If assertion was to be made that Hollywood actor classifications are largely empty constructs meant to group actors together for auditions and marketing campaigns, Paul Rudd would be exhibit A; all at once, the actor is regular guy and charmer, geek and heartthrob, Shakespearean dramatist and comedy sensation. Of course, if you were to ask him which label he might choose, he just may say something like, worthless loser.
Which is half his appeal, in the first place.
The star of the new comedy, "Our Idiot Brother," and a longline of beloved goofball romps such as "Knocked Up," "Anchorman" and "Role Models," is disarmingly honest about why he's an actor. Sure, it's fun to make people laugh -- and he has a lot of fun, given his success -- and he's very into the art of it, too. But when it comes down to it, Rudd just wants to be liked.
"Why would anyone be an actor if he or she weren't insecure? That's why anybody pursues this kind of work," he tells Playboy in a new interview. And when asked about when actors say they do it for the love of the craft, well, he calls their bluff.
"I hear that all the time, and it's such horsesh*t. That's such a lie," Rudd says. "There's nothing I find more revolting than when I'm watching American Idol and some 22-year-old singer thanks the fans and says he's doing it for them. 'I'm doing it for you guys!' F*cking liar. You're not doing this for your fans. You're doing this because you want to put food on the table for your family, and you want to be loved by strangers so your self-loathing isn't as rampant."
For the star, who is shooting a spinoff to "Knocked Up," in which he'll take lead with on-screen wife Leslie Mann, it comes back to his childhood, as an awkward pimply-faced Jewish kid in a not-so-Jewish area. He'd play the clown, he said, to get by, which made his high school experience only a little bit less torturous.
Even now, the heartthrob that he is, he is no fan of exposing himself in his job -- even if he's done it quite often.
"I have been naked in a lot of my movies. There's something inherently funny about the naked male body, particularly mine. Ryan Reynolds, sure, it makes sense why he'd strip down. But not me. I shouldn't be allowed to," he jokes. "I'm a big fan of movie nudity. A male ass shot is the cheapest and best laugh ever. But it's mortifying to do. When I showed my butt in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, all I could think was, This is going to be up on all those big screens. I was very self-conscious about doing it. But I also have a desperate and deep-seated need to be accepted and liked to make up for my massive insecurities."
Rudd goes on to tell the story of his over-exposed crotch area and the full frontal shot he gave a boom microphone holder during the "Our Idiot Brother" shoot, something he spoke about with Adam Scott in an interview with BlackBook Magazine.
"I had to do a scene where I'm getting painted by Hugh Dancy, and the poor boom guy got an eyeful," he said. "I still feel like he should've gotten extra pay, some kind of severance. He wasn't even our regular boom guy. He was just there for one day."
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