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Published On: Fri, May 27th, 2011

Stephen Root discusses character roles, ‘Office Space’ and signing red Swingline staplers

Stephen Root has a long resume of great roles, but his name doesn’t come up with Hollywood’s A-list. With great roles on True Blood, Justified, 24, Pushing Daisies, Root may be remember for the bizarre hoarder Milton Waddams in Office Space and confessed to NYMAG about transforming into a role, even physically.

“When I get into a role, my physical appearance does change, but I’m not doing it consciously for the most part. John Lloyd [Conspirator] was a drunk and didn’t take care of himself, so that’s where my body goes. Unless I’m doing a limp or an eye thing — which I seem to be known for now.”

Office Space Stephen Root with red swingline stapler

Root at Milton in “Office Space”

His “eye thing” is a referneces to roles in Office Space and O Brother, Where Art Thou? adding that “…that’s just something that those roles required. Mike [Judge] wrote that into the Office Space character, and I literally had to wear contacts behind two-inch lenses to be able to see at all. I had no depth perception. Anything I had to reach on the desk, I had to practice four times. But that happened to come right next to the time I played the blind guy in O Brother, and that became the Year of the Eye.”

Root is not like character actors trying to play specific types, “I certainly try not to!,” he says in the interview and then points out that the Office Space fandom is amazing, asked to sign red staplers regularly.

“[Laughs.] I see at least two a week and sign them. I gotta tell you, they send red ones all over the place; I’ll go to different shows — I did Justified a couple of times, and on shooting day, I had four staplers in a box waiting for me. So that will never go away, and I don’t ever want it to go away.”

When asked if the stapler manufacturer has approached the actor for an advertising gig, he revealed that They have not, but I don’t know whether I want to go back into that. I’m happy that it’s its own little jewel and people keep rediscovering it in the cubicles every couple of years. That’s a nice thing.”

Full interview at NY MAG

Stephen Root appearing on "Justified"

Stephen Root appearing on “Justified”

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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