Will Forte on Undertaking First Dramatic Film Role


After nearly a decade of acting exclusively in comedy films, Will Forte ventures into the world of drama in Nebraska. Sitting down with ET, he discussed the daunting transition.

Forte is best known for his comedic acting as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, particularly for his character MacGruber, who was featured in a spin-off film in 2010.

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Since first getting onto the big screen in 2004 in Around the World in 80 Days, Forte has only acted in comedies, which made undertaking a dramatic role in the dramedy Nebraska an unexplored frontier for him.

"It was just so different and scary at first," the 43-year-old actor admitted. "Then it got to be really fun after I got it out of my head, but it was nerve-wracking to do something so different."

Although Nebraska is a new adventure for Forte, it's not a complete deviation from his usual acting style. His comedic flair is still preserved in his role of David, who travels through the Midwest with his father (Bruce Dern) to claim prize money the father believes he's won.

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In an era with high-tech cameras, director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) opted to present the film in black and white. The cast was fond of the decision to drain the color from the film.

"I think it was good for the movie. I think it was kind of perfect for it," said June Squibb, who plays Forte's mother. "When you look out [in Nebraska], you see gray, black. It's not a green state; not much in that area is. ... And the people, they tend to dress in greys, and you don't see a lot of bright colors."

With awards season around the corner, the film is rendering a swelling buzz. After its debut screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Nebraska was nominated for the coveted Palme d'Or, which is granted to the best feature film, and Bruce Dern won Best Actor at the festival.

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"I haven't heard anything, except I know that June Squibb...and Bruce Dern really deserve some...notice, I think, because they both delivered...rock-solid performances with depth," Bob Odenkirk (Ross Grant) said of the awards buzz. "It was amazing watching them work."

Watch the video above for more with the cast of Nebraska, which is in theaters November 15.