Offerman and Mullally try their hands at parenting in “The Kings of Summer”


He has a hit NBC sitcom, which she’s turned up in, from time to time.
And every time she’s had a sitcom, he took guest roles on it.
When Megan Mullally did “Saturday Night Live,” naturally Nick Offerman showed up.
And when one takes a movie, be it “Smashed” or “Somebody Up There Likes Me” or the new comedy “The Kings of Summer,” chances are, the other one finds him or herself on set, too, though generally not in scenes together. For veteran scene stealers like Offerman and Mullally — married in real life — pairing them up on camera could get touchy.
“In my house, we call that ‘over egging the pudding,'” Offerman, 43, says of that label “scene stealer.” He’s content to show up for work, land his laughs and be cool about it.
“He’s very NOT-actory,” says his wife of ten years, an Emmy winner who met him on the set of her hit series, “Will & Grace.” You’d think that Mullally might wear “scene stealer” with a bit more pride. Then you remember, she and Offerman share a house. No ‘over-egging the pudding,” there. Be cool.
Take the way they both ended up in Sundance Film Festival fave “The Kings of Summer,” a coming-of-age tale about boys “living off the land” in a shack they build in the woods to get away from characters Film Journal International described as one boy’s “macho, gruff, ultimate tough-love kind of dad (Offerman)” and another’s “hovering, castrating helicopter” mom (Mullally).
“I was signed on and had a meeting with the director,” Offerman recalls. “And I ask Jordan (Vogt-Roberts) ‘Who do you have in mind for this micro-managing Mom? How about Megan Mullally?’ He says, ‘Oh, we could never get her.’ So I said, ‘Let me make a few calls. I think I have an ‘in.'”
Mullally, 54, just sold a series to the Independent Film Channel, “Cute Idiots.” Being “a theater trained actor,” Offerman notes, “she can play most anything. But what they offer her on TV can be a lot of the same sort of thing. Movies let both of us break out and show something different.”
Like Offerman, TV is Mullally’s bread and butter. But if a “Smashed” or “Kings of Summer” (opening Friday) comes up during a TV hiatus, “we both read the script, just to make sure the person thinking of doing it isn’t crazy.” And if one is offered a part, often the other follows because they both like the writing.
Offerman plays gruff and good with his hands in most roles, because “That’s the way he is, in real life,” Mullally says. A woodworker and canoe builder, he has a book — “Paddle Your Own Canoe” — due out from Penguin books in the fall. “It’s one man’s principles for delicious living,” he says. “That should get everybody’s heads on straight.”
Offerman is “ALL man,” Mullally chortles. Not many TV and movie actors have that sort of blue collar, work with your hands background, “and that really shows up in his acting. Just manly, you know?”
Offerman, a natural for the guest role on “Will & Grace” where the two met (he played a plumber) is just as at home as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” a bluff, no-nonsense man of few words who lives by a “wood working,” “weapons” and “welfare avoidance” ethos. The manly mustache and the woodworking are his hook — his “in” with people casting roles for film and TV.
“There’s three big carpenters that Hollywood knows about,” Offerman jokes. “Harrison Ford, Jesus, and myself. And you know, those two guys have had a pretty good run. I’m just hoping to take a ride on their coattails.”
They elected to not have kids on their own, “because in Hollywood, you see kids raised by armies of nannies,” he says. “We thought we’d spare society that.” But they were thrilled to get the chance to do it on the big screen. Mullally was an only child and a ballet dancer, “so I never really rebelled, the way the kids do in this movie. I was too busy working, taking classes, to go to parties and have boyfriends. Well, there was that time my mom found some pot and I had to explain to her what a ‘lid’ was.”
And Offerman?
“I come from a long line of handy people,” he says. “And I must say, looking at the shack these kids build in the woods in ‘The Kings of Summer,’ I’d be proud to have a boy like Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) as a son.
“The house Joe builds is the most astonishing thing built by three teenagers I’ve ever come across. After seeing it, my character, Frank, would certainly encourage his son to go into construction. It’s about to fall down. So he’s born to be a contractor.”

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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