Mad Men
The Rich Sommer Interview

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"He Wants To Be A Guy, But Also Wants To Be A Man"
CB: I'm not just saying that because it's sort regarded as the Holy Grail of comedy or anything, but as far as the format and genre go. RS: Well, it is as far as I'm concerned. [both laugh] Definitely something in that format…I love that kind of dry delivery style. I think the basic thing is that I thought sketch comedy or maybe like sitcoms were where I was going to end up, and as I went and progressed, I realized that my performance style tends towards the natural, and towards the kind of real, and based on that it's hard for me to…I've auditioned for plenty of sitcoms, and it wasn't clicking, because it never felt like I was able to be as wacky as they wanted me to be. With The Office, you're still rooted in reality, in actual discourse. Something that I learned at UCB is that one of the most fun people to be in an improv scene is the person…there's usually the crazy person and the non-crazy person. I always thought the goal was to be the crazy person, but I found out how much fun it is to be the non-crazy person, who simply called out all the crazy stuff that was happening. That's like John Krasinski on The Office, when he's like, "That's not a good thing to do." That's where all the humor is. CB: So you're not a three-camera kind of guy. RS: Um…I would take any job! CB: [both laugh] Well, every actor would probably give that disclaimer. RS: Sure. But that's not really where I think my strong suit is. CB: So acting-wise, as far as being on the radar, you sort of came out of nowhere into The Devil Wears Prada. That was your big break, I guess, right? RS: Yeah. CB: So how did you get the part? RS: That was a very weird thing. It was actually the summer before I was getting married -- my wife-to-be and I had gone to Minnesota for a few months, to get ready and just to be out of New York. I was teaching acting at a summer camp in Fargo -- it was a performing-arts camp called Trollwood, which was just a few miles from where I'd gone to college, so I knew some of the people running it, and that's how I got the job. My cell phone rang after one of my classes and my manager said, you know, there's an audition for the film adaptation of the book The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep is in it, we'd love if you could send a video. I went to a friend's house to shoot the video, and his roommate was having a party, and I was like, we'll shoot it in a little bit. And then it was like, nine-thirty at night, and I was like, oh, crap, we haven't shot that thing yet, we gotta shoot it now. And at this point, I had been indulging at the party as well, so my audition tape, which was sent to the casting people, featured me with a bottle of beer in my lap and a plate full of pork chops, which I was, like, eating seriously as the audition was going on, and for some reason they loved me and asked me to come out, and they cast me at the callback, which was like, outrageous.

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