Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Danny McBride's bit parts

The actor’s smaller parts in ”Pineapple Express” and ”Tropic Thunder” earn big laughs

Posted on

A few years ago, while working as a night manager at a Holiday Inn in Burbank, Danny McBride couldn’t imagine that he’d star in two major studio films opening the same month. ”I had gone to a fortune-teller and she warned me of this, but I didn’t believe it,” deadpans the actor, who has scene-stealing roles as a small-time drug dealer in Pineapple Express and a pyromaniacal special-effects expert in Tropic Thunder. ”I don’t have a head shot,” he says. ”I’ve never really been on an audition. I’ve had the weirdest career path.”

McBride, 31, may just now be thundering into moviegoers’ consciousness, but comedy-world insiders have been talking up the North Carolina native since 2006, when his scrappy comedy The Foot Fist Way began making the rounds. The $80,000, financed-on-credit-cards indie, which McBride co-wrote with a couple of fellow students from the North Carolina School of the Arts, earned the actor A-list fans like Judd Apatow, Ben Stiller, and Seth Rogen for his raucous turn as an arrogant, delusional strip-mall tae kwon do instructor. Will Ferrell and writer-director Adam McKay helped secure the film a theatrical release last May, and though it grossed only $200,000, McBride’s performance made a strong impression. ”I got halfway through it and I thought, I don’t know about this guy,” says Thunder costar Nick Nolte. ”He’s such a good actor, you think he must really be an a–hole.”

McBride just wrapped a big-screen remake of the ’70s TV show Land of the Lost, co-starring Ferrell and due next summer, and is working on an HBO comedy series, portraying a down-on-his-luck baseball player. Given his improbable career, McBride says he has no good advice for up-and-comers. ”Nothing really applies,” he says. ”Go work at the Holiday Inn in Burbank, I guess.”