He’s not Ron Swanson anymore.
Nick Offerman, who played the quirky character from “Parks and Recreation,” will debut in a much darker and more dramatic role Thursday as a somewhat sociopathic super-tech CEO on Alex Garland’s Hulu limited series, “Devs.”
He plays Forest, a boss that’s turned his company into a worldwide quantum computing leader — and is suspected for the disappearance of an employee within a covert department called Devs.
Prepping to play Forest, Offerman recalled, was like attending a semester at MIT. He told amNewYork Metro that on the set, Garland would lecture him and fellow cast members on the quantum mechanical “many worlds theory” along with other college physics.
“I could get what he was saying, but then 15 minutes later I would need a refresher,” Offerman said during an interview held at a Guinness pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Brooklyn last week. He confessed to having only “a fraction of the brainpower Alex Garland has.”
“Alex answered a lot of the questions I needed,” Offerman noted, saying that he’s a personal fan of Garland’s film, “Ex Machina,” along with his other works.
Filming for “Devs” over a five-month period, Offerman recalled that he felt “like a kid in a candy store.” But he cautioned that audiences his character may not end up being the kind of role audiences suspect early on in the series.
“Once you find, ‘Oh, here’s why he did all that stuff,’ then it’s a little less certain who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy,” Offerman said. “The morality of certain people’s actions become very murky.”
As far as transitioning from comedy to drama on screen, Offerman’s main focus is simply to work on projects that are well written regardless of genre, he said.
“I really don’t think about it much,” Offerman said in regards to the types of roles he takes on, adding that he’s done a good deal of dramatic work on stage previously.
Playing Forest will also be one of the first times that he’s has a rather lengthy and unkept beard on screen. Offerman personally prefers being bearded when the cameras aren’t a factor.
“I generally tend to look pretty different every time I’m coming up to the plate,” Offerman said. “I don’t like shaving. “However, my wife [actress Megan Mullally] does not enjoy a mouth full of thistles when she wants to get affectionate.”
Offerman said he and Mullally are currently engaged in “a living, working compromise” that regulates when he grows out a beard.
“I’m clean shaven right now, so this is her time,” he joked.