Chris O’Dowd is no stranger to winning awards. “I won Best Kisser, University College Dublin, 1998,” he wistfully recalls. And by this time next week, he could well have added another trophy to his collection — the Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award at the Baftas. It’s a nomination that recognises his Bridesmaids-inspired boost in popularity, but, at 32, some might say he’s left it quite late. Including the man himself…
Congratulations on your Bafta nomination — how does it feel?
I feel like I’m too old to be there, but I’m certainly not going to turn it down. And if I do lose, I’ll sit there looking like I’m thinking all the voters are idiots. Of course, if I win, my facial expression will scream, “Wow! You really have no idea how awful I am.”
How important will winning be to your career?
It’s hard to tell. And actually most of the year is already blocked out — I’m in some quite big films. It gives me the impetus to work hard, but I’d hate to think that an award could change the trajectory of a career that much.
Do you enjoy these big, star-packed ceremonies?
I love the schmoozing element. The frustrating thing is, I’ve been so busy this year I’ve hardly seen any of the films. I’d love to see Jonah Hill — he’s nominated for Moneyball. I’ve met him briefly a couple of times and he was lovely.
Is he not part of your Hollywood ‘circle of friends’ anyway, now you’re making films for Judd Apatow?
I haven’t noticed that clique, but it’s clear Judd likes working with the same actors again. Judd’s actually an easy-going guy who you can hang out with but not feel out of your depth. Well, you would intellectually, but not emotionally. When I first went over to the US, about three years ago, with the idea of getting work, I had a dream list of people I wanted to work with. Judd was at this party I went to with my fiancée. I pointed him out to her and she said, “Who’s Judd Apatow?” I was like, “He’s the reason we’re in LA.”
So that was when you first met him?
No, too shy.
But you must have told him that story since…
No, still too shy. I’ve worked with him three times and I haven’t said anything. It will never come up.
You retained your Irish accent but added a slight American twang for Bridesmaids — how’s your full-blown US one coming along?
I’ve just finished filming Friends With Kids with Kristen Wiig, where I attempt a US accent. I imagine it’ll be all over the place. Truthfully, doing an accent is a pain in the arse. I practise all the time — in bars and restaurants mainly. And whenever I’m on the set of a job where I have to do an accent I’ll keep it the whole time. And sometimes I’ll finish and people won’t have realised I’m Irish. But I can’t do regional British accents. And Welsh is a f*cking shocker.
Have you been starstruck while you’ve been living in LA?
I was recently having dinner with Jason Segel and a lady asked us to have our photo taken with a table of 15 girls celebrating a 21st birthday. So we walk over and when we reach the table someone who I take to be one of their dads stands up — it’s Clint Eastwood. He says, “So I saw Bridesmaids. I liked it.” I’m just standing there thinking, “Oh sh*t. Clint Eastwood knows who I am.”
Michael Fassbender’s getting a lot of press for his nudity in Shame, but you’ve also braved a full-frontal on screen. How was it?
It was a scene where I got out of a cold bath. That’s never good. Chilly scenarios are best avoided.
O’Dowd is nominated for the Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award; orange.co.uk/bafta