‘The Office’ actor speaks in Boston
It is very likely that actor John Krasinksi is the nicest man in Boston. By the end of his Sept. 27 talk at the Seaport Green, John Krasinski had completed a push-up challenge at a fan’s request, taken a fan and aspiring filmmaker’s card with a promise to follow up on her job offer, and given inspiring advice about college, acting and the real value of community. The talk, moderated by Krasinski’s older brother Paul, was in honor and promotion of Paul Krasinski’s company Epicenter Experience. The company focuses on branding and community engagement, both of which the younger Krasinski surely raised on his brother’s behalf.
The Krasinski brothers began by talking about John Krasinski’s creative process, and John Krasinski quickly cycled through years spent studying English, working at a yoga studio for the free classes and having limited days off in which he could seriously pursue acting. John Krasinski compared playing Jim Halpert on NBC’s “The Office” to going to summer camp — the cast was close knit, the show was exciting and each week came with something new to do. John Krasinski noted that today he finds himself “living a lottery ticket life,” and that after his success on “The Office,” he tried to focus on doing more than was expected of him.
After some jokes about John Krasinski being shy (“Do you guys believe that?” asked Paul Krasinski) and about the proud Bostonian’s favorite city (John Krasinski: “Prague”), the topic turned to John Krasinski’s motivations for acting. John Krasinski explained that he is drawn to acting because of his desire to connect with and be a part of a larger community. Elaborating on his role in Michael Bay’s “13 Hours,” John Krasinski emphasized how the film allowed him to tell a story about and through someone else’s experience. “13 Hours” reimagines the Benghazi attacks, and John Krasinski valued the film, and his role as protagonist Jack Silva, for its emotional and empathetic connection. He noted that “13 Hours” allowed him to connect with the army experience on an emotional level to gain a better sense of the sacrifices that servicemen and women make more frequently than we might realize and to convey these messages to an audience as well.
Similarly, John Krasinski saw his role on “The Office” as more universal and relatable than one might expect. He explained that, despite the show’s comedic bent, “The Office” was more than just funny. John Krasinski saw the show as relatable, noting how many people can empathize with the experience of having crazy bosses, office crushes and annoying coworkers. He remarked that stories like “The Office” — ones that are relatable or feel true-to-life — are his favorites, and their scripts draw him in the most.
Following a question about bulking up for roles, Paul Krasinski asked his younger brother how he transitions between and out of different characters. John Krasinski started his answer by noting how big of a change it can be to have a role at all — he went from being a waiter in New York City to playing Jim on “The Office” in Los Angeles and Scranton, Pennsylvania. John Krasinski was also quick to point out that he doesn’t feel any particular need to transition out of that role and move away from Jim’s character. Instead, he underscored how much he valued playing a character that fans connected with and built a community around. He said that in terms of dealing with and choosing new products, his guiding principle is fear: the role has to scare him, and make him nervous, in order for it to challenge him.
John Krasinski’s last pieces of advice came in the form of his theater school’s motto, and his personal motto for making acting and directing decisions. He advised to risk, fail and risk again, and if at all possible, to make choices that allow you to help others. Contrast his rhetoric with some of the other rhetoric making headlines these days, and things might not seem so bad in America.