‘I Would Love to Play a Character That’s Not So Intense All the Time’: Glenn Howerton Is Ready for Un-Dennis-Like Roles

With ‘It’s Always Sunny...’ Season 16 in full swing, Howerton hopes for more relaxed roles
‘I Would Love to Play a Character That’s Not So Intense All the Time’: Glenn Howerton Is Ready for Un-Dennis-Like Roles

Glenn Howerton wants to play characters who “can have moments of real tenderness and love and connection.” Apparently, the first N in the D.E.N.N.I.S. System isn’t scratching the itch.

Howerton’s powerhouse performance as Dennis Reynolds in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is, along with those of his castmates, perhaps the most underappreciated comedy acting of the 21st century by acclaim — as “The Gang Desperately Tries to Win An Award” satirized, the Emmys have time and again failed to pay homage to The Golden God. However, Howerton’s on-screen excellence has at least landed him roles in other projects playing… let’s say, slightly Dennis-like characters. Howerton’s performance as the scheming, megalomaniacal real-life former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie in BlackBerry drew praise for his hilarious intensity and perfectly pigheaded portrayal of a man who is always convinced that he’s the smartest guy in the room.

However, as Howerton told Vanity Fair earlier this week, hyper-intense narcissists aren’t the only characters he can play — after all, the Juilliard-trained polyglot is much more multifaceted than the entertainment industry seems ready to admit. But It’s Always Sunny fans shouldn’t worry — he’s not done with Dennis yet. We’re still a long way off from “Separate Entirely.”

“I experience the world in a very intense way, and I always have,” Howerton explained of his ability to come down on his on-screen adversaries like the Hammer of Thor. “I’m just very sensitive and often reactive — I would argue sometimes, and so would my family, overly reactive at times. It’s something I’ve had to work on as a human being to not be an insufferable person, but it’s a great tool as an actor.”

Though Howerton’s rage may know some bounds, he did acknowledge that Dennis’ explosive moments begin with a spark of Howerton’s own energy. “The quick-to-frustration about people’s behavior, that aspect of myself, is definitely something that has gone into the writing of the character of Dennis,” said Howerton. “And a lot of times, it’s me acting on things in a way that I obviously would never do in my real life, but it is fun to be able to actually act on impulses that you can’t really act on in real life. There’s some wish fulfillment there, for sure.”

“I would actually love that, I really would. I would love to play a character that’s not so intense all the time,” Howerton continued, replying to a question about whether he’s eager to try out slightly more relaxed roles, lamenting, “It’s my own fault, because the truth is, I’m drawn to that as a performer.” 

Howerton looks forward to “playing characters where, even if they are intense at times, (they) can have moments of real tenderness and love and connection. I’m excited to get something like that in the future where I can express a totally different side of myself, the softer side of myself, which is very much there.”

“I’ve been married for 14 years, and together with my wife for 17 years, and I’ve got kids, and I have a very active, tender loving side that I have never once shown in a performance, really,” Howerton explained.  

Though Howerton has had ample space to stretch his muscles in Its Always Sunny…, taking on the role of a true family man will be a welcome change of pace — after all, Brian LeFevre never cared much for little Brian Jr.

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