Actor David Koechner has more than likely appeared in a movie or TV show you love at one point or another. The hard-working character actor and stand-up comedian routinely challenges himself with new roles, the latest of which being a co-starring part in the upcoming holiday horror film, “Krampus.”
Many may know Koechner better as Champ Kind from “Anchorman,” Todd Packer from “The Office,” Bill Lewis from “The Goldbergs or Commodore Bellacourt from “Another Period.” Despite appearing in a cavalcade of comedies, both in TV and movies, the father of five children still manages to find the time to challenge himself as an actor with roles in more dramatic or psychological thrillers like the 2013 film “Cheap Thrills.”
“I think you have to keep growing as an actor because your audience will change, your market will change and all that. At the end of the day, it’s a business and you have to be mindful of that.” he told International Business Times in a phone interview. “Plus, as an actor, how much more fun is it to do a bunch of different things?”
Koechner will challenge his ability to balance light comedy with intense drama once again in the Dec. 4 holiday movie “Krampus,” a horror film about the evil Germanic demon that acts as the violent counterpart to Jolly Old St. Nicholas.
“It’s a holiday horror with humor and heart... And also Howard. So there’s 5 H’s,” he joked. “Howard is my character, he’s kind of conservative and more of a narrow-thinker. He’s got a wife and four kids and they’re visiting their in-laws, but they don’t like each other. They’re just going through the motions of Christmas. It’s almost a trial, it’s not the tradition it’s meant to be. That ends up not being good because Krampus comes around and goes after people that lose their Christmas spirit.”
According to the actor, his role in the upcoming film leans more on his dramatic chops than the comedic ones he’s crafted throughout the years. He cites one tense moment in “Krampus” as an example of a scene where he really got to show off what he can do.
“It was quite a trick for [director] Michael Dougherty to pull all this stuff off, you know? Humor, heart and horror, he did a great job,” he said. “There’s a scene where Howard decides to go out by himself and I have a confrontation with Adam Scott’s character, Tommy, and he’s trying to get me to stay in the house. I kind of pull a gun on him and say ‘I’m going.’ It was kind of a John Wayne moment.”
As previously reported, the 2015 movie is hardly the first Krampus-related fare to grace pop culture in recent years. However, by and large the half-goat, half-man monster isn’t well known in the United States. While that lack of recognition may scare a lot of actors off, Koechner confessed that, while he didn’t know much about Krampus before signing on to the film, learning about him only invigorated his desire to appear in it.
“I know there’s a certain genre interest crowd that’s already well aware of this movie, but by and large I think the general population isn’t familiar with Krampus,” he said. “It’s based on an old Germanic tradition, you know? Being able to be a part of bringing the legend of Krampus to a wider audience is a real kick in the pants.”
It seems that the actor has carved a nice place for himself in Hollywood where he has, what he calls, the privilege of working on a lot of different and innovative projects. However, at the end of the day, the 53-year-old funnyman says that the ability to find work as an actor and provide for his family by playing for cameras every day is what keeps him going.
“Having five kids is a reality. Myself as a husband and father, I have to provide for my family. So when an opportunity comes along to do something different, I always welcome it. I’m usually known as a comedic actor and, while a lot of these movies have comic and dramatic elements, I appreciate that directors can look at me and go 'oh, he can do both.' That way we both get what we need,” he said. “A lot of times I do character roles, but regardless of the size of the role, I often tell [fans] that I have a memorable participation in the roles they’ve seen. So, when I do show up, I have an impactful effect on the thing they see. That’s what’s really important to me.”