Rainn Wilson, known for playing oddball Dwight Schrute on “The Office,” isn’t the actor most would associate with a superhero movie, but “Super” isn’t a normal superhero movie. Written and directed by James Gunn (“Slither”), the film stars Wilson as Frank, a mild-mannered cook driven to don a costume and wield a wrench to fight crime — with devastating results.
What originally struck your fancy about this project?
My favorite thing is you can’t quite put your finger on what this movie is exactly. It’s a dark comedy, but it’s an adventure. It’s kind of a romance, and then it’s serious. Then there’s weird, animated special effects sequences. It’s a really messed up movie, but it all seems to work. And that’s why I wanted to do it.
Given all those different elements, the movie gives you a lot to play with as an actor.
It’s a rare thing that there’s a part that has so many different facets to it. That was another thing that really excited me: I’m doing a tearful prayer, sobbing, and it’s kind of heartfelt but also kind of absurd at the same time. And the next scene, the finger of God comes down through the ceiling and touches me on the brain. I mean, how many times do you get to do that?
The film gets pretty violent.
You crack people in the skull, their skulls bleed and they pass out in a pool of blood. That’s what really happens. So many superhero movies, you don’t see the violence. You see buildings explode and buses thrown through skyscrapers, but you never see the effects of the violence. It’s all very cartoon-y.
Does Wilson think his character is loony?
The jury is still out for me. And it’s up to the audience to decide if he’s crazy or not. But more importantly, is a superhero a psychopath? Is a vigilante a hero or a sociopath? Just because a guy calls himself Batman and drives around in a bat-car with a bat costume and has the Batcave, why does that make him a superhero? He could be a lunatic. I mean, I don’t want someone doing that in my neighborhood. Do you? I’d rather have the authorities handle it.