By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - John Krasinski is best known for playing the handsome, affable salesman Jim Halpert on the hit TV series "The Office," but that could change as the versatile actor tackles new projects, including writing two new scripts.
The Massachusetts native will appear on the big screen in the 3D animated film "Monsters University," which opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, providing the voice for "Frightening" Frank McCay in the prequel to the Pixar and Disney 2001 hit movie "Monsters, Inc."
He also has a guest role on the Internet video streaming service Netflix's revival of the Emmy-winning series "Arrested Development."
Krasinski, 34, spoke to Reuters about the creative process, achieving hero status and how hard it has been to leave "The Office," which ended its nine-year run last month.
Q: After playing Jim Halpert for so long was it difficult to take on the characters in "Monsters University" and "Arrested Development"?
A: It was fun to do both those roles but they were small, fun roles ... For me it was just supporting two things I love so much.
I think "Arrested Development" is one of the best shows ever on television, so I was just honored to be a part of that in any way. And it is exactly the same with 'Monsters University.' Not only am I a fan, but my nieces and nephews are bigger fans than I am, so it is the first time in my career that I reached hero status in their eyes.
Q: You've worn a lot of different hats in your career. You're an actor, writer, director, film producer. Do you prefer one job over another?
A: I really prefer acting over everything else. I think acting for me is the most fun. It is what I did from the beginning. All these other avenues have been fascinating roads to go down but, for sure, acting is the most fun.
Quickly I am falling in love with writing and producing and all of it just because it is nice to be part of the process. The business is changing rapidly, so to be a part of the development of new ideas, new shows, new movies is really exciting, and to work with a whole bunch of different talent.
Q: You co-wrote the film "Promised Land" with actor Matt Damon. Do you plan to do more writing in the future?
A: I am writing two scripts right now. I got hooked. As soon as I did it with him I wanted to do it more and more. It is a lot of fun to sit down and write. It is challenging, but it is so exciting - to have the power to create characters and worlds, rather than to just read scripts that are sent to you.
Q: Can you reveal what the scripts are about?
A: They are totally different movies and definitely different from "Promised Land." One of them is an action-adventure kind of movie and the other one is ... sort of an investigation of one of the government agencies.
Q: You have another project in the works, an HBO miniseries about the Chateau Marmont hotel with writer Aaron Sorkin, which you will executive produce. What attracted you to that?
A: It is an incredibly historic hotel for our town; probably the most historic hotel ... There is so much of our town and of our business that was created in that hotel. We're definitely fascinated to tell the story of the hotel.
Q: After nine years on "The Office," how hard was it to leave for the last time?
A: "Each day I am not on set and not going through that routine with that group of people is excruciating. It is moving on not only from a television show but from an era of life ...
It was the most important things in my career, and at the end of the day I may still be known as Jim Halpert more than anything else. And I am really proud of that.
(Editing by Chris Michaud)