By Betsy Rothstein - 09/24/08 05:50 PM EDT
Rainn Wilson remembers fondly the days of wine and roses, when he’d run in the cherry blossoms and dine at the Capital Grille. While it’s tough to imagine Dwight, whom Wilson portrays on NBC’s “The Office,” frolicking seriously through cherry blossoms, he says he was much thinner in those days.
Wilson, who was nominated for an Emmy, visits Washington this weekend for a sold-out Saturday evening dinner and fundraiser for the Tahirih Justice Center . The group raises money for immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.
And on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. he’ll speak to students at George Washington University at a fundraiser for the center. But the topic won’t be how to get along in an office; rather, it’ll stress the importance of volunteering. He admits there might be some funny antics along with the serious talk. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster .
“What happened is, I’ve been an actor for a long, long time and then I get to be kind of famous for being on ‘The Office’ and I was approached by a lot of different charity organizations,” he said in a phone interview from Los Angeles last week. “It’s all the time,” he said of fundraising requests.
So he picks and chooses and admits he has a hard time saying no. He appears to have an affinity for organizations that help women and girls.
As for his character, Dwight, Wilson says he isn’t like him in that he’s not uptight. He admits, however, “I can be a little geeky, definitely played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons in my pubescent years.” When he did work in an office, he says, he didn’t spend much of his time kissing up to his boss, as he does on the show. “I was not a suck-up,” he said. “I tried to just be in the corner and not get noticed.”
But Wilson is no funnyman when it comes to politics. In fact, he says, he doesn’t believe whom the country elects as president makes any difference. He has his sights on higher, spiritual entities for changing the way people view the world.
“I’m not very political,” he says.
Which proves to be an understatement. He wishes he could take back his words from an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” where he described himself as a diverse independent, voting for Republican, Green Party and Democratic candidates.
“It was kind of a mistake,” Wilson said of going on the show. “I don’t want to talk politics. Unfortunately, the show I went on, they wanted me to talk about [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-Conn.].”
But Wilson prefers not to discuss politics.
“I just don’t think politics is the answer,” he said. “I think the conversation needs to be elevated. The process of politics is so deeply corrupt on so many levels. Even the greatest candidate in the world couldn’t really make that much of a difference. But people with compassionate hearts can make the world a better place.”
The actor, who is of the Bahai faith, says his political beliefs have spiritual underpinnings.
“Justice is a God-given issue,” he says. “If ever we’re going to achieve real justice, there has to be a change in people’s hearts.”
Nonetheless, Wilson assured, “I definitely will vote.”