Famed for his role as Dwight Schrute, the quirky beet farmer and assistant (to the) regional manager in the U.S. adaptation of The Office, Rainn Wilson recently unveiled his inner turmoil while shooting the hugely popular sitcom. Regardless of its worldwide recognition and sustained popularity, Wilson confessed to being “mostly unhappy” during his tenure on the show.
From 2005 to 2013, Wilson brought to life one of the most memorable characters in television history. Dwight’s offbeat personality, obsessive dedication to rules, and unique relationship with his coworkers made him a standout character in the series, which was an adaptation of Ricky Gervais’ UK-based comedy. Yet, underneath the success and the character’s fan-favourite status, Wilson was wrestling with a sense of discontentment.
The revelation was made on Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast, where Wilson candidly opened up about his time on The Office. Despite the sitcom’s huge popularity, he spoke of his anxieties about his career trajectory. He confessed, “When I was in The Office, I spent several years really mostly unhappy because it wasn’t enough. I was making hundreds of thousands. I wanted millions, and I was a TV star, but I wanted to be a movie star. It was never enough.”
Wilson further expressed regret about not fully enjoying his time on the Emmy-nominated show, working alongside esteemed actors like Steve Carell, Jenna Fisher, and John Krasinski, under the guidance of acclaimed directors like Paul Feig. “I was thinking about, ‘Why am I not a movie star? Why am I not the next Jack Black or the next Will Ferrell?'” he pondered, indicating a longing for broader opportunities.
This sentiment echoes a previous interview in 2022, where Wilson spoke about his desire to be recognised for roles beyond Dwight Schrute. “Listen, obviously, most people know me from The Office, and they always will, and that’ll be on my tombstone. My epitaph will be, ‘The guy who played Dwight.’ But I did dozens and dozens of roles before I played Dwight. I’ve played dozens of roles after Dwight.”
So, of all his dozens of roles, which would Wilson most like to be remembered by? According to the actor, “I would say my favourite role, or one I would love to be remembered for, is the movie Super by James Gunn.” The 2010 comedy-drama saw Wilson take up the superhero mantle but with agonisingly tragic and gruesome results.