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20Q: Josh Radnor
  • March 20, 2011 : 20:03
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PLAYBOY: Are you worried your movie could get overlooked because it isn’t pessimistic and negative like some of our most-praised films today?

RADNOR: When Variety reported that my movie had won the audience award at Sundance, it kicked it to the curb and referred to it as a “­sitcom-style comedy” because I’m on a sitcom. That’s just lazy. I thought, Wow, that writer has not seen the movie. The people in the movie have legitimate problems, and they learn to shift their perspective and find grace in the middle of those problems. I’m not a negativity denier, but if negativity comes in, just say hello—don’t fix it a cocktail and ask it to stay.



PLAYBOY: So you’d rather accentuate the positive?RADNOR: A bunch of people at dinner the other night were talking about some TV program about women who go crazy and kill their husbands. I was silent, and maybe I’m a lousy dinner guest, but I said, “I don’t understand why we’re talking about this. There’s just as much great stuff happening in the world as dark and horrible stuff.” I feel if you’re watering a garden, are you watering the weeds or are you watering something more interesting?



PLAYBOY: People who know you as a funny guy on a TV show may read this interview and wonder where that funny guy went.

RADNOR: That character is not me. The more distance I’ve gotten over the past five or six years, the more I feel I’ve grown and changed, the easier it’s been to play this character because it doesn’t feel like me at all. I don’t watch the show much anymore. I have a TV, but I don’t know how to turn it on.



PLAYBOY: Would your high school friends be surprised at how your life and career are turning out?

RADNOR: It’s probably shocking to see someone you grew up with end up in movies or on TV, but it’s not like I was some übernerd who turned into an action star. I was class president, swim team captain and editor of the school paper. I’m still really tight with a lot of high school people.



PLAYBOY: In 2002 you co-starred with Alicia Silverstone in the stage version of The Graduate. She is a vegan and an animal rights advocate; you’re apparently allergic to cats and dogs. How did you two gel?

RADNOR: I found I was not allergic to Alicia Silverstone, if that’s what you’re asking. I accidentally read the book she gave me, The Food Revolution by John Robbins, and that turned me into a vegetarian for about two years. Sorry, though, Alicia; I fell off the wagon.



PLAYBOY: You mentioned on a talk show that you were writing a book, and it sounded autobiographical. Being a fairly young actor, do you figure that some people may prejudge the book as narcissistic, let alone premature?

RADNOR: After I showed my movie at the San Francisco International Film Festival, a guy raised his hand and said, “I’m curious if in any of the feedback for this film, you’ve heard that it’s narcissistic or self-indulgent?” And I went, “Not until right now.” A narcissistic piece is something an audience can’t appreciate because it starts and ends with the person who created it, with no generosity of spirit in it. Making a movie or writing a book is like telling a story around a campfire. If you want to sit around this campfire and hear this particular story, you’re welcome to. If not, there are other campfires.



PLAYBOY: So what’s cooking at your campfire?

RADNOR: I’ve been a little evasive talking about this book because it’s not uncontroversial in some ways. I’ve been writing it for about three years. It will be out this fall. It’s memoir-adjacent, a linked series of essays about things that have happened to me these past few years that have been revelatory and kind of amazing. Meditation is a big part of it, which I’ve been doing for about six and a half years. Let’s say I won’t be going on the Today show to do a five-minute clip. It’s just too complicated to talk about in a sound-bite way.



PLAYBOY: What would your critical, analytical TV-series character make of this book?

RADNOR: I hope you can appreciate there’s this whole other part of my life so much more amazing, exciting and thrilling than Hollywood that I had to write about. It dwarfs anything else. It’s made me realize, in the truest way, what the mystics talked about—that earthly material pleasures crumble and provide no sustainable bliss. They provide an adrenaline rush of acquisition and then they’re gone and you just get more depressed. Maybe a lot of people don’t want to hear that because they’re like, “Fuck you, guy on TV, telling me money doesn’t matter.”



PLAYBOY: When did you last take a big physical risk?

RADNOR: I’m not all that physically courageous. Maybe it’s Judaism or something, but flinging my body into peril is not my idea of a good time. After seeing 127 Hours I was like, “Oh no, I can never go hiking again. I don’t even want to go for a run.”



PLAYBOY: What’s on your immediate must-do list?

RADNOR: I wrote the script for my next movie in four months, and that’s a direction I want to head in. I also hope my performance in Happythankyoumoreplease opens more acting doors. There’s something about this business that’s rigged to keep you always dissatisfied; then I think how it’s statistically impossible to make a living as an actor, yet I’ve been doing it for a long time. By any standard, I have been blessed. Sometimes you just have to stop, take a breath and say, “Where I am is pretty great.”

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read more: Celebrities, magazine, interview, 20q, actor, issue april 2011


  • Anonymous
    He´s someone really special, professionally and personally speaking. I admire his works and hope he keeps his journey sharing his thoughts and feelings with us.