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Thomas Middleditch on 'Joshy' and the different shades of nerdiness





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The new film "Joshy" is set in the sleepy town of Ojai, California, about 80 miles outside of Los Angeles.

That's where a guy named Josh had planned to go for a bachelor party with his buddies.

Josh's wedding gets called off after his fiance commits suicide, but the fellas head to Ojai all the same.

Josh is played by actor Thomas Middleditch - who also plays one of the starring roles in the HBO show Silicon Valley. 

Middleditch says the script came about when his co-star Adam Pally pitched the idea to the film's director Jeff Baena.

"Adam essentially described a story that was similar to this in some ways. Jeff said, 'Oh that'd be a great film,'" Middleditch told Take Two's Alex Cohen. From there the project went through an unconventional production process.

"[Jeff] managed to convince the various production companies involved to give a very small amount of money and beat out a script and get some improv friends ... and go ahead and make a movie out in a house somewhere in Ojai.'

A house of improv

Middleditch says that "Joshy" was a very similar experience for both the actors and the characters: A group of friends all coming together to have fun. That led to a unique improv experience.  

"It's not like a stage improv show where you just want to like go for the laugh... you have to improvise for the point of view of your character," Middleditch says. "Even if it's something funny, ideally it's coming out of a chracter and relationship and circumstance."

Even though everyone on set is friendly, there were bound to be a few times that the team would but heads while they were living in such close quarters.

"There's a a couple moments where personalities clash and then the weird part is you can't go home afterwards. You say, 'I'll see you at home,' and then you've gotta deal with it," Middleditch says. "We're all sensititve creative weirdos so we're all going to have conflicts at some point. But it was more often than not just like a really fun time actually. It was kind of like a little sleep away camp."

On the various shades of nerdiness

The role that endeared Middleditch to audiences is his portrayal of Richard Hendricks on the HBO show "Silicon Valley." While it's also type casted him for more nerdy roles, there are are only certain parts of the culture that he falls into.

"There's all these little bubbles of nerddom," Middleditch says. "I'm more nerdy in a sense of like... video games and dungeons and dragons and renaissance faire. But not nerdy in a sense that I know how to create apps."

Being a nerd is pretty en vogue these days. Gone are the times when people had to hide their passions for fear of being judged. "I almost harken back to the days... when it was a little uncool." Middleditch says. "Where it was a little something where it was like 'Alright, let's not get too crazy about it.'

This attitude towards nerd-culture was emphasized during a recent trip to San Diego Comic-Con. "Everyone's just like hootin' and hollerin' and essentially waiting in line to be advertised to. They're waiting in line to see a trailer or something. Over night, these people wait in line! Part of me wants a bunch of jocks to go to Comic-Con and call them all dweebs so they can be like... 'Pump the brakes a little bit,' But that said it's all positive. It's just of course I'm going to find some cynicism in it."

The ultimate dream of being an 80's action hero

While Middleditch is deeply trenched in geek-culture, for better and for worse, he says that he's always willing to branch out as an actor.

Middleditch says, "I'm at a point right fortunately now, because of [Silicon Valley], there's a little bit of ... take a step and try to get involved in projects I really really want to be in as opposed to just [taking] anything to get my foot in the door."

Of course one of those hopeful project is his goal of starring in a big blockbuster movie.

"I grew up on 80's action movies... Jean Claude Van Damme, Schwarzenegger, Stallone... If there were ever some opportunity to do that, it'd be great.

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above