He was never a Boy Scout as a kid, but comedian Rob Riggle (“Step Brothers”) is a natural outdoorsman, especially since he spent a few years in the Marines. Riggle’s military experience comes in handy for his new comedy, “Nature Calls.” In the film, he plays Gentry, a security guard who joins in for some madcap camping alongside actors Patton Oswalt (“Young Adult”) and Johnny Knoxville (“Jackass”) who play troop leaders.
“Nature Calls” is currently available On Demand.
You were in the Marines, so I’m assuming being outdoors was natural for you?
I’ve been outside quite a bit. I’ve slept under the stars many a night. I’m no stranger to the outdoors. It was awesome shooting this film.
Were you in the Boy Scouts yourself?
You know, I was in the Cub Scouts and the Webelos, but I didn’t make it to Boy Scouts. I got to a juncture in my life where it was just too much. I was into sports.
What was it like shooting a film with Johnny Knoxville? He didn’t try to electrocute you with a cattle prod or anything like that?
(Laughs) No, he’s a true professional. I was always cautious, though; just to be safe. I wanted to make sure I knew what was happening around me.
What attracted you to this specific role?
I thought it was really funny. [Director] Todd [Rohal] was so passionate about the project. I met with him and I really liked his energy. When you get that from your director, it gives you confidence.
In the film, all the adult characters cuss a lot in front of kids. Was that hard to do?
We were really good about that. We tried to be as respectful as we could and tried to keep that to a minimum. We did what we had to do for the script. If [the kids] didn’t have to be on the set, we would take them off for a while.
Has any of your Marine training helped you with your acting career?
There’s no real direct link between them. There are intangibles. You have to have a thick skin in both the Marines and as an actor. You have to have the work ethic.
You have to have thick skin to be an actor because of the rejection?
Yeah, you get told no a lot in Hollywood – a lot more than you get told yes. It can take its toll on your self-esteem and your confidence.
What about criticism? Do you handle that well?
If you listen to too much of it, it’ll bring you down and it hurts. You shouldn’t put your head in the sand, but at the same time you can’t dwell in that world of criticism. Everyone’s got an opinion.
There is a very funny scene you have in this movie were you just destroy a room. I’m guessing that had to be a one-take type of scene or the set decorators would not have been very happy.
(Laughs) I kept saying, “I’m going to go for it, guys. Is it OK if I destroy this place?” [The Props Department] would be like, “Uh, alright.” I would let them know that I was going to destroy something before I did it. We only got a couple of takes at it.
What kind of comedy did you like growing up?
“Caddyshack.” I’ve probably seen that movie 1,000 times. Bill Murray was a big influence. I used to listen to George Carlin and Eddie Murphy albums.
Your co-star Patton Oswalt has been showing his more dramatic side in recent years with films like “Big Fan” and last year with “Young Adult.” Would you ever like to try to take that route in your career?
Absolutely. I’m always looking for an opportunity to do something like that. It all comes down to opportunity. If I get that opportunity, I’ll do the best I can. But I have to get it first. I would like to be a leading man at some point.