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Stars and Scholars: John Krasinski

Apr 05, 2011

John Krasinski is most well known for his role as the lovably mischievous Jim Halpert on the 'The Office.' A lot of fans also know him from films like 'It's Complicated' and 'Away We Go.' But this Brown University grad has talents that extend far beyond acting.

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By Douglas Fehlen

John Krasinski The Office Away We Go It

From the Small Screen to Film

While John Krasinski did not initially intend to enter the world of professional acting, the craft is clearly one that suits him well. Krasinski joined the cast of The Office in the role of disaffected salesman Jim Halpert in 2001. The intervening years have seen Jim make his way through the ranks of management; meanwhile, Krasinski has dramatically raised his profile in the entertainment world.

No longer just 'that guy who plays Jim Halpert,' John Krasinski is a bone fide star of both television and film. Smaller parts in movies like Jarhead and Dreamgirls have ultimately led to starring roles in features such as Licensed to Wed and Away We Go. Upcoming Krasinski films include Something Borrowed, also starring Kate Hudson, and Everybody Loves Whales, which includes Drew Barrymore.

John Krasinski's talents, however, are not limited to appearing onscreen; he's also skilled when it comes to the behind-the-scenes creative work that goes into productions. Inspired by a college stage production of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Krasinski wrote a screenplay adaptation of the book. The 2009 film was Krasinski's directorial debut.

John Krasinski The Office Away We Go It

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Evolution of an Honors Grad

The diversity of John Krasinki's contributions to the entertainment world should not be a surprise given his background. Prior to his experiences in television and film, the actor studied theater arts at Brown University. He graduated in 2001 as an Honors playwright after completing a work titled 'Contents Under Pressure.' While his academic career focused on the process of writing plays (rather than acting in them), Krasinski was active with the campus sketch comedy group as 'an opportunity to make my friends laugh.'

Krasinski got more serious about acting after graduating from Brown, following up his time at the school with a stint at the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut. He honed his craft for acting there before moving to New York City. It was there that he would eventually land his big break being cast as the iconic Jim Haplert - though this would only occur after more than three years of being a waiter in the city. Krasinski refers to his rise to fame as an actor as winning the lottery.

Given his diverse talents, Krasinski's professional life could yet take him in a lot of different directions. For example, the multi-talented star recently returned to Brown to participate as a guest instructor in a pre-professional course for theater students. During the presentation, the down-to-earth Krasinski humorously noted the importance time spent at his alma mater held for his career: 'I had my brain expanded to a place that I don't even remember,' Krasinski said.

Learn about how Mayim Bialik, the actor best known for her role in the 1990s sitcom Blossom, has forged a second career as a neuroscientist.

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