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Perhaps every actor has one or a couple of films under their belt they wish they didn’t do. This is the case for Paul Rudd, who once ended up in a project he wanted nothing to do with. In fact, People’s Sexiest Man Alive was so against the film that he took on a false name so that his real name wouldn’t be attached to it.

How Paul Rudd got into acting

Paul Rudd smiling while wearing a suit
Paul Rudd | Ian West/Getty Images

As with most actors, Paul Rudd caught the acting bug at an early age. But according to his interview with GQ, Rudd thought he was going to go down a different career path. His direction changed, however, when he ended up in a speech class and met a teacher who helped him discover a passion for acting. Although many would consider his time in Clueless as his breakout role, Rudd also gave credit to his comedies for his success.

“Just because I, in the last years, got into some comedies that made money, in particular Judd’s [Apatow] movies, and I think it’s been a great thing to be part of and I really lucked out,” Rudd said.

Anchorman also played a role in propelling Rudd to superstardom, along with a slew of successful Judd Apatow comedy hits.

Anchorman was never supposed to be a popular, like, hit movie,” Rudd said. “That movie was a cheap movie—it felt like we were working on a weird independent comedy in a way. 40-Year-Old Virgin was kind of the same. There was probably more expectation with Knocked Up. But I was just happy, honestly, to be working, and still am, on things that I like, that were fun to work on, with people I liked.”

Rudd also believes that he partially got into acting because he looked for more attention from his parents.

“Actors talk about a love of craft and contributing to artistic welfare. But, really, I think [the desire to act] came for me from wanting more attention from my parents,” Rudd told The Guardian.

Paul Rudd allegedly used a false name for his first film because he didn’t like the movie

Before Paul Rudd had gotten the career he’d worked so hard for, the actor starred in a little-known Christian film. According to Contact Music, A Question for Ethics was a film that the Halloween actor quickly realized wasn’t for him.

“It wasn’t even a movie,” Rudd once elaborated. “It was a 20-minute thing for kids about cheating in school.”

Despite the film’s moral message, Rudd ended up not liking the project for several reasons.

“On the last day we did the big redemption scene where my character comes to his senses. And the director came over, and he was like, ‘That was great, we just want to do an alternate take,’” Rudd recalled. “And they gave me this script that was all about being saved and how I came to my sense because I accepted Jesus into my life, and if I hadn’t, I was going to hell.”

Upon realizing what the film truly was, Rudd panicked.

“I was really freaked out and didn’t want to do it,” Rudd shared. They panicked, because the church financed the film… I said, ‘One, I don’t really believe in this, and two, I’m Jewish.’ It turned up on some Christian channel years ago, and somebody called my sister and said, ‘I think I just saw your brother in this weird Christian movie.’ She said, ‘No, there’s this guy named Kenny Chin who looks just like him.'”

How being Jewish made Paul Rudd feel like an outsider growing up


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In the same interview with The Guardian, Rudd asserted that he wasn’t a religious person. Still, however, Rudd admitted he’d feel that he didn’t belong because of his Judaism. This made fitting in difficult since his father worked for airline TWA. Because of this, the Ant-Man actor and his family were on the move a lot. Rudd overcame this feeling by telling jokes.

“So I learned early on that I could be accepted if I made people laugh when I turned the joke on myself and, particularly in Kansas, if I made a joke about being Jewish, my friends would laugh really hard, harder than they perhaps should have,” Rudd shared.

That feeling would later return to him in his adult years when he acted in the hit sitcom Friends. Once again, the actor felt like an outsider.

“The process [of making a sitcom] seemed really foreign to me, so it’s kind of a strange memory for me. I mainly hung out in the background and talked to Gunther,” Rudd said. “It was amazing but kind of like being the Jew with English parents in Kansas – that’s the way I felt on Friends. I just didn’t want to get in the way.”