People In Film | John Krasinski

John Krasinski | PROMISED LAND's Founding Father

John Krasinski's creative energies are the very lifeblood of PROMISED LAND, the new film about a Pennsylvania farming community facing an uncertain future as a large energy company seeks to drill natural gas on its land. He is both the movie's screenwriter (along with Matt Damon) and one of its leading men, playing the mysterious eco-activist Dustin Noble. Krasinski originated the project, as he wanted to tell a contemporary American story about issues of community and identity amid economic struggle. Krasinski worked with novelist and activist Dave Eggers (who wrote Focus Features' 2009 hit AWAY WE GO, which also starred Krasinski) to create the story for the film, and the actor then co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Damon, who also plays the other lead role in PROMISED LAND. “John has got this incredibly fast brain,” enthuses Damon. “So the writing would come quickly and we would laugh together. It reminded me of writing with Ben Affleck [on Good Will Hunting], a very similar feeling and above all else a lot of fun – I’d forgotten just how much.” While both Krasinski and Damon are both known primarily as actors, PROMISED LAND demonstrates that Krasinski, just like Damon – who won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting – is not simply a handsome matinee idol but also a smart, socially engaged writer. On the acting side, Damon also feels PROMISED LAND shows Krasinski finding a new level: “People are going to be surprised by John. He’s playing someone who has his own story to tell. I’d come away saying, ‘This guy is amazing,’ even though I already knew him.” Though PROMISED LAND may both win him more admirers and surprise existing fans, for Krasinski the film is first and foremost about the important and very prescient story that it tells. “Audience members will make their own decisions regarding the issue [of natural gas drilling], but our goal is to affect moviegoers – with emotion and humor – in dramatizing these characters making their decisions and facing up to challenges both internal and external,” says Krasinski.

John Krasinski | All-American Boy

Fresh-faced, handsome, affable and disarmingly down to earth, John Krasinski is the current generation's all-American boy next door, an everyman in vein of stars like Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks. Born into a medical family (his father an internist, his mother a nurse) in Newton, Massachusetts, Krasinski seemed on track to become an English teacher, and indeed deferred his entry to Brown University in order to teach in Costa Rica. Though the shortest of three brothers at 6’3”, Krasinski recalled to Time, “I was insane enough to think that I was going to play basketball in college. And when I got to college, I ...had a reality check. Literally as I was going across campus back to my dorm that day, I ripped off a little flyer that said AUDITION FOR SKETCH COMEDY GROUP, and I thought, 'That would be a good way to spend my time.' ” And so it proved. In high school he'd appeared in a satirical play with his old class mate (and future collaborator on The Office) B.J. Novak, but Krasinski now moved from dabbling in theatre to actively pursuing it, studying playwriting and excelling as a member of the Out of Bounds sketch comedy troupe. After graduating with honors, Krasinski moved on to study at the Eugene O'Neill National Theatre Institute in Waterford, Connecticut and from there went to New York City, where he worked as a waiter and tried to establish himself as an actor. While still at Brown, he'd played a tiny part in David Mamet's moviemaking satire State and Main, and he now picked up bit parts on TV shows like Ed, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But it was not until 2005 that his TV career took off, when it took off in a huge way.

John Krasinski | That Guy From The Office

John Krasinski has said that, regardless of what he, Steve Carrell and Jenna Fischer – or any of their fellow castmates – do in the rest of their careers, they will always be known primarily for The Office, NBC's long-running, one-camera workplace sitcom based on Ricky Gervais' BBC hit laffer of the same name. For Krasinski, the role of Jim Halpert, the laidback and likeable sales rep from Dunder Mifflin, was a perfect fit and allowed the actor to demonstrate his relaxed, unmannered charm. Ironically, at the start it seemed like The Office would be anything but a success and Krasinski admits he anticipated returning to waiting jobs: “For a while, we were all thinking about applying to a restaurant close to the studio, so that at a moment's notice we could go work over there. I remember thinking, 'We get a DVD of this, right? At least I can prove to my mom that it happened.'” Eight years on from its premiere, though, The Office is an American comic institution, and still on TV. In simple terms, the show made Krasinski's career: in addition to winning him two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2007 and 2008, it made him a perennial fan favorite and his popularity quickly grew to where he was being sought for movie roles whenever he was not shooting The Office. (He makes films both in the show's off-season and on weekends.) But though he has also been taking big-screen roles since 2007, Krasinski stresses that he has never wanted to “trade up” and leave The Office. He told Moviefone, “People's big question is always, 'Are you going to make a big departure from the show to do movies?' It's like the opposite. It's not something you depart from or break away from, it's something you grasp onto as tightly as you can because, honestly, it's the greatest gift I've ever had in my life.”

