Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd in Wanderlust

Paul Rudd in “Wanderlust”

Paul Rudd first rose to acting prominence in theater. He was born in New Jersey in 1969 and slowly moved further out west – the University of Kansas and then the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena – with the chief pursuit to study theater. It was as an undergraduate where he found not only a flair for improvisation (which he had been honing his whole life), but also a surprising love for dramatic pieces on the level of a Shakespeare or Marlowe.

Such a talent for eclectic roles and genres would later benefit Paul’s movie career, where he could easily go from small indie pictures like “The Ten” and “The Oh in Ohio” to a Judd Apatow juggernaut like “Knocked Up.” But in the early 1990s, Paul found work on television before his first substantial role in “Clueless” several years later. While he would work something like “The Object of My Affection” for the exposure and pay, Paul felt more suited in more meaningful roles such as the stage play “Bash” by Neil LaBute. He developed a new following when he showed up on “Friends” in the series’ latter years, and Neil LaBute tapped him as Rachel Weisz’s experiment in the playwright/filmmaker’s “The Shape of Things” in 2003.

By 2005, Paul found himself in the circle of Judd Apatow, co-starring in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and later part of “Knocked Up” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” While never leading man status on screen to that point, Paul is quite comfortable – and talented – in quirky supporting roles and cameos. On stage, the actor seems most at home. And he certainly does not seem to be lacking for work; for it is believed that should Paul Rudd be part of your production, the caliber has just been raised.

With roles like “Ant Man,” he’s now becoming more of a box office lead.

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Paul on the Screen

While “Clueless” put Paul on the map, television was paying his bills: six episodes of “Wild Oats” and 20 episodes of “Sisters” gave Paul consistent work. He’s in the dismal “Halloween 6” in 1995, Parris in Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet,” Kevin in “200 Cigarettes,” Nick Carraway in a 2000 TV version of “The Great Gatsby,” Andy in “Wet Hot American Summer,” Adam in “The Shape of Things,” Brian Fantana in “Anchorman,” Hunt in “Diggers,” Guy Gerricault on a few episodes of “Reno 911!,” an uncredited John Lennon in “Walk Hard,” and Henry in “Over Her Dead Body.” He also produced and starred in “The Ten” and has appearances in “The Ex” and “The Baxter.”

Paul Says

On being a celebrity:
“I haven’t taken the active approach to making myself a star. I haven’t been in a blockbuster.”