Nick Offerman in Infinity Baby

Nick Offerman on Infinity Baby and his Hidden Dork Shelf

Infinity Baby posits a world in the “not so distant future” where people can buy babies that never age. Directed by Bob Byington (Somebody Up There Likes Me), this dystopian comedy stars Kieran Culkin, Martin Starr, Kevin Corrigan, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman as the entrepreneur behind this burgeoning enterprise. 

Dork Shelf had the chance to chat with the amazing Mr. Offerman about Infinity Baby, working with friend and frequent collaborator Byington, playing against type, and what’s in his Dork… closet?

First of all: congratulations, I really enjoyed the film!

Nick Offerman: Thank you, I’m really proud of it. I love working with Bob Byington and he really, you know, he really thinks outside the box and maintains a great sense of humour. And, he always seems to assemble a pretty incredible cast for his low budget, Austin-based, film work.

Oh! It was a very well put together cast. For our audience, if you could kinda give your breakdown of what you think this movie is and what it’s about?

NO: I feel like it’s a wonderful scrutinization of how dumb we are as a species. Despite all of our incredible technological advances, we’re still, at heart, you know, warm mammals who just want to produce and nurture those around us by and large. And this film points out the incredible confusion between those impulses and the conflicting impulses of modern day consumerism.

I mean, I guess that was part of, while I was watching it, the idea that there’s a company who has babies that don’t age and there’s that conversation about what are the benefits of that. It gave me pause. I was like wow, yeah, what if that could be the case? I think that speaks a lot to what you were saying about how stupid we can be sometimes with consumerism.  

It reminds me a little bit of… this may be over egging the pudding but I feel like it’s kind of a poor man’s Brazil by Terry Gilliam. Asking those questions of, well, we’re probably going to be able to see some of these, you know, some of these sci-fi ideas. It won’t be so crazy in another five or ten years and how will we, dumb humans, actually deal with the reality of that.

It seems like you’re touching on it a bit but if you could you tell us about or explore what drew you to the project initially? Like the material, and what spoke to you in particular.

NO: First and foremost, I mean, I just really love working with Bob. I’ve known him for twenty years and I’ve done several films with him. I’ve been lucky enough to have had my career become much more… bear much more fruit since I started working with Bob, which allows me to help bring people to the projects. We had the great advantage of having Megan Mullally come and unequivocally steal every scene she ever appears in. I’m also a big fan of Austin [Texas]. So, you know, Bob always sends me his next scripts and I go through the motions of reading it and saying sure, I’ll come play with you. But, he really doesn’t even have to send them to me, because, he’s an incredibly intelligent and a wry artist. He’s also, among his attributes, I would call it an obstinacy.  Because, he has always refused to try and follow anyone’s tune. He refuses to dance to any drum but his own strange clumsy drum and I’m always excited to dance with people of that mindset.

So it’s safe to say you guys think alike. Or at least you guys find the same things interesting.

NO: Yeah, we make each other laugh a very dry way. It’s interesting working with him on several films across his career there really has been, um, there continues to be, a fulsome evolution of refined thought and technique. His earlier films were, I think, a little, you know, the work of a younger man and we were all trying to find our ass with both hands as we continue to work together, and seams come more clearly into focus. So when this came in. The script… and I’m blanking at the moment on the guy’s name who wrote this.

Is it Onur Tukel?  

NO: Yeah. He’s a very talented Brooklyn writer and filmmaker himself and when this came in it just really sort of lit up all of our delight alarms for both me and Megan. So combining Bob’s sensibility with this futuristic yet hilarious everyman material should be a lot of fun.

I guess, in a sense, there was a script that was brought to Bob and he sent it along to you. Was this an instance of Bob already had an idea of who he wanted you to play in this or you guys kind of work that out together?

NO: He always has a very clear idea by the time he sends me something. One of the factors is always my schedule. And so, I think, if memory serves, he was toying with the idea of either having me be one of the guys in the couple that are so wonderfully portrayed by Martin Starr and Kevin Corrigan or having me play this Neo character. Bob was also doing some slight modifying to the script. So pretty quickly he wanted Megan to play her role and zeroed on me as Neo.  Which was, you know, for the stuff we’ve done together, for him to make me an executive in a suit was kind of a fun stretch.

Was there anything you were pulling on for that, or that just came through the script?

NO:  Yeah, I mean, Bob and I, you know, have had a very easy rapport and so when we started trading the Neo scenes back and forth, talking about that, and we just kind of agreed that we’d try and make him look as sharp as possible. Which is a very new thing for me. And go with whatever version of stylish haircut and a nice suit; that’s a pretty big leap for what I’m known for.  That makes me, I suppose, if anything, I didn’t think about it at the time, I just… usually when the writing is good it just informs everything: how I dress, how I move, how I talk.  But!  Looking back on it, I feel like I was probably tapping into my inner Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross.

Well you pulled it off! There’s another question we usually ask. The site that I work for is called DorkShelf.com and a Dork Shelf kind of speaks to an area in your house where you keep prized possessions. Is there anything on your Dork Shelf that you’re particularly proud of?

NO:  It’s funny, um, my wife started it. She has literally a closet full of trophies. The first thing that springs to mind is the fact that any awards that either of us have won, which 92% of them are won by her, cause I’m not nearly as lauded a performer as she is but I have a few odd plaques and certificates. There’s a closet in our guest room where they all live on a high shelf. Or a few high shelves. Which I always, kind of, really liked. That we’re the kind of household that puts that sort of stuff away. Instead, where people can see it, we generally have books that we love, including, my publisher always sends me a really beautiful leather-bound copy of my own books, of which I have three.

Oh! That’s amazing.

NO: And then some things, you know, the things that I’ve made for her out of wood.

I figured that would make the shelf.

NO:  I mean, she’s an astonishing designer, so, the house is generally festooned in her amazing art work, hip stylish furniture, accessories, and what not.  Those are the things that spring to mind.


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