John Krasinski | A Fun Approach to Films

After cutting his teeth in Hollywood with smaller roles in movies like Kinsey, Jarhead, Dreamgirls, and The Holiday, John Krasinski became a leading man on the big screen in 2007 when he appeared in the romantic comedy License to Wed. Since then, he's been a go-to guy for crowd-pleasing comedies, ranging from the George Clooney-directed period football romcom Leatherheads (in which Clooney and Krasinski battled for the affections of Renee Zellweger) to contemporary confections like It's Complicated, Something Borrowed and Big Miracle. Krasinski also has a penchant for animated work – having voiced characters in the 'toon hits Monsters vs Aliens and Shrek the Third and had a guest spot on the TV show American Dad – and has shone in indie movies such as the stoner comedy Smiley Face and the 2012 romantic drama Nobody Walks, in which he appears alongside PROMISED LAND co-star Rosemarie DeWitt. Arguably his defining role outside of Jim Halpert was Burt Farlander in Sam Mendes' AWAY WE GO, a sweet-natured comedy drama about two expectant parents, Burt and Verona (Maya Rudolph), who go on a road trip in advance of their child's birth. Krasinski, his shaggy hair and beard making him look a far cry from his usual clean-cut image, excelled as Burt (Rolling Stone's Peter Travers called him “absolutely extraordinary”) and had great chemistry with Rudolph, with USA Today's Claudia Puig declaring that the pair were “one of the most appealing and believable screen couples to star in a romantic comedy. Not only do they project terrific chemistry, but they adeptly switch between broad comedy and poignancy, sometimes in the same scene.” When asked whether he intends to leave comedy for more serious roles, Krasinski says, “I'm really not feeling one way or the other with comedy or drama, I'm just sort of doing projects that I've been finding really fun to be a part of.”

John Krasinski | Stepping Behind the Camera

While moviegoers may be surprised to see John Krasinski listed as both the writer and producer of PROMISED LAND as well as one of its stars, he already has shown considerable talent behind the camera. Krasinski has directed three episodes of The Office since 2010, but more importantly made a splash in 2009 with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a big-screen adaptation of the late David Foster Wallace's book of short stories which Krasinski wrote, directed and produced. Krasinski, who is an avid reader, claims that he made the film as a great admirer of Wallace's work, rather than as an aspiring auteur. “I never had the directing bug,” he told AMCTV's blog. “I wasn't trying to be a director or a writer. But the book is so good, and I wanted people to know about this world that they were missing. It's some of the best material around.” Krasinski was extremely nervous about what other Wallace fans would make of his take on Brief Interviews, but was extremely heartened that – shortly before the writer committed suicide – Wallace gave him his blessing for the film, Krasinski describing it as “such a huge boost to me, in a way I can't even begin to describe.” The film debuted in competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where critic Neil Miller of Film School Rejects called it “one of the best first time directorial efforts that you are going to see all year” and describing Krasinski as “[j]ust the sort of new voice telling an ambitious new story in a unique way that has fueled the success of the Sundance Film Festival for the past 25 years.” In USA Today, Claudia Puig was equally impressed, saying that “Krasinski clearly has the makings of an assured director, deftly inter-weaving inventive visuals with documentary-style footage. Kudos to him for tackling something this risky his first time out. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men is an insightful, sharply written and unsettlingly amusing exploration of the darker elements of masculinity.”

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