Will Forte is best known for his physical comedy and impressions on Saturday Night Live, where he was a regular cast member from 2002 to 2010. But recently — and not necessarily on purpose — the actor, who got his start with Los Angeles improv troupe The Groundlings, is taking on more dramatic roles, including the upcoming Run & Jump, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20.
“I had never ruled out the possibility but just had never found myself in a position to do something dramatic,” Forte says. “So when I got to see the script it was such a great story, I thought it would be really fun to try to be a part of it.”
Run and Jump follows the story of an Irish wife (Maxine Peake) dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s stroke. Forte plays a neuropsychologist who is studying the man’s progress and observing his mental health.
“Thank god I didn’t have to do an Irish accent,” Forte jokes. “ I have grant money to study this guy so I move out to Ireland and I’m watching him as he goes about his daily routines. And it’s a situation where the family obviously doesn’t want this intruder in their lives but they need the money and they take me in. It’s a really intense experience.”
Forte says director Steph Green gave him a book about neuropsychology to help him prepare for the role. “And I grew a beard!”
Check out the exclusive trailer for Run and Jump (and Forte’s beard) below.
Forte says they shot the film over six weeks in Ireland, his first shoot abroad. He brought his mom along to the set — according to his Wikipedia page this is something that happens quite often — but the idyllic locale lent a different tone to her visit. “I do not put anything in my butt in this movie so that was a nice step for her to get to see.”
Up next for Forte is voicing a new character in the sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and playing the lead in Alexander Payne’s (Election) next film, Nebraska, another role that moves away from his slapstick comedy career. “There is definitely comedy in all his [Payne's] movies, but they come from such a real place that it’s a little different than the kinds of things I’m used to doing,” Forte says.
But could we see a return to the Will Forte that we know in a sequel to 2010 cult favorite MacGruber, based off his popular SNL personality about a low-rent MacGyver? “We are going to make MacGruber 2 for sure,” he says. “Whether we have to do it with a video camera in our backyards – there will be some form of MacGruber 2.”
Forte says they had even discussed putting it on crowdfunding site Kickstarter — way before the Veronica Mars film raised its capital there. “Jorma [Taccone], the MacGruber director, he had the idea to do a Kickstarter like two years ago,” Forte laments. “He kept saying ‘We should do a Kickstarter’ and we were like ‘Yeah, maybe at some point.’ He’s always ahead of the curve. That’s the lesson you learn — always listen to Jorma.”
Whenever the sequel happens, we’ll be there in flannel shirts and mullets.