‘The Office’ Star John Krasinski Thought People Would Be ‘Confused’ Seeing Him in This Film Role

While John Krasinski has definitely earned street cred as a film actor and director, fans will inevitably continue to see him as the lovable Jim Halpert from The Office. Rising to stardom while on the sitcom for nine seasons, Krasinski has proven he can play more than the love interest of Dunder Mifflin’s receptionist Pam Beesly.

After The Office aired its series finale in 2013, the actor began seeking roles that would showcase his talents outside of comedy. The sitcom star earned a part that was a polar opposite from the Scranton paper salesman.

John Krasinski of 'The Office'
John Krasinski of ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

John Krasinski branches out

After saying goodbye to Dunder Mifflin, Krasinski embarked on characters to play that were outside of his comfort zone such as his current role in Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan. Yet the actor emphasizes that he isn’t trying to demystify his ‘Jim Halpert’ persona.

“None of those things were about running away from Jim,” he told Men’s Health in 2018. “Jim is one of those things that, I know, at the end of my career, I’ll still be most known for. And that’s awesome. That’s an honor. But I wanted to try different things. I wanted to set myself up to explore things that were scary, and things I wasn’t sure I was going to be good at.”

The Office alum ventured into the superhero genre and auditioned for the role of Captain America. Though he ended up losing the part to Chris Evans, Krasinski went far in the audition process and even donned the famous suit.

RELATED: John Krasinski Ran Into Another Superhero While Auditioning for ‘Captain America’

“Yes, I put on the suit. Yes, I did the screen test,” The Hollars director revealed. “But I knew they’d offered it to Chris like four times, and eventually I got the call. ‘Chris is engaging.’ And I was like, ‘Of course he is! Look at that dude. He is Captain America!’ … I’ve always been a realist and I respect the situation. You can’t fight against things you can’t control.”

Jim Halpert gets buff

Some were surprised when The Office alum threw his hat in the ring for the MCU. Dipping his toe in the action film genre, Krasinski realized he had to make some physical changes to be considered for those types of roles.

“Someone in the Marvel world or the leading-man world said to me, ‘Hollywood can’t imagine you doing it until you do it. And once they see it, it can’t be unseen by them,’” the Leatherheads star revealed. “And that’s exactly what happened to me. When I went out for Captain America, people were like, ‘Really?’” 

Landing a role in the 2016 Michael Bay film 13 Hours, Krasinski hit the gym and soon became almost Hemsworth-style ripped. The former sitcom star ended up getting hooked on the regimen.

RELATED: John Krasinski May Have Given ‘The Office’s’ Jim and Pam a Shout Out in ‘A Quiet Place’

“On 13 Hours, I did it for the role, and then I definitely got addicted to it. … I think mentally, it’s cleared my head for things like directing and producing,” Krasinski said. “If I didn’t work out a few times a week, I would start to overanalyze. It definitely takes me out of myself for a minute. And it gives me my best ideas. Your brain definitely works better when it’s all lubed up with endorphins and sweat and blood.”

‘It’s a big change for me’

Playing former U.S. Navy Seal Jack Silva in the film based on the true events of the Benghazi attack by militants on the American diplomatic compound, Krasinski knew fans of Jim Halpert would be scratching their heads at the casting.

“When people hear that Jim from The Office was cast in this role, they have a certain sense of wondering how that’s going to be,” Krasinski said of his part in 13 Hours, according to USA Today. “And they are probably going to be a little confused. I’m not going to deny it’s a big change — it’s a big change for me. But I always follow a good story.”

The License to Wed star revealed he had a slim chance of landing the part and was up against heavy competition.

RELATED: ‘The Office:’ John Krasinski Kept One Memento When He Thought The Show Was Going to be Cancelled … and it’s Not the Teapot

“The likelihood of me getting the role then was very low. [Bay] was talking about other actors from the beginning,” Krasinski explained. “I heard that when my name was brought up to certain people higher up, they thought it was interesting, but not necessarily the right thing.”

Evidently, Krasinski won over the director and got the part. His new physique was a hit as well, especially with his former onscreen spouse Jenna Fischer. “It’s incredible!” The Office actress raved to host Andy Cohen on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live in 2016.“Yeah, he looks good. He looks really really good.”