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"I love absurdist comedy": Ryan Phillippe on his career evolution and the fun of playing a rich jerk

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21.09.2021

Ryan Phillippe displays his comic chops in "Lady of the Manor," a touch of silliness about a Savannah estate where Lady Wadsworth (Judy Greer) once lived. Phillippe plays both Lady Wadsworth's husband (in a flashback) and her descendant, the lazy Tanner Wadsworth (his name also refers to his complexion) in the present day. When Tanner fires the estate's historic guide (because she won't sleep with him), he impulsively hires Hannah (Melanie Lynskey), a stoner who ends up being stalked by Lady Wadsworth's ghost.

"Lady of the Manor" offers Phillippe to play another rich, mischievous guy (think "Cruel Intentions," or "The Lincoln Lawyer"), and he is pretty amusing being cockblocked by the ghost of Lady Wadsworth, which prompts him to performs ungentlemanly acts.

The actor talked about his new film, his career as a whole, and his love of comedy.

You have some pretty amusing bits in "Lady of the Manor," from some brash, funny lines that talk down to people, to your comic reactions when Tanner is cockblocked. You have only made a handful of comedies in your career — "MacGruber" comes first to mind. What appeals to you about being funny and why don't you make more comedies?

Well, I'm not thought of that way, honestly, by very many people, so the offers don't come as frequently for drama and action. But I love it because it is such a completely different way to work, and there is something so freeing about playing a character that is ridiculous and kind of over the top. There is a license that comes with that. So often, when you're the protagonist in a feature, or the male lead, there are so many unspoken rules about behavior or the type of character you have to be for an audience to relate or connect. With this, you have the freedom to be silly and play and try different things. I had just finished the "MacGruber" series. So many times, when you are doing dramatic work, you are dreading certain scenes where you have to get really emotional, or angry, or dealing with the loss of someone you love, and that all ties into your own personal experience and becomes taxing emotionally at times. This is the complete opposite. I get to go and be a silly douchebag for the day, which is real........

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