50th Anniversary: Mullally/Offerman Outtakes
Well, it's finally here. After months of blood, sweat, tears and pleading phone calls, Back Stage's 50th Anniversary Issue is on stands now. One of the things we wanted to do for this issue was feature conversations between collaborators. To that end, I had the opportunity to speak to some of my favorite people.
One of the best days I had was driving up to Ojai to interview Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, a longtime couple who now play former spouses (who still can't keep their hands off each other) on "Parks and Recreation." They were on vacation celebrating their wedding anniversary, yet took time out to talk to us. You can read the dialogue here, but there were some great moments that had to be cut for space, which I've included after the jump. They include how Mullally knew Offerman was going to get the "Parks" job, and how Rainn Wilson was a sort of career model for him.
Back Stage: Do you ever work on scenes together?
Mullally: Yeah, we do.
Offerman: And if we have time, we try to read each other’s scripts when we’re considering offers.
Mullally: We really worked on nicks’ audition scenes for “Parks and Rec” together, I gave him a lot of my thoughts. I’m really bossy.
Offerman: And I’m canny enough to listen.
Mullally: I did. Aside from our wedding, the happiest day of my life was when Nick got that job. Sometimes I ‘m a little bit psychic, and I had written on a Post-It Note months before that he would get that job. When it became official, I’ve never been happier.
Offerman: For years, we’ve been watching “The Office” and Rainn Wilson is someone I met years ago because we audition for the same kind of stuff. You know, The Weirdo in the Basement—is he funny, or is he going to kill our children? Those kind of parts. So seeing him go from “Six Feet Under” and then Dwight Schrute, that was the closest thing to a successful path I could envision for myself. So I would watch that show and think, “If I could just get something like this…” When “Parks and Recreation” came out, I had just worked with Amy Poehler at UCB in New York and, unbeknownst to me, [creator] Mike Schur had a thing for me from this one “Office” audition; he went home and wrote my name down. It took a long time for me to finally get the part from NBC, they wanted somebody older, so when it finally happened, it was an unbelievable dream sequence.
Mullally: I knew it was going to happen, though, I just knew.
Back Stage: Nick, I’ve heard you say before that you learned a lot about handling fame graciously from Megan?
Offerman: Absolutely. One easy example is when we were first together, we were in New York and going to Letterman. We were running a little late and got to the studio and got out and there were maybe five people who wanted an autograph and Megan stopped to sign autographs. And smoke was coming out of my ears, I was like, ‘You’re late for Dave! What are you doing?” And she said, “Look, Letterman’s going to be fine. If it wasn’t for these people who want my autograph, I wouldn’t be on Letterman and have this fancy job.” It was such a simple lesson, but it comes back to me so frequently now. Of course, if it weren’t for the people who love the show, I’d still be shoveling blacktop.
Back Stage: You’ve both created such seminal characters; do you find people approach you a lot?
Offerman: I’m astonished at the difference between film and TV actors; when you’re in people’s living rooms, they gain a sense of propriety where they think, “You’ve been over to my house!” So some people really don’t have a sense of boundaries, so they’ll come up and grab you or punch you or do things they think you would appreciate because Ron would appreciate it. I’ve had people send over a rasher of bacon to my table. Megan used to get martinis sent to her and she’s never had a martini in her life.
Mullally: The first years we were a couple we’d go to the Emmys or something and people would be so familiar with me, it would throw Nick off. It was kind of shocking when you’d see it at first.
Offerman: It’s very odd to have strangers come up to your wife to spank her. They’d think, “She’ll think it’s hilarious!” Because Karen would love it. I did not appreciate it.