Ed Helms, best known for his hilarious role of Andy Bernard on the hit TV series The Office, stars in the comedic film Cedar Rapids. Helms was attracted to the film’s story before the writer, Phil Johnston, had even started the script. “He liked me for it and we had a meeting, and I immediately sparked to it and I immediately sparked to Phil, who I think is a genius, and we were kind of creatively right on the same page,” Helms told Uinterview exclusively. “He went off and wrote the script, which he just nailed, and then of course, as you said, it wound up on the blacklist of the best unproduced scripts. Then we just had the good fortune to get it then set up with Alexander Payne and that is where we are now.”

Helms belives that even though his character, Tim Lippe, is silly, there is more to him than what meets the eye. “He looks at first blush like just a small town rube, but you learn in the movie, his backstory is very heartbreaking,” Helms said, “and you kind of understand maybe why he’s stunted the way he is and why he’s never had so many of the normal life experiences that most of us have had by our mid-30s. So the city of Cedar Rapids really is a baptism by fire for him.”

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Q: Hi Ed! This is Julia from Connecticut. The script for Cedar Rapids was on the list of one of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood. How did you hear about and what spoke to you in the script? - Julia Alkon

Well, I actually arrived on the story before a script even existed. Phil Johnston, the writer, had this idea, he liked me for it and we had a meeting, and I immediately sparked to it and I immediately sparked to Phil who I think is a genius, and we were kind of creatively right on the same page. He went off and wrote the script, which he just nailed, and then of course, as you said, it wound up in the blacklist of the best unproduced scripts. Then we just had the good fortune to get it then set up with Alexander Payne and that is where we are now.

Q: Thanks. Did you model your character after anyone in particular? And what was the most fun scene for you to shoot? - Julia Alkon

No... he’s clearly an archetype that I think we can all understand, but there’s more going on thanks to [writer] Phil’s very layered writing. Tim Lippe, this character, is much more than he appears. He looks at first blush like just a small town rube, but you learn in the movie, his backstory is very heartbreaking and you kind of understand maybe why he’s stunted the way he is and why he’s never had so many of the normal life experiences that most of us have had by our mid 30’s. So, the city of Cedar Rapids really is a baptism by fire for him.

Q: Hey Ed! This is Alexa from New Jersey. You had such great chemistry with Anne Heche in Cedar Rapids. What was your most memorable moment with her? - algree03

Well, I think kind of from a poignant acting standpoint, we have a very cool dinner scene where we kind of connect. I think Anne just brings so much warmth to this very morally ambiguous character, but it’s so, I don’t know, it’s so real. And there’s something that I think a lot of people can relate to and understand in her character. There’s also a very, kind of saucy, pool scene that is very memorable for me because I’ve never done anything like that and it was a lot of fun, and kind of scary shooting. It took us two days to shoot that, so that’s sort of teased in the trailer, but there’s much more going on there than you see. There’s no room in comedy for pride or dignity, they just get in the way. So I was gung ho, and I really feel like to the extent that there is nudity in this movie, it’s used well. It kind of helps sell how scared and timid and sort of emotionally naked the character is.

Q: Thanks. Who do you think would win in a battle of wits, Tim Lippe or your character on The Office, Andy Bernard? - algree03

Wow, that’s an interesting question. I think they might actually hit it off. As far as a battle of wits goes, Andy Bernard probably has more life experience, obviously he went to Cornell, so he’s more educated than Tim Lippe. But I actually… they’re sort of opposites in a way. One is incredibly timid and the other is very bold and kind of in your face, and I think that they might actually sort of fit together nicely as a pair.