Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, ...
Credit: George Kraychyk

The Rocker

If the prospect of seeing Dwight from The Office flashing devil horns behind the drum kit of a hair-metal band named Vesuvius amuses you, then congratulations, you’ve just made plans for the first weekend in August. Filmed during Wilson’s hiatus from Dunder Mifflin, The Rocker is the first real box office test for Scranton’s freaky beet farmer (we’ll let My Super Ex-Girlfriend slide). Fortunately, he’s been researching the part for a long time. ”This character is like the guys I went to high school with,” says Wilson. ”If I’d never been given London Calling by the Clash, I’d still be listening to Whitesnake and Ratt too.”

Directed by The Full Monty‘s Peter Cattaneo, The Rocker unspools the teased-hair tale of one Robert ”Fish” Fishman (Wilson), who 20 years earlier was unceremoniously booted from a metal band shortly before they became platinum-selling monsters of rock. Since then, he’s brooded, plotted revenge, and honed his high-hat chops. So when his high-school-age nephew’s emo band, A.D.D., is looking for a new drummer, they give Fish a second shot at rock immortality. Needless to say, bittersweet life lessons are learned along the way. But if that plot sounds an awful lot like Jack Black’s School of Rock, don’t mention it to the director. ”That’s always going to be a comparison, but this isn’t as much of a one-man show,” says Cattaneo. ”And I think our audience will be a little older than just children.”

Still, the comedy’s biggest attraction for fans of The Office — and the art of Acting in general — is to witness Wilson immersing himself in The Method. ”I once read that Brad Pitt builds his characters through his hair,” says Wilson. ”I did the same thing. The wig that I wore, you put that thing on and you can’t help but walk a certain way. Add leather pants to the mix, and you’ve got a whole character.” Somewhere that great Twisted Sister fan Stanislavsky must be smiling. (August 1)

The Rocker
  • Movie
  • 102 minutes