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Will Forte on 'Nebraska' nerves and missing his 'SNL' days

Actor and writer Will Forte stars in the new film,
Actor and writer Will Forte stars in the new film, "Run & Jump."
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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For eight years, Will Forte made audiences laugh as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live". He was known for characters like MacGruber, the easily distracted parody of TV action hero MacGyver.


Greg Stink, the very literal sports commentator who played opposite Jason Sudeikis' Pete Twinkle.


Will Forte has lately been taking on much more serious roles. You can see him opposite Bruce Dern in the Oscar-nominated film "Nebraska," directed by Alexander Payne. He says he was nervous about taking on such a dramatic role in front of such an accomplished director. 

"It was scary all over again. It was scary because I'm a huge fan of Alexander Payne's," said Forte on Take Two. "I'll always find something to get nervous about."

Forte is also appearing in another drama, "Run & Jump," directed by Steph Green, in which he plays an American doctor who travels to Ireland to observe a family there after the father suffers a stroke.

Forte joins the show to talk about his favorite memories from "SNL" and his foray into more serious dramatic acting. 

Interview Highlights:

On his best memories from "SNL":
"Everything about it is just so much fun. It's such a creative place and there's such an energy there because of the race to put the show together every week. It's like a family out there because it's such a stressful environment that you all band together so it's tough when you leave it. You miss every part of it."

On why he decided to transition into drama:
"I just liked the script in general. I don't know why the director Steph Green thought of me for this part because it wasn't something that I went and tried out for and fought for. She just sent me the script and I loved the story so much I thought, 'God, why not? It's so different why not give it a try.' But it was still terrifying and she had to really talk me out of all of my nerves." 

On tapping into his vulnerable side:
"It's really nerve-racking. I'm used to doing all kind of embarrassing things in comedy situations. There's something about that you can blame on the character or sometimes these really embarrassing things are so over the top that you know people know that you would never do that kind of thing in real life. Like in MacGruber I put a piece of celery in my bum and jump around naked and that seems like it would be a pretty embarrassing and hard thing to do." 

On acting in front of Alexander Payne in "Nebraska":
"It was scary all over again. It was scary because I'm a huge fan of Alexander Payne. And with Steph Green, who did Run and Jump, this was her first feature so I felt like we were kind of going through this, we both had to live out these new experiences and with Alexander Payne it was like, 'Oh, he's got such a track record.' There was just a different type of stress and pressure because even though I had done it before, I'll always find something to get nervous about."

On his plans for the future:
"Porn. I don't know. I don't plan stuff out really and the lack of planning has been working so far. That's the good thing about writing is that I'll always know if there's nothing out there that I feel that I would be good at, I can just wait it out until I find something that I do like that will also have me. So I would love to try a little bit of everything."