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In The Five-Year Engagement, Chris Parnell plays a Michigan-based stay-at-home dad who spends his free time hunting and knitting unbelievably ugly sweaters. Parnell’s character, Bill, befriends Tom (Jason Segel), who has just moved to Michigan from San Francisco with his fiancé, Violet (Emily Blunt).
Parnell, who starred as a Saturday Night Live castmember from 1998 through 2006, is known for his memorable character acting, and brings another quirky character to life in Universal’s romantic comedy, opening in theaters April 27.
“He’s a weirdo, which always appeals to me,” Parnell says of his character. “It’s a chance to explore some sides of myself that I haven’t before, as a hunter and a knitter.”
Co-written by Segel and Nicholas Stoller (who also directed the film), Five-Year Engagement stars Segel and Blunt as a happy couple who get engaged, but then delay their wedding when they move to Michigan for Violet’s job. The wedding continues to get pushed back as the fiancés deal with more and more strain on their relationship.
Parnell, who got the part after doing a couple table reads, tells The Hollywood Reporter that he likes Bill because “he’s an oddball.”
The former 30 Rock actor also tells THR that some of the most memorable wedding planning scenes involving Segel, Parnell and Brian Posehn were not originally in the script, but were later added into the film.
“I think that came as a result of sort of seeing us do our thing with Jason, and kind of liking that combo,” says Parnell.
As for working with Segel, Parnell praises the actor for being a “genuinely good guy,” despite his rapidly growing success.
“[He retains] a sense of being a normal person, and just being nice and really generous with the comedy that’s going on, and not being proprietary about the jokes, wanting me to be funny, and Brian to be funny,” Parnell says.
Watch THR’s interview with Chris Parnell above.
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