Best known to small-screen devotees as sales representative Jim Halpert, the eternally patient, undeclared admirer of Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) on Greg Daniels' hit NBC sitcom/mockumentary The Office, Massachusetts native John Krasinski graduated from Rhode Island's Brown University in 2001 as an honors playwright, but quickly segued into acting, and within three years launched himself into films, predominantly with bit roles and supporting parts, but consistently echoing the promise that he would soon find himself among number-one box-office draws and Tinseltown heartthrobs. By 2006, in fact, People Magazine featured Krasinski in its "Sexiest Men" issue -- a testament to the actor's rapidly growing recognition in the eyes of the public.
Born October 20, 1979, Krasinski grew up and attended high school in Newton -- an affluent western suburb of Boston. After receiving his degree from Brown, Krasinski studied at the National Theater Institute. 2004 marked the actor's "breakthrough year," with fleeting appearances in no less than four A-list productions. That year, he had bit parts as Ben in the American Zoetrope film Kinsey -- a biopic of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, directed by Bill Condon and starring Liam Neeson; Bob