Paul Rudd takes dramatic turn with new Broadway role

Studio 360

Describe Paul Rudd in one word and odds are “charming” just might be it.

Not necessarily in his own eyes, though.

“I would say there’s been a very awkward thread through a lot of the stuff that I’ve done recently,” he said. “And that’s because that’s the way I feel many times throughout my day.”

Rudd returns to the role of awkward father and husband later this month in Judd Apatow’s This is 40, a quasi-sequel to Knocked Up. But he has another role he’s performing in right now, on Broadway, and it’s a bit less familiar for the man who’s become well known for his appearances in Apatow’s comedies.

In the Broadway show Grace, Rudd plays an evangelical businessman who wants to start a chain of Christian-themed motels. There are laughs, but it’s mostly dark and at times difficult.

“I would like to do more dramatic stuff,” he said.

Rudd, though, said he’s willing to wait for the right roles to come his way.

“I don’t want to map it out like, ‘OK, I’ve just done a comedy, now I’m going to really shake it up and play my serial killer role,’” he joked.

Acting for the stage and screen really aren’t that different though, he said.

“It’s all still a big lie,” he joked. “(But on stage) you have to stay in it longer. And there isn’t a safety net.”

In movies, if something happens during taping that he doesn’t like, he can stop the scene and start over. With each on-stage performance, he’s forced to roll with the puncher.

Rudd, who’s from suburban Kansas City, said he fell into acting because of the uniqueness of his heritage.

“Growing up Jewish, with parents from another country, and then also having a sister who was born a couple years after me — I think all of that stuff probably set the table for a career in attention getting,” he said.

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