He’s so adept at navigating all of this—he knows every aspect of [producing,] from pre-production to how to sell the movie. So I was learning so much from what they did previously. I mean, I think The Puffy Chair was the first film that Netflix ever distributed on their own. There are other people who do [secondhand] versions of what they do now. They’ve established a brand, and now they have peers … it’s becoming a whole industry.”
On how the movie differs from his initial conception: “At least this time around, having never [produced] before, it’s so hard conceiving what it’s going to become. When you look in the mirror, you think, ‘I don’t look any different.’ But then, five years later, you look at pictures of yourself at that age, and you can’t believe how you looked. It’s like that with the movie. Having been with it from beginning to end, it’s so familiar that I can’t entirely differentiate what I expected at the start from what it is now.”
On Seth Rogen’s upcoming animated film, Sausage Party: “This is an animated movie … it’s their version of a Pixar movie. So it’s a hard-R [rating.] Just filthy. So they called me. I play a douche—literally. A talking douche. I can’t wait to see the final cut. There have not been any animated movies in this tone.”
On his role as a sleazy gym instructor, in Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: “The writing is so sharp. There is something to the way that her writing pops—it’s fun to watch, and it’s fun to perform. I never got to do 30 Rock, so getting to do that show was big fun. I wonder if I’ll [be back for the next season.]”
On working with the legendary Terrence Malick: “I got a call on a Tuesday asking me if I wanted to do a Terrence Malick movie on that Thursday. I like his movies, even though I don’t know them incredibly well … I went, and my goal was to say OK to everything. Having talked to a friend about Malick, I learned that his process is fun and interesting. It’s all natural light, and we shot in this crazy mansion in Mulholland. He called me a torpedo, and said my job was to disrupt. So I’d stand next to him, and he’d call me in, and whisper something like ‘and you know Christian,’ and then my job would be to disrupt Christian Bale.”
ADULT BEGINNERS. NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE.