In a move that’s really surprised no one who bothered to pay attention during the previous season of Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis announced last night on the Late Show with David Letterman that after an eight-year tenure, he won’t be returning to the show next season. (You can watch both Sudeikis and his sweet mustache announce the news here.)
Sudeikis joins both Fred Armisen and Bill Hader as long-term SNLers who both previously decided that they too would not return to the comedy juggernaut after last season’s wrap. While Hader and Armisen’s exit had been confirmed before the final episode of the season aired, and the pair even got charming little sendoffs during the last show (though, it was nothing compared to the weirdly tear-jerking goodbye Kristen Wiig got the previous year), Sudeikis didn’t get the same kind of toodle-loo (a choice that must have been his own). Instead, he chose to announce his departure in the off-season, ensuring that the show will return in the fall sans three big male stars (and then four, once Seth Meyers leaves to replace Jimmy Fallon in his late night slot).
But Sudeikis has plenty of work on the horizon, and if he’s leaving the show to become a bonafide movie star, now probably really is the best time. So what should the funny guy be doing next? Well, pretty much exactly what he already has planned so far. (The one thing Sudeikis should stay away from, at least in his immediate exit from SNL? Popping up on television shows in guest roles. Fly free, Sudeikis! Get that movie money!)
Leading Roles in Raunchy Comedies
Sudeikis has steadily worked his way up from bit player in comedies (What Happens in Vegas, The Rocker, The Bounty Hunter) to co-starring alongside other established talents (Hall Pass, Horrible Bosses) to now leading his upcoming (presumably raunchy, it does center on a drug deal and involves wholesale lying about his domestic situation) comedy We’re The Millers. And lead it he’s going to – after all, his co-star isn’t a comedic powerhouse like Owen Wilson or Jason Bateman, it’s Jennifer Aniston, who is still locking down major comedic roles without proving her box office worth in the arena. We’re finding it hard to get excited for the film, but it’s the exact kind of work Sudeikis should be doing for his first post-SNL parts.
Horrible Bosses 2! Why not Hall Pass 2? Movie…um, 44? The Campaign 2! (There’s no actual accounting for taste here, but what the hey, sequels are unavoidable these days.)
Wacky Romantic Comedies
The actor has never played leading man in a large-scale romantic comedy – instead, he’s edged close to the work with a co-starring role in Going the Distance (where he experienced a bromance with Justin Long and Charlie Day, but nothing that necessitated his own leading lady) – but that may be changing with Relanxious, a wacky little rom-com that will see Sudeikis starring alongside his real-life fiancée, Olivia Wilde. Written and directed by feature film newbie Christopher Storer, the film sees Sudeikis playing an agoraphobic man who engages in a telephone-centric romance with an anxiety-plagued lady (Wilde). The pair’s fears and phobias keep them from actually leaving the house for real dates, but as their supposed courtship blossoms, they have to decide if they are going to take the next step (you know, out of the actual house).
Also on deck for Sudeikis? A starring role in Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown, yet another romantic comedy that will see him acting cute alongside Rose Byrne as a “brash” New York writer (the only kind!) who trundles a mourning wife (Byrne) back to her small town to confront the realities of the recent death of her folk singer husband. By the far the most “conventional” film on Sudeikis’ schedule, the very fact that it’s a comedy about death should (hopefully) cue us into the fact that this isn’t some sort of Katherine Heigl cast-off. Even more encouraging? A supporting cast that includes Blythe Danner, Beau Bridges, and Michael McKean. No, Life As We Know It this is not.
When I sat down to finally watch Joe Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies last week (which is, it must be said, pretty great), a colleague and friend leaned over and asked me “do you think Sudeikis will be in this?” Undoubtedly convinced he’d pop up in a film that stars Wilde, I considered the possibility for a moment, then shook my head no. After all, I’d recently looked at the film’s IMDb page and there was no Sudeikis on it. And that’s because Sudeikis’ role as the owner of a brewery where Wilde and co-star Jake Johnson work is credited under the character’s name, and that’s even how it appears in the film’s actual credits. Good for you, Sudeikis. Just pop up when you want, and don’t even ask for credit along the way.
Did you know that Sudeikis has done a relatively large amount of animated voicework over the years? Oh, you did? Fine, well, I didn’t. The actor voiced numerous characters on The Cleveland Show over the years, had a supporting role in this year’s Epic (which, I guess came out this year?), and even did an episode of Robot Chicken. Sure, animated voicework is an easy buck, but it sure looks fun and allows the opportunity for a star to push out multiple movies in a season (or even in a week! Oh, sorry, Ryan Reynolds).
Those Applebee’s Commercials
A guy’s gotta eat.