Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the beloved children’s story that’s also its author’s favorite work, opens in theaters on March 2nd. To promote the film’s release, Collider got to participate in the press junket and sit down with actor Ed Helms, who lends his voice to the iconic role of the Once-ler, the old and bitter hermit whose greed got the better of him.
While we will run what he had to say about the film closer to its release date, we did want to share what he had to say about his next feature film, Jeff Who Lives at Home (due out in theaters on March 16th), which he is clearly very proud of, the current status of The Hangover 3, and how much fun he’s been having as the office manager on the NBC comedy series The Office. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
ED HELMS: I love that movie. I’m so proud of it. It’s such a weird little world that Mark and Jay Duplass created. We had so much fun making it, even though it’s not particularly funny. That was new territory for me, certainly, as a professional actor. In high school, I did “All My Sons,” but that was probably the last dramatic thing I did. But man, Jason is a phenomenal actor. Obviously, he’s funny as hell, but he brought a lot of heart to Jeff Who Lives at Home. It was really fun, and a huge privilege just to bounce off that.
How much improvisation did you do on that film?
HELMS: Jason and I both come from a background of doing comedy and also improvising quite a bit, and we did, a lot. So much of Jeff Who Lives at Home is improvised dialogue. But, what’s really special about it is that we weren’t improvising comedy. Usually, improvisation is about finding the best joke or the silliest way to get something across. Improvising conflict is always fun because you can just go for it. But, Mark and Jay encouraged us to improvise so much, even in these very dramatic beats and scenes. Judy and I have this big fight scene in a hotel room, and it’s really intense. She just dove right in, too. It’s an exciting way to make a movie.
HELMS: Well, we don’t know if we’ll start filming yet, for sure. Honestly, we’re hopeful and excited, and I think there’s a lot of good energy around it, but we’re not over the finish line, as far as getting it done. But, as far as when it would happen, I don’t know. Really, if we can get everything sorted out, then I imagine it might go quickly, but I don’t really know.
Does that come down to the script or contracts, or something else entirely?
HELMS: I don’t know. I’m a little bit confused, myself. You know, getting any movie made is just like trying to push a giant boulder up a mountain, and there’s so many moving parts. Obviously, there’s the creative side, and then there’s the logistical side, and they’re both colossal. Hopefully, we’ll align them and get it going.
Will this be your last season on The Office, or are you still contracted for more?
HELMS: We’re not officially picked up for next season, by NBC. But, I’m super proud of the show and NBC has certainly been supportive. I think we’re all hopeful to do more great work on the show.
What’s it been like to get to be the office manager?
HELMS: It’s been a blast. I think I was anxious, coming into the season, but then on day one, it was like, “We’re all back. Here we go! We’re diving right in!” We have the best crew on planet earth, and the best cast, and everyone just works their ass off. I’m having a good time doing it. Once we’re there, there’s not a lot of second guessing, analysis, or over-thinking, in a good way. We’re just having a good time trying to be silly.
Are there things that you would like to see happen with your character or on the show, before it’s done?
HELMS: Yes, absolutely! There are those things, and I hope that I’ve been open about that internally. I hope that some of those things align with the writers room’s hopes as well, but we’ll have to see.