Rainn Wilson could call it a career and live comfortably for the rest of his life.
That’s the power of co-starring in an iconic show like “The Office.” The network pay isn’t shabby. Nor are the residuals.
Yet the man many know as office schemer Dwight Schrute wrote a book that will hardly win him friends in Hollywood.
It’s called “Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution,” and it tracks his colorful transformation into becoming a believer in the Baha’i faith. The veteran actor, according to the book’s blurb, thinks “existing political and economic systems are not enough to bring the change that the world needs.”
In this very special episode of Faith for Normal People, Pete and Jared speak with Rainn Wilson, whose new book Soul Boom prescribes a spiritual revolution to treat our self-destruction…https://t.co/A5RXVclxVo
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) May 16, 2023
Wilson talked about “Soul Boom” and how his beliefs intersect with Hollywood on the “No Small Endeavor” podcast, hosted by theologian and professor Lee C. Camp.
Camp asked Wilson how his spiritual awakening meshed with an industry averse to spiritual dogma. The actor seemed resigned to how his peers view believers, and he shared that sentiment sans bitterness.
“I‘ve been talking about [faith] in bite-sized pieces for a good 12 years,” the actor said. “Frankly, I think it freaks people out.”
One reason? It’s hardly hip to be a believer in a secular business.
“Most of Hollywood, especially comedic Hollywood, [think] talking about God is the un-coolest thing you could ever possibly do. Comedians will call themselves nerds … but it’s Hollywood, and it’s about who’s sitting at the cool kids’ lunch table.”
FAST FACT: Wilson nearly missed out on his signature “Office” role. The actor says he was committed to a separate TV project with Janeane Garofalo, but when the show’s pilot crashed and burned it freed him up to tackle Dwight Schrute for NBC.
Some stars likely keep their faith a secret or rarely explore it in public. Wilson takes a different, more personal approach partly thanks to “The Office.”
“I’ve had some success … ‘The Office,’ ‘Saturday Night Live’ … I’ve never been invited to sit at the cool kids’ lunch table … people are like, ‘that’s the weird comedy guy talking to Oprah [Winfrey] about God. How bizarre.”
Other actors have shared similar stories about Hollywood’s soft bigotry toward believers.
Kirk Cameron’s strong Christian beliefs found him working on the outskirts of Hollywood after leaving ABC’s “Growing Pains.” His recent projects don’t align with the industry’s values. Actor Neal McDonough says his beliefs similarly cost him work within the industry.
Wilson says there’s no official agenda against faith within the business, but it’s there all the same.
“Do I have any emails [saying he lost work for his beliefs]? No, but I can sense a collective eyeroll about it. It certainly hasn’t helped my career,” he said.
“I do it out of passion, but I may have taken a hit for it, but that’s OK. Fortunately, I was on a great TV show. I got a lot of money in the bank. I’m doing just fine. It might be different if I was still struggling. I might have really re-thought it,” he said. “If I’m a middle-class actor talking about God and trying to do comedy, it’s not gonna help me.”
Previously, Wilson slammed HBO’s “The Last of Us” for exhibiting what he called anti-Christian bias.
“Could there be a Bible-reading preacher on a show who is actually loving and kind?” the “Office” alum tweeted. “Most Christians that I know are kind, accepting and loving and seeking to make the world a better place. They should also be honored in the media.”