Saying Goodbye to Pawnee: Adam Scott on His Next Move

Parks and Rec star dabbles in ads, films, podcasts and more

Adam Scott made a career guest starring in series like Boy Meets World, Party of Five and Eastbound & Down, but he really became a TV star playing Ben Wyatt on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Now that the comedy is winding down its seventh and final season, the actor has branched out, starring in Smirnoff ads, appearing in films like the indie darling The Overnight and upcoming crime drama Black Mass, and doing his own U2-themed podcast. Here, Scott talks about what's next. 

Adweek: How are you and the cast dealing with Parks and Rec ending?

Scott: We finished shooting the show about a month and a half ago, so we've all accepted it at this point. We're all really proud of it, and the fact that we got to finish it while it's still at its peak. It was always a happy place to work. I think because we were always kind of on the bubble with that show, none of us ever slipped into taking it for granted.

What was your favorite memory from filming Parks and Rec?

The wedding. It was one of those where we weren't sure if we were going to last much longer, and it was a beautifully written episode. Everyone gets in tuxedos, someone has a couple of ring boxes, there's music playing, and someone's being walked down the aisle. Your body gets tricked into thinking it's a real wedding, and everyone starts getting weepy. (Laughs)

I have this theory that shows rumored to be canceled tend to be better because the cast and crew seem to try harder to keep it on the air. [Starz's] Party Down was the same thing. We never had any idea what our future was.

Besides Parks and Rec, you've been keeping busy. Congrats on selling your first film, The Overnight, at Sundance.

We had started Gettin' Rad Productions a couple of years ago, made primarily stuff for TV and wanted to do our first feature. Going from 12 people in a living room watching it to 1,200 people at the Eccles Theatre was pretty nerve-wracking. But the response was great and the reviews have been great, and we sold it so that's icing on the cake.

You sold to The Orchard, which is a newcomer in film distribution.

They're a really exciting new company, and we were just kind of bowled over by their enthusiasm. We felt strongly that we wanted to give this movie a strong chance to play traditionally in movie theaters, and of course, digital and down the road. I think back to my experiences growing up, watching movies in a crowded theater, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the experience would not be the same without the theater full of people—not that I'm comparing our movie to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What appealed to you about distributing on digital and VOD?

I'm a big consumer of media and content online. I watched the second season of [Netflix's] Orange Is the New Black in three days. It's largely a solitary experience unless you're streaming it on TV, of course, which we also do a lot with our family. But I love being able to curl up in bed with an iPad and watch The Godfather. I'm re-experiencing the movie in an even more intimate way than I ever did before. I think any company starting out these days has to take that into consideration. 

Adam Scott in Park City, Utah | Photo: Randall Slavin; Grooming: Thea Istenes/Exclusive Artists Management using Oribe Hair Care; Shot on location at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah

And you don't have to explain The Godfather to your kids.