Can Michael Bay Finally Make John Krasinski a Viable Movie Star?

By  · Published on January 15th, 2015

Focus Features

John Krasinski could wind up one of those actors who isn’t made for the movies. Whether it’s because he’s got a look more suited for television or that we’ll never stop seeing him as Jim Halpert from The Office or that he simply can’t lock down the right breakthrough role on the big screen, maybe he should just let his wife be the movie star (one who had a great 2014, by the way) and he can stick to being famous on the small screen, where his facial expressions get the proper attention in perpetual close-up. Or, maybe he just needs more time, like his UK Office counterpart, Martin Freeman, who just needed Peter Jackson to cast him as the lead in The Hobbit movies for a boost of cinematic notoriety (of course, Freeman’s most notable gigs of late are on TV: Fargo and Sherlock). And perhaps Michael Bay can be Krasinski’s Peter Jackson.

Bay is currently set to direct 13 Hours, a serious yet action-oriented movie about the 2012 terrorist attack against Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and Variety reports that Krasinski is in talks for one of the lead parts after apparently blowing the Transformers director away in an audition. He’d play a real-life Navy SEAL, which these days seems to be a good luck charm for comedy actors looking to build a stronger resume, whether in a primary position like Bradley Cooper in American Sniper or Chris Pratt in a minor role in Zero Dark Thirty. But this is still a Michael Bay movie, reminding us more of Pearl Harbor, which also dealt with an actual attack against Americans, than those more prestigious pictures. However, it does feature a script by Chuck Hogan, author of the books turned into the movie The Town and the series The Strain, which is probably a point in the project’s favor.

Perhaps Krasinski will already have a boost before the Bay, though. This year he’s appearing in the latest, much anticipated (and currently untitled) effort from Cameron Crowe, for which he’s part of an ensemble including Cooper, Emma Stone and Bill Murray. That’s another one involving the military, too, and I’m convinced that with Krasinski’s best movie being the underrated Jarhead that other gigs potentially putting him in or near a soldier’s uniform are going to be his key to success. If not, I’m fine with him being another one of those TV actors who can’t cut it in movies, so long as he chooses his next series wisely.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.