It's not just an act. John Krasinski is easily one of the nicest, most humble actors working in Hollywood. In other words, the real John Krasinski is a short jump from Jim Halpert, the lovable everyman he's portrayed for five years on TV's 'The Office.'

Still, Krasinski's transition from small screen to big hasn't been a cakewalk. His first two starring roles, in the rom-com 'License to Wed' and George Clooney's gridiron flick 'Leatherheads,' were for the most part, critical and box office busts.

Fans will be happy to know the actor turns out his best film yet with 'Away We Go,' a quirky relationship dramedy starring Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as a couple prepping for the birth of their first child. Krasinski told us his take on fame, sex scenes with Rudolph ... and how his life may be one elaborate Clooney prank. It's not just an act. John Krasinski is easily one of the nicest, most humble actors working in Hollywood. In other words, the real John Krasinski is a short jump from Jim Halpert, the lovable everyman he's portrayed for five years on TV's 'The Office.'

Still, Krasinski's transition from small screen to big hasn't been a cakewalk. His first two starring roles, in the rom-com 'License to Wed' and George Clooney's gridiron flick 'Leatherheads,' were for the most part, critical and box office busts.

Fans will be happy to know the actor turns out his best film yet with 'Away We Go,' a quirky relationship dramedy starring Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as a couple prepping for the birth of their first child. Krasinski told us his take on fame, sex scenes with Rudolph ... and how his life may be one elaborate Clooney prank. -- By Kevin Polowy

John Krasinski Photos

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

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    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

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    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

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    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

    Getty Images

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

    Getty Images

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

    Getty Images

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

    Getty Images

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 18: Actor John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Office" panel discussion on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Krasinski

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    Actor John Krasinski attends "Inside the Office" at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Presents "Inside the Office" Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre North Hollywood, CA United States March 18, 2009 Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57002923), contact FilmMagic.com

    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.com

    John Krasinski arrives at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents "Inside The Office" at the Leonrad H. Goldenson Theatre on March 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Presents "Inside The Office" Leonrad H. Goldenson Theatre North Hollywood, CA United States March 18, 2009 Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage.com To license this image (57002257), contact WireImage.com

    Todd Williamson/WireImage.com



Can you describe your reaction to getting the call for this from director Sam Mendes?
I can if you can detail the writing version of having a nose bleed and passing out on the floor of a trailer, and if you can make it look like a crime novel, that's what I looked like ... I was in my trailer for 'The Office,' practicing my looks for the camera in the mirror, and I got a call and Sam said, "I just read the script, and I can't see anyone other than you doing it" ... And yes, there was a small part of me that was like, "Wow, George Clooney is an incredibly complex prankster." He's the kind of guy who could get Sam Mendes to make that call, and then be like, "Remember when your life was awesome? Well, it was all a joke."

But Clooney had nothing to do with it?
I definitely looked outside my trailer because he would also get on set, because he's so charming he just smiles at people and everyone falls on the ground. No, it was awesome, and I actually did talk to George about doing the movie later, and he obviously said it was a no-brainer to do a movie like this and work with Sam.

The opening scene involves you and Maya in bed, with you "down low" under the covers. Who was that more awkward for to shoot?
Definitely for Maya, because I could have been sleeping down there and nobody would know. And here's the thing, Maya wears, very fashionably, four pairs of pants. And, so, she was wearing biker shorts, boxers, granny panties and MC Hammer pants and board shorts [laughs].

Do you think your chemistry came pretty natural, or did you have to work on it a little bit?
Believe it or not, I had known about Maya and there're few people that I like watching perform more. I almost reached stalker status at 'SNL,' I loved being behind the scenes at that show. So I had known her through a mutual friend, but then when we actually started rehearsing, because we got to work on the script together and Sam was so collaborative, we actually started to feel like this was our project ... And honestly, I think Maya's one of the most special people I've ever met, so I was just psyched to have a friend that was this incredible, and on top of it we were doing a movie.

