Zach Galifianakis isn’t crazy, he just plays someone who is on the big screen. In his latest film, the offbeat “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” the actor/comedian stars as the dysfunctional-yet-wise Bobby, who meets and counsels a depressed teenager in an adult psychiatric ward. Galifianakis chats with Metro about why it was the perfect role for him (“It was real easy”) and why it wasn’t (it seems like he was allergic to his costume).
When he’s not currently filming (“The Hangover 2” is in production now) or promoting (he stars in the HBO series “Bored to Death,” now in its second season, and “Due Date” is in theaters in November), Galifianakis likes to be at his farm in North Carolina.
“I ride around on my tractor. I planted a magnolia tree. I planted a walnut true and put some fertilizer down,” he says about his summer off. “I go through periods where I act for 15 hours a day and get very little sleep. And then I sleep. I was asleep all summer.”
He decided on “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” due to directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (“Half Nelson”).
“The truth is, I have admiration for the filmmakers — for Anna and Ryan. I had seen their other films and when they asked me to be in this one, I was flattered because I was looking to do a more thoughtful and subtle story,” says Galifianakis on what attracted him to the role of Bobby. “The location is another thing — it’s pretty specific that it’s a mental facility. That alone creates a good story — when the characters are forced to be together and are kind of downtrodden. It’s an automatic, good story.”
He’s (kind of) ashamed to admit it, but Bobby wasn’t much of a stretch.
“It was real easy to play. I don’t know if that’s a great reflection on me,” he muses. “He needed to be a wise, sage-like person who also was in his real life kind of shaky. Not that I’m that. I’m not that at all. I’m not shaky and I don’t know how wise I am. But as far as the mannerisms, that was easy. I like the nonverbal aspect of the character.”
As it turns out, a costume of a sweater and drawstring hospital pants isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.
“The drawstring was really, really nice but the sweater broke my skin,” he says. “It was really heavy and cutting — it was like wearing insulation that you find in your attic. It was awful. And, well, I’m allergic to wool, so that didn’t help the situation.”