Josh Peck, Not Naked. Also Sans Nike Swoosh.

With any luck, Josh Peck will soon appear totally naked with a Nike swoosh shaved into his chest hair trying to advertise sneakers. Either that or he’ll become the fourth Jonas Brother.

I’m on the phone with him, and he’s in a better mood than most people are capable of – cracking jokes and expounding on loving life. This is mildly surprising for someone who’s engaged in what could be exhaustive hours of phone and radio interviews, but perhaps it’s the correct response for an actor who’s gotten to make a film he feels passionate about.

Even if Sony didn’t get that film a wide release. And even if I introduce that fact into the interview.

“It’s hard to comment from an actor’s point of view. Would I have loved for more people to see [The Wackness]? Or course, ’cause I’m really proud of it,” Peck says.  “I just want people to see the movie. I don’t want to diss on Sony – because I want them to cast me again and give me a free Playstation.”

He then goes on to point out his excitement about the DVD release – that more people will have a chance to check it out.

“It’s really a great DVD movie. You can smoke a blunt and watch…I already have plans to watch it with Method Man and light up.”

While this is entirely accurate – The Wackness is a fantastic film to watch while above the influence – it’s more than mildly funny to remember that the last time I saw Josh Peck, he was having fake blood squirted on him by a wacky magician and donning something called “Transparent Pants” to the delight of tweens everywhere in a rerun of his Nickelodeon show “Drake and Josh.”

It’s also funny to hear the tween-favorite joke around about Sir Ben Kingsley bogarting joints – a key reason Peck won’t be inviting him to his viewing party with Method Man.

But according to Peck, the Nickelodeon universe has been more than supportive of his choice of film roles even though they sometimes involve smoking and selling pot and/or engaging in cinematic coitus with Olivia Thirlby.

Now, that coveted 8-12 year old market might be in his past with more films like The Wackness being his future. He’s appearing again with Olivia Thirlby in a drama called What Goes Up (unless they decide to name it Safety Glass) and was stoked to talk about a tentative project called Hearts of Men that sees three young men coming together over Tupac’s music in the midst of gang violence.

Despite appearing to be on the right track as an actor, Peck jokes that he’d rather have LeBron James’s career, citing the fact that he practices throwing baby powder in his bathroom, “looks great naked,” and could emblazon the Nike symbol into his chest hair using a razor. Sadly, I don’t have time to ask if he’s envious of the basketball talent or the fact that James has a bubble gum flavor named after him before Peck offers The Jonas Brothers as another possible dream career, and I suggest he appear topless for Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. Even without the Nike swoosh.

Jokes aside, something tells me that Peck won’t have to lament not having LeBron’s career (unless he just desperately wants to be named Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” and average 29 points a game) and not being a Jonas Brother (unless he just desperately wants to abstain from premarital sex). He’s successfully escaped Nickelodeon-level typecasting with his performance in The Wackness, and he’s not hurting for new work.

Still, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if a man throws baby powder into the air in the comfort of his own locked bathroom.

The Wackness is on DVD for ownership and temporary ownership as of Tuesday, January 6th, and I have no idea how so much of this interview steered toward Josh Peck nude or topless. For the record, I conducted it completely clothed and believe Sony should give the man his free Playstation.


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