Ed Helms Admits He Didn’t Like His Character in 'Jeff, Who Lives at Home' at First (Video)
The "Office" star told THR that he got 40 pages into the script before he found any redeeming qualities about his character, Pat.
Ed Helms, known for playing the slightly annoying but very well-meaning boss Andy Bernard on The Office, stars in Jeff, Who Lives at Home as Jeff’s (Jason Segel) brother Pat.
Pat is the opposite of his stoner brother who still lives in his mother’s basement. Pat has a job, a wife – and a slightly annoying personality.
When Helms first read the script, written by Mark and Jay Duplass, he didn’t see the appeal of possibly playing this character.
“I got about 40 pages into it or so, and thought, ‘why would I do this movie? This character Pat is reprehensible, I don’t like him,’” Helms tells The Hollywood Reporter. But as he kept reading, he realized that Pat actually had some very good qualities.
“I saw this redemption happening, and I thought, ‘Wow this is actually quite poignant and exciting,’” he says.
In the Paramount Vantage dark comedy, which is also directed by the Duplass brothers, Pat and his brother Jeff end up spending the day together, trying to find out if Pat’s wife (Judy Greer) is having an affair.
“I saw this hunger in him to be a better person and that’s why I was able to latch on to,” Helms says of playing Pat. “I hope that comes across. I hope he’s sympathetic in some way despite how unlikable he is.”
Helms and Segel may both be stars in the comedy world, but they told THR that they didn’t know each other personally before working on Jeff.
“I was a huge fan of Freaks and Geeks, all of his movies, so I went in confident,” Helms says of Segel. “I already liked Jason, I already liked his work.”
Helms adds that they “didn’t do a lot of homework” on building a brotherly bond before shooting. “It was something that we found pretty spontaneously, trusted and just ran with,” he says.
In the film, Jeff firmly believes in destiny and fate, and is convinced that he’s destined to do big things. THR asked Helms if he is a believe in fate.
“I’m much more of a believer in self-actualization, like we are responsible for our direction in life,” he says. “But I do love the question and I think that’s what is exciting and appealing about this movie.”
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