An­drew Ran­nells dis­cusses up­com­ing projects and per­sonal phi­los­o­phy

Variety - - Contents - AN­DREW RAN­NELLS

AN­DREW RAN­NELLS IS WELL­KNOWN for orig­i­nat­ing the role of Elder Price in “The Book of Mor­mon” on Broad­way, as well as ap­pear­ing as Eli­jah on HBO’S “Girls.” Now the multi-tal­ented per­former not only lends his voice to Net­flix’s an­i­mated com­edy “Big Mouth” and stars op­po­site Don Chea­dle in Show­time’s Wall Street com­edy “Black Mon­day,” but he also au­thored a mem­oir en­ti­tled “Too Much Is Not Enough.”

What made you con­nect with your “Black Mon­day” char­ac­ter? The arc re­minded me a lot of what my char­ac­ter, Elder Price, went through in “The Book of Mor­mon,” ac­tu­ally. And also very sim­i­lar to me mov­ing to New York from Ne­braska, with no con­tacts and hav­ing to start my ca­reer from scratch. [Blair] falls into this group of rag­tag traders on Wall Street that are very much out­siders, and he cre­ates this life and ca­reer. He starts off very op­ti­mistic and would like to think that busi­ness is fair and you work hard and then you’re re­warded for it, but he very quickly learns that that’s not how the world works, un­for­tu­nately, al­ways. How play­ful were you able to be in fur­ther flesh­ing him out?

The thing that I added was a slightly darker side to peo­ple who seem nice and friendly, but there’s an un­der­cur­rent of am­bi­tion and some anger and some feel­ings of in­se­cu­rity and want­ing more but maybe not ex­actly sure how to get it just yet.

How timely are you in­ter­ested in be­ing with your roles?

The in­ter­est­ing thing about do­ing some­thing that takes place in 1987 is you just re­al­ize how cycli­cal ev­ery­thing is — the fi­nan­cial mar­ket, pol­i­tics. Ev­ery­thing’s con­stantly chang­ing, but it’s the same pat­tern of you have a lot of time in a very con­ser­va­tive world and then there’s the back­lash that makes things more lib­eral and ac­cept­ing — and then there’s a back­lash be­cause of that and we go back to the con­ser­va­tive side. And that’s been hap­pen­ing since the world be­gan.

What was the bal­ance you wanted to strike be­tween sto­ries of your pro­fes­sional and per­sonal life in your book?

I chose to fo­cus on a time in my life that’s not about “The Book of Mor­mon” or Lena Dun­ham or tele­vi­sion; it’s about all of the stuff that hap­pened be­fore, that got me there. … I wanted to share that par­tic­u­lar time to show that it all counts and it all mat­ters, even though it wasn’t maybe as splashy or as shiny as what I get to do now. I talk about all the things peo­ple talk about in mem­oirs: los­ing my vir­gin­ity, when my fa­ther died, when my grand­mother died. … If I was go­ing to talk about that time pe­riod, I had to talk about those things. … If you’re do­ing it, then you should re­ally do it. I didn’t want to soft-pedal any­thing or graze over any­thing. I just felt like I needed to be as hon­est as pos­si­ble.

In­ter­view by Danielle Turchi­ano Pho­to­graph by Amanda Jones

Birth­place: Omaha, Neb. Last book he read: “My Year of Rest and Re­lax­ation” by Ottessa Mosh­fegh Hid­den tal­ent: “I’m a very good or­ga­nizer.” If he wasn’t act­ing: “I would want to be fully Chip and Joanna Gaines.” Role for which he’s sur­prised to be rec­og­nized: Dar­ren on “How I Met Your Mother” Most used app: In­sta­gram Cause he cares the most about right now: The Trevor Pro­ject

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