Seriously, we can’t be the only ones that have noticed this…Looking at the big tent pole movies coming up this year they all seem to have one thing in common- stars that have had recurring roles in the wonderful comedy gem that is Parks and Rec. Is this just a fluke? Just a cosmic alignment that no-one could have predicted? We don’t think so, given the quality of Parks and Recreation- you just have to look at the snappy (often improvised) dialogue, loveable characters and surprisingly touching moments that made up the series to see why it’s provided such a fertile breeding ground for the Hollywood Big Leagues.
Don’t believe us? Then why don’t you see how ‘ya like these apples?…
• TOMORROWLAND- A WORLD BEYOND (out 22nd May 2015):
In Brad Bird (Pixar genius) and Damon Lindelof (Lost)’s new epic a teen and a former boy-genius embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory. Starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie it may have passed you by in the trailer that Kathryn Hann plays one of the main female characters. With plot being carefully kept under wraps it’s hard to say exactly what Ursula, her character will be doing in the mind-bending fantasy blockbuster but it’s safe to say her recurring role as campaign-runner Jennifer Barkley in Parks and Rec put her firmly in the sights of the films makers. With the combination of blunt/well just kind of mean honesty and outrageous physical comedy that she showcased on the series, it was only a matter of time before the big players in Hollywood came calling and it seems turnabout is fair play since she was the one being headhunted this time rather than doing the headhunting herself.
• JURASSIC WORLD (out 11th June 2015):
Probably the biggest hitter that’ll come out in the summer season, Jurassic World is guaranteed to draw in crowds in their millions. It’s a series that has never needed to use A-List actors to pull in ticket sales- think about it…Laura Dern, Sam Neill hell, even Jeff Goldblum have always been viewed as character actors as opposed to big ‘Names’). And following that trend who do we find headlining the latest instalment? Man of the moment Chris Pratt; an actor who has whose starred in every single episode of Parks and Rec as the loveable man-child Andy Dwyer. With great comic timing and an adorable charisma, the Parks and Rec alumni is a great choice for the dino-lead and we couldn’t be more excited for him. The six pack don’t hurt either of course, but since we loved him back before he had it, we’ll let that one slide…and no judgement please.
• ANT-MAN (out 17th July 2015):
Yes, yes we know, he’s starred in a slideshow of comedy movies many of them under the tutorship of comic genius of director Judd Apatow. But Paul Rudd has only just risen to leading man status (rather than being the male lead in an ensemble cast) with the release of Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man (the next from Marvel’s stable of movie hits) and this seems to have come off the back of his turn as the endearing but ineffectual rich boy Bobby Newport in Parks and Rec. Sure, his back catalogue of movie roles is impressive in it’s own right but his role as the political candidate opposing Leslie Knope in Pawnee’s local election revealed his ability to be an antagonist you actually cared about and offered something viewers something they hadn’t seen before from the comic actor. A fact that’ll come in handy when he plays Scott Lang, criminal turned hero in this summer’s main comic book offering outside of The Avengers.
• BLACK MASS (out 25th September 2015):
You may well have seen the just-released trailer for this film showcasing Johnny Depp’s odd new look as a criminal turned FBI informant online. If not, you should. It’s weird. Seriously, weird. What you may not have noticed though is Adam Scott’s major role as Robert Fitzpatrick,the special agent in charge of the FBI that convinced Depp’s Whitey Bulger to inform on his Mafia family and the same man that wrote the memoir the movie based on. That’s right people… Parks and Rec’s nerdy Ben Wyatt is playing the real-life lawman that effectively set all these events in motion. The playmaker. The reason for the movie’s very existence. Which let’s face it ain’t bad for the Star-Wars loving, Leslie Knope living geek who came into the Parks and Rec late on but was loved enough by viewers that he stayed around until the very end.
• THE WALK (out 2nd October 2015):
And finally who’s not excited about the return of directing guru Robert Zemeckis? Branching out from his usual fare into a dramatisation of Philippe Petit’s famous high wire attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in 1974, the film features fan favourite Joseph Gordon Levitt as the titular Frenchman. However it also stars Ben Schwartz as Albert one of the protagonists co-conspirators on the feat- yep that would be Jean-Ralphio, Tom’s ridiculous partner in crime from P&R. Usually to be found doing something hideously expensive and equally ludicrous round and about the city limits of Pawnee, the Parks and Rec funnyman is branching out playing a real life American who filmed Petit during his attempt despite thinking he was crazy for even attempting the feat. And once again the show seems to have propelled one of its guest stars onto the big screen heading your way this summer, taking their small screen talents and expanding them for your movie-going delight.
This can’t just be coincidence, then surely? One you could get away with. Two even. But five and counting?! It looks to us like the movers and shakers in Hollywood have had their eye on Parks and Rec for a while and are borrowing its talent for their own ends. To which we say bravo! Because now that the show has ended, we still want to see these talented guys and gals as much as we can.
So support Parks and Rec! Go to the movies this summer and settle in for a wonderful time watching its contributors ply their trade for your viewing pleasure!