Chris O'Dowd: He's with the band

Posted: March 29, 2013

CHRIS O'DOWD sees himself as an actor more than a comedian, even if fans who first discovered him in "Bridesmaids" (after real fans discovered him in "The IT Crowd") don't see him that way.

They got a different glimpse of the 33-year-old Irishman (he lives in London) as Jessa's husband in HBO's "Girls" and he'll soon be showing off his improv skills in the upcoming HBO Christopher Guest series, "Family Tree."

But this weekend, there's still another side of O'Dowd, in "The Sapphires," in which he plays a boozy, ambition-free musician who takes an Australian aborigine girl group to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1969.

The Daily News spoke with O'Dowd at the Park Hyatt Hotel last September during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Q: The girls in 'The Sapphires' are based on real people. Was your character?

A: From what I can gauge, he's an accumulation of two or three guys, one guy in particular.

Q: What attracted you to the role?

A: A few weeks after 'Bridesmaids' came out, I was inundated with similar things, but not the same craft or quality, so I thought I needed to go and do something very different. And an aboriginal original musical filled the bill perfectly.

From when I signed up to when we started shooting, it was relatively quick for me - probably two or three weeks. So, I think it's safe to say I wasn't their first choice.

Q: Where did you shoot the film?

A: We shot in Saigon, some Australia for Saigon. We had all those street scenes in Ho Chi Minh, and that was really surreal. Closing down streets in Vietnam is not a simple operation, as you'd imagine. Plus, we were bringing all of this American Army equipment through the streets. I felt like shouting "We're ba-a-ck!"

Q: With roles in 'Bridesmaids,' 'This Is 40' and 'Girls,' do you feel like an official member of the Judd Apatow Comedy Players?

A: I like to think that in the Apatow house I'm the window cleaner looking in and masturbating. I'm sort of on the fringes of that world. I enjoy working with those guys and playing with them, and there is a lot of play time in those films, which is unusual.

What I love about Judd's stuff is that I always believe the relationships, which is a lot different from the other comedies around.

Q: Between 'Bridesmaids' and 'The Sapphires' you've worked with mostly women . . .

A: I grew up in a house with a mom and three sisters, so I'm very aware how crazy they are. I'm equally frightened and invested in playing with girls.

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