Going bad has been good for Rainn Wilson.
Over the telephone from Boston where he's in the midst of a promotional tour for his new comedy "The Rocker," the actor says that lending his tonsil power to alien overlord Gallaxhar in Dreamworks upcoming Monsters Vs. Aliens has been one of the best gigs of his career.
"I get to do an evil alien voice and torture Reese Witherspoon's character," he says. "It's been so much fun. A real hoot."
In the film, due March 2009, Wilson plays an alien bossman who enters into a battle to the death with a motley crew of monsters led by Ginormica (Witherspoon). Also in the voice cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Colbert, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogen.
So, how did Wilson get into the mindset of a creature from another planet?
"It's actually easy for me because I am an alien," he deadpans. "No, really, I was born to play evil aliens. I probably could make a career out of that. I've played a lot of creepy weirdos and now it's finally time to move on to evil aliens."
Best known for his role as the promotion-obsessed paper salesman Dwight Schrute on "The Office," Wilson was encouraged by the film's directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon to improvise. While he was riffing, he was filmed so that aspects of his facial tics and body language could make their way into Gallaxhar.
Up until now, Wilson's three-year-old son Walter has been ambivalent about his Dad's creative output. But that's bound to change when Monsters Vs. Aliens lands in theaters.
"I hope he likes the movie. My son usually takes one look at me on TV and goes, `There's Da Da. Now, can I put on `The Backyardigans'?"
Wilson has a busy dance card for the next few years. In addition to Monsters Vs. Aliens, he wrote his next comedy - the Jason-Reitman-directed ninja laughfest Bonzai Shadowhands - and he's set to play Shia LaBeouf's professor in Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
"I just love the idea of doing a small part in a big movie," Wilson says of the "T2" role. "It's basically just a cameo but when they asked, I thought, `What the hell! Why not?' "