For more than ten years, and 200 plus episodes, Rainn Wilson became a household name from his performance as the neurotic, yet oddly loveable Dwight Schrute on The Office.
Now, the 49-year-old actor is ready to put Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. behind him, and step into some new — and slightly more offensive — shoes as the star of Fox's mid-season procedural Backstrom.
"I'm sure we'll get a lot of complaints," Wilson said of his new button-pushing alter-ego Detective Everett Backstrom. "I hope Fox is ready to have people be really angry."
Why the expected outrage? In just the first episode, Wilson's character displays racist, sexist, and homophobic behavior, all while sputtering politically incorrect jabs and borderline-offensive one-liners..
But it was these outrageous character faults that really drew Wilson to the role. "He's so fascinating and interesting and [has] so many facets and texture. I knew it was going to be something I would love to dive into," Wilson said to a group of reporters on the set of Backstrom in Vancouver.
So far the go-to comparison is that if Hugh Laurie's Dr. House decided to start solving crimes, instead of curing patients, we'd have Backstrom. Wilson admitted that he is ready to face these small screen associations, along with the fact that many fans don't want to let the character of Dwight go.
"I know that most people are going to be like, 'Oh, it's Dwight as a cop' or 'Oh, he's always going to be Dwight.' But I'm excited for the challenge," he said.
Wilson confessed that he was not expecting to jump into another TV role as quickly as he did — The Office ended less than two years ago in 2013 — but he was ready to take on the "interesting challenge" of being a leading character.
"Dwight was always driving the B-plot or something like that — doing the comic antics on the side," Wilson said. Now, the actor is "playing a character in a completely different range of colors" he added," an experience that "has been really freeing."
When ETonline asked what would happen if Dwight Schrute and Everett Backstrom were ever in the same room together, Wilson's answer was both harsh and blunt. "I think Backstrom would just shoot him in the face," he said.
Backstrom premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.