Un adjective often used to qualify Paul Rudd, whether it is his charisma as an actor or his relationship with the press, is “likeable”. The nice, amiable guy. A few days ago, this label that has stuck to his skin since his debut in Halloween 6 has finally been supplanted: the American born in New Jersey to London parents can now write on his business card that he is the sexiest man of 2021 (“Sexiest Man Alive”), according to People.
But did we really need a magazine to confirm what we have always known? Not only is Paul Rudd handsome, charming and funny, but he is aware of it and has fun with it. Do not take yourself too seriously, this is an attractive quality in Hollywood! Add to that the fact that the 52-year-old actor broke the secret of eternal youth, and we border on perfection. Just like his idol Paul Newman, women love him and men want to be like him. His career is therefore well on the way to breaking longevity records.
The one who has played Ant-Man since 2015 approaches his job in a very healthy way, comparing himself to a utility player (a baseball term): “I appreciate the kind of guy who shows up, does the job and is excellent, even if the role is not flashy. And, just in case, he has a serious plan B: confectioner! Paul Rudd is in fact co-owner of a candy shop at Rhinebeck with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead). While waiting to find him on 1is December in Ghostbusters: The Legacy, here is a selection of his essential roles.
1. Clueless (1995)
After three seasons in the soap opera The Reed Sisters (in which appears another “Sexiest Man Alive”, George Clooney), Paul Rudd is known to the general public thanks to the cult film by Amy Heckerling Clueless. In this teenage comedy loosely based onEmma by Jane Austen, the twenty-six-year-old actor plays an unexpected suitor to the Beverly Hills princess, Cher: his ex-half-brother. Their relationship is a variation on the theme “opposites attract”. They spend their time bickering, until the character played by Alicia Silverstone – and ourselves – realized that, behind her sarcastic idealistic airs and her Nirvana flannel shirts, there was a boy in the dark. Gold heart. Gen X will never get over their kiss on the stairs. Clueless also contains the first of a long list of scenes in which Paul Rudd displays his “talent” for dance.
2. The object of my affection (1998)
The actor continues with an appearance in Romeo + Juliet, But it’s another impossible romance that solidifies her status as a heartbreaker: The object of my affection (Nicholas Hytner). He holds the top of the bill there alongside Jennifer Aniston, his future partner. In this so nineties romantic comedy, taken from a bestselling novel by Stephen McCauley, the actor with irresistible green eyes and a gentle smile plays George, the roommate and soon to be best friend of Nina, a young woman who is expecting a child from another man. Their bond deepens during dance lessons (obviously) until the line between friendship and love becomes blurred. Only problem, George is gay. If the narration does not avoid some pitfalls, the fantastic chemistry between the two stars does the rest. The duo reformed in 2012 to Peace, Love and more. In the meantime, the two actors will have given the cue in Friends, since, from 2002, Paul Rudd joined the sitcom in the role of Mike, the future husband of Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), allowing him to access the notoriety among a large part of the general public in France.
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3. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
The turn of the 2000s should therefore have seen Paul Rudd propelled to the top of the famous A-list of the most bankable Hollywood actors. However, to use the expression of journalist Molly Young who is doing her portrait in 2015, his professional trajectory “does not follow that of an ascending rocket, but rather that of a pinball ball”. One of the roundabout paths he takes is wacky comedy, a genre that allows him to blow up fans’ expectations. And Paul Rudd loves to reinvent himself. In Wet Hot American Summer, a choral film with schoolboy humor, he plays an unbearable playboy. He does not earn a penny, but is enriched by solid relationships. The actor, who studied theater at the university, meets his first “film troupe” on the set. Not only do his colleagues Elizabeth Banks and Amy Poehler become regular collaborators, he’s working with director David Wain on five other projects, including two buddy movies: The Big Brothers in 2008 (the actor co-signed the screenplay) and I Love You, Man (2009) with another accomplice, Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother).
4. Anchorman : The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Paul Rudd is part of a second comic constellation, whose center of gravity is producer director Judd Apatow and the starting point of comedy Anchorman. The actor sports mustache and sideburns to play Brian Fantana, a macho TV presenter as stinking as his cologne. The following year, he found Apatow and Steve Carell for 40 years old, still a virgin, a phenomenal success which marks a turning point in the representation of masculinity on the big screen. From supporting role in supporting role, Paul Rudd continues to flourish in an offbeat register and to scratch his image of ideal son-in-law (which he definitely buries with satirical rom-com They Came Together in 2014). In40 years user’s Guide, the character of Pete that he already played in Blistered, instructions for use becomes central: he even acts as an alter ego for Judd Apatow, who stages him alongside his wife and daughters in real life.
5. Ant-Man (2015)
From the Apatow universe to the Marvel universe, is there only one step? After a string of roles which prove that Paul Rudd does not fear ridicule (including the work with the refined title Our Idiot Brother), the actor sets himself a new challenge: to play the least impressive superhero there is. And yet, as an ant-man, he joins the pantheon of characters that are both extraordinary and endearing. His sense of irony, though toned down here, is integral to the narrative (which he also co-wrote), and his character becomes one of the franchise’s most popular, with a third film slated for 2023. Perhaps To make up for the gigantic scale of Marvel productions and the intense physical preparation, Paul Rudd also likes to co-star in unassuming independent films, such as Prince Avalanche and The Fundamentals of Caring.
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6. Living with Yourself (series, 2019)
Two Paul Rudds for the price of one, who could say better? Between his obligations to the Avengers and a few flops (Fun Mom Dinner, Ideal Home), the actor finds time to play the double lead role in a series on which he is also a producer. He lends his features to Miles the original, a married man going through an existential crisis and Miles2, the clone from a spa session gone awry. From misunderstanding to cliffhanger to more serious consideration of the meaning of life, the series is a great surprise that earned the actor his first Golden Globe nomination. Do not miss the dance scene with his confused wife (formidable Aisling Bea).
7. The Shrink Next Door (miniseries, 2021)
In this disturbing miniseries, adapted from a podcast based on real events, Paul Rudd is Doctor Isaac Herschkopf. For thirty years, this narcissistic and manipulative psychiatrist interferes in the life and finances of a gullible patient, Marty (played by Will Ferrell). The handsome actor undergoes a metamorphosis in two ways: physically (he wears pastiche love handles and unflattering 1980s clothes), but also psychologically. For the first time, and this, despite a touch of creaky humor, Paul Rudd faces his dark side. While he claims to have always favored characters with whom viewers can identify, it’s hard to find a more repulsive role. The adjective that comes to mind this time is dangerous. The result is fascinating: just like Marty, we are in his grip.
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Paul Rudd: the irresistible rise of the actor named “sexiest of 2021”