Although Gary Cole had a big shoot-'em-up summer playing a drug lord in Pineapple Express, you probably still know him best as Lumbergh, the droning, officious boss in Office Space.
His latest movie, Forever Strong, puts him in a more dramatic light. Cole plays real-life rugby coach Larry Gelwix, whose unconventional training and character building methods have proven successful for his Highland Rugby team for years.
We asked Cole whaaaat's happening (couldn't resist), and he gave us the scoop on his heartthrob male co-stars, his take on Office Space vs. Pineapple Express and his rivalry with Gary Coleman.
Cinematical: What made you decide to do a dramatic sports movie?
Gary Cole: You know, I'm a sucker for a good sports movie, and this had all those elements. But also, rugby is pretty unusual for American audiences. It's a true story -- this is a real guy who I met. He's actually in the film as a referee, a little cameo. But his team has dominated this region for a long time. There must be a reason that they have the best rugby players in Salt Lake City. I was a wannabe athlete -- I played a little football -- so I've had several coaches.
Cinematical: Do you have a favorite sports flick?
GC: I have several! The Natural, I'm a big fan of Miracle about the U.S. hockey team and then there's the comedies -- I'll throw Dodgeball in there and be biased because I was in it. [Laughs] I'm easy -- if it's got sports in it and it half-way works, I kinda like it because I'm a sports fan.
Cinematical: You were a fiercely inspirational coach in this -- who's your favorite movie coach of all time?
GC: I'll go to one of my favorite movies -- The Natural. Wilford Brimley as the manager of the New York Knights ... I just think it's hysterical. I've heard that he's surly -- he was surly in the character, too. He was natural.
Cinematical: Your co-stars, Sean Faris and Penn Badgley, get so much attention from press and the ladies, did it ever make you wish you'd been a teenage heartthrob?
GC: Well, I'm afraid that ship has sailed now, hasn't it? [Laughs] I never really got in front of a camera until I was 30 years old. These guys have been working, plus it's so different now -- the amount of coverage and the media. It's just a different world. I like how I evolved. I started in the theater and then gradually kind of trickled in to television and was lucky enough to get into some movies that had some kind of success. I'm just looking to survive the next 10 years and kind of casually fade into the distance. [Laughs]
Cinematical: What role do people recognize you for the most?
GC: Well, probably Office Space. I get a lot of Lumbergh traffic. It's fine though -- who knew this little movie would have this kind of life after it. It didn't do that well in the theater -- it didn't lose money because it didn't cost anything to make, but it was pretty much gone quickly. But it's lasted. It doesn't hurt me! At least if people don't know who I am and they say that, it's like "Oh yeah!" It keeps me near the radar.
Cinematical: Between Office Space and Pineapple Express, which do you think will be the bigger cult classic?
GC: I don't know because technology has exploded since Office Space -- it's 10 years old, that movie. And Seth [Rogen] and [James] Franco are so popular, that's only going to feed on it. You know it'll have a big video life -- it has a chance to do the same thing and stay in people's memory.
Cinematical: Potheads aren't known for their short-term memory. [Laughs] Or their activeness. Kind of surprising that Pineapple Express did so well in theaters, huh?
GC: [Laughs] Yes! They actually had to get in the car and get to the theater! [Laughs] To think that all those people were driving!
Cinematical: Do you have a favorite guilty pleasure movie?
GC: I love Starsky & Hutch with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Any time that comes on ... it's like The Godfather for me. I can't seem to turn it off. It just cracks me up -- I see Ben in that sweater and that wig and I start to chuckle. And Snoop Dogg rules in that! [In his best Snoop Dogg voice:] "I even know more about grass." That's my favorite line.
Cinematical: Are you aware that if you type in "Gary Cole" on IMDb, Gary Coleman's name pops up before yours? Have you two ever met, and is there any animosity there?
GC: [Laughs] We are often confused for one another ... I think it's the resemblance first of all, not necessarily the name. No, we've never met -- I've never even seen him from a distance. Which might lead you to believe ... we're never actually, you know ... have you ever seen us in the same location? No. I don't know what that says to people, but ... [Laughs] We go up for the same roles often, but it's a professional courtesy that we extend to each other.