Wednesday, 12 June 2013

10 Essentials: Rainn Wilson

No longer Dwight Schrute, The Office star talks about sexy custom vans, sad men with guitars, and Vitamix

Rainn Wilson's tastes tend toward the moody: indie singers, burnout actors, film noir. Not what you might expect from the man who for nine seasons starred as Dwight Schrute, the nitpicky, egomaniacal assistant manager on The Office. Or the funny guy whose media website, SoulPancake, hosts a talk show where he asks actors things like, "If you had a magic bus, where would you go?" and, "Draw a picture of your soul." Wilson's site is also home to the Internet's favorite child politician, Kid President—the black third grader who met Obama in the Oval Office—and a slew of other original content. So Wilson's creativity will clearly outlive Dwight…but in what form?

Wilson is reticent to say. Now is a fresh phase, and he's excited to do something new. There are indie film projects he's involved with, and he starred in a pilot for the CBS crime drama Backstrom, as an offensive criminologist whose only commonality with Dwight is that he's also a curmudgeon. He'd also like to get back to New York theater, where he got his start in acting at NYU. But in the meantime, the former Mr. Schrute told us about Orson Welles, swaggy custom vans, and his mini-guitar.

1. 1970s Custom Van
"When I came up with the idea for Metaphysical Milkshake, it was mostly an excuse for me to make a custom van. I've been in awe of them ever since I was a child in the '70s—there's such an air of mystery, like, 'Wow, anything could go on in the back of one of these things.' We're not completely done, but I love it. It's an awesome feeling to tool around town in this mysterious, sexy custom van, and we use it for the talk show."

2. Jura Espresso Machine
"Oddly enough, I quit caffeine a few years back, so I drink decaf Americanos with steamed almond milk. Brian Baumgartner from The Office recommended this machine, and it's really phenomenal. The coffee is really strong, and it's completely automatic—you just touch a button. You don't have to touch grounds or anything like that."
3. Orson Welles
"He was pure rock 'n' roll, you know? He burned out really young and degraded into a hollow shell of himself. There's a brilliant picture book called Orson Welles at Work that I keep on the coffee table in the TV room, and I flip through it every once in a while for inspiration. He's a legend—not just as a filmmaker, but the idea of him. He embodies the middle of the night of the twentieth century: this boy-wonder enfant terrible artist, who is also a raconteur and a drunk and a bombast.
4. Vitamix
"At least half of all commercials talk about appliances that change people's lives, but Vitamix has really changed mine. It's a supercharged blender. You put whatever you want in there—frozen kale, blueberries, almond milk, peanut butter, protein powder, maybe a carrot or an apple—and make incredible smoothies. I drink them every day. They haven't actually helped me lose weight, but they are sure delicious and good for ya."
5. Little Martin Guitar
"I've played rather mediocrely for twenty years, just for my own pleasure. The mini-Martin has an amazing sound—it's halfway between a guitar and a ukulele, and there's a little case for it for traveling. It's got a great sound and you can thrash on it, and it's only like $300 bucks. What kind of music do I play on it? Well, that dovetails into my next essential…"
6. Songs Played By Sad, Intelligent Men With Guitars
"Nothing is more satisfying to me than a really depressed, intelligent dude singing a song with his guitar. I love Elliot Smith, Conor Oberst, Josh Ritter, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, Lumineers, the Head and the Heart. All those really depressed, hyper-intelligent white dudes."
7. R.M. Williams Boots
"These are slip-on boots cut from one piece of leather, from Australia. I've had the same pair for seven years, and I've hiked in them from Israel to Haiti to Scotland to Hawaii. You can dress them up or wear them in a mudslide, and they're just really simple and classic. Would Dwight Schrute wear them? No, because they don't have laces and he would think they're like old-man slippers."
8. Chess
"I want to take chess out of the nerd basement—bring the sexy back to it. I play it all the time—I've got the app on my phone, I play with friends and strangers. I was on a chess team in high school, and I play with my eight-year-old son. Do I let him beat me? Afraid not."
9. Ditto Glasses
"I had a pair of these for three years before I lost them, but I went out and bought the exact same pair. So I've been wearing the same pair of sunglasses for the past five years. I wear their regular frames, and they make for awesome glasses, too."
10. Haiti
"It's a country, you know, and this charity I started working with called the Mona Foundation supports five schools down there, so my wife and I went down before the earthquake, and we've been down about five times now. I just love it—the people are great, and it's a beautiful place with amazing art, music, and culture. It's a difficult and damaged place too, but it really gets under your skin."

No comments:

Post a Comment