Rainn Wilson has had a varied career in the past 20 years, from his early supporting role in the now-classic Almost Famous to his recent stint as Harry Mudd in the new Star Trek series, but there is one role for which he will always be known best. In fact, in 2018, it feels that the US version of The Office, on which Wilson played the lead role of Dwight, is more popular now than ever before, rightfully taking its place in the pantheon of great comedy series that can be watched again and again.
Wilson’s latest role is Jack Morris in The Meg, the billionaire behind the Mana One project that discovers the prehistoric shark hidden in the ocean’s depths.
“Were you inspired by any real-life huggy billionaires?” I ask.
“I actually learned that he has some billionaire friends,” says his co-star Ruby Rose, who herself was just cast as Batwoman in the Arrowverse.
“I know some billionaires. Billionaires are a real entitled bunch. They’re thinking on another level. They don’t play by the rules of normal people. That’s why they make such great villains,” says Wilson.
As there’s not much to flesh out the character in the script, Wilson took it upon himself to fill in the gaps.
“I thought it interesting to construct Morris’ back story. He’s not a Silicon Valley billionaire. He’s got petroleum interests, mining interests, multi-national shipping interests, lots of business ventures all over the globe. It gives him a different perspective. They also like to be in the news a lot. This Mana One research station that he’s funded—he wants it to get all that attention in the world, and he certainly doesn’t want the bad press of a huge shark eating hundreds of people,” says Wilson.
“What are your relationships with sharks?” I ask.
Rose, who is best known in recent years for her stint on Netflix’s Orange is the new Black and John Wick 2, felt right at home.
“I love them. I’ve always loved sharks. I don’t know if it’s because I was a surer when I was younger, and still am, or whether it was different because we were in Australia and I saw them and heard about them a lot. I just never had that fear that other people have to be innately scared of sharks,” Rose says.
“I don’t have a relationship with a shark. I’ve had a few one-night stands…”
“He won’t get serious. He won’t settle down,” says Rose.
“I can’t get serious with a shark,” says Wilson.
I then ask the most important question of all.
“How would Dwight have defeated the Meg?”
“How would Dwight have defeated the Meg,” Wilson repeats as he ponders. “I think that, if Dwight were a billionaire, he would create a giant animatronic robotic bear. You know how in Pacific Rim they built robots to fight the sea monsters? He would have built a giant grizzly to fight the megalodon. And maybe he would have been inside of it so it would have been like…”
For the next thirty seconds, Wilson acts out the epic battle between a prehistoric shark fighting Dwight K. Schrute in a robotic grizzly outfit, complete with sound effects.
Rose seems impressed.
“Sounds like a good film. I might watch that,” she says.