Did you have any hesitation before playing a character named Burt Farlander?
[Laughs] You know what's funny? When I read the name Burt I was like, "Well that just doesn't sound right." It's also hard to tell [writers] Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, "Rename your character for me." But then when you actually get into shooting and rehearsing, it's like, "Of course that's his name!" It was funny, we talked about it throughout the movie that there's this Burt-esque thing that happens later, so the word "Burt" kind of meant this overly positive, almost child-like way to approach things. Sam would be like, "Oh yeah, that's very Burt." But yeah it was awesome playing a guy named Burt Farlander.



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Your first two starring roles in studio movies weren't exactly critical darlings. Did that steer you towards a more independent movie like 'Away We Go'?
All three of these projects that you're referring to are complete gifts from the sky, because they literally fell out of the sky for me. I know it looks like I made the really amazing choice of working on this film, but the truth is 'License to Wed' was a director from 'The Office' who said he really wanted to do it with me, and with 'Leatherheads' George Clooney picked me out of a group of people and I'm not sure how that happened, but he was so incredibly nice to pick me. And then Sam called me for this, so it's not like I had any feeling that I needed to do anything different, I just got incredibly lucky to work on projects like this. And I have to say I had such a blast working on 'License to Wed' and 'Leatherheads.' And working with George taught me all the things that I needed to know about doing a movie like this. Both those experiences were so phenomenal and, yes, this one was just sort of the whole package.

Do you ever get sick of people calling you Jim?
People's big question is always, "Are you going to make a big departure from the show to do movies?" It's like the opposite. It's not something you depart from or break away from, it's something you grasp onto as tightly as you can because, honestly, it's the greatest gift I've ever had in my life. I mean, not only is the show amazing, but for me doing this part, you get to play some funny stuff and some real moments. Steve Carell said it best: Most likely, no matter what any of us go on to do, Steve could win an Oscar, Jenna could become president, they'll still be like, "Oh my god, you're the guys from 'The Office.'" And that to me is a tremendous honor ... Being a part of something that new and original is awesome. So I think [being called Jim] comes with the territory of being on a good show.

You've done 100 episodes of 'The Office' now. Is there anything you think Jim should do?
It's funny, the 100th episode is such a big deal that it kind of caught most of us off guard. I didn't know that we were hitting 100 episodes until like two weeks before and I was like, "Oh my god, that's insane." I thought maybe at most we'd done 48, or something like that. So, I guess two years of my life are just missing and I have no idea where they've gone ... But I think Jim's being content in the office, that probably will come to a head at some point and he will have to decide whether or not he wants to be this guy forever -- if he wants to move up, or away, or something. That's something to explore.

Do you have any advice for people considering interoffice romances?
I say that you can't distinguish between office romances and regular romances. It's the same rules that apply on the street, which is ... buy brass knuckles. No, it's the same rules that apply on the street, which would be, if it's real and it feels legitimate then you have to go for it. You can't set yourself up for disappointment in every way, shape or form by saying, "Oh, we work together, so we can't do this." If it feels really right, then you go for it. But if it's like a weekend fling at a party, you might want to think twice about it.

Are you now shooting a movie with Meryl Streep, or are you done with it?
I'm in the middle of shooting that movie right now. Like I said, I'm going to work with someone good, one of these days I'll work with someone. I'm pretty sure my entire career is a George Clooney prank so I'm making the most of it while it's here. Yeah, I'm working with Meryl now in 'The Untitled Nancy Meyers Project,' which I think is a great title ...

Is she your lover in this movie?
Unfortunately, not. That would be more awkward than being with Maya, I think. I am playing Meryl's daughter's fiancé, so it's a small part, and I love Nancy's movies. I think there's something incredibly uplifting and fun about the way she sees the world, at least in her films. It's fun, and I think when they tell you that all your scenes will be with Meryl or Steve Martin you're like, "Yes! I will do that."

What are the best and worst things about fame?
The movie 'Fame'? [Laughs] I think that it's really a tough question for me to answer, because I'm not Brad Pitt. It's one of those things where you're on a show that's really fun and you're a part of movies. So, this side of fame is just awesome, you know, to be a part of good stuff and be recognized for it is a real honor. But I'm a pretty boring dude otherwise, so I think people kind of forget that I exist.

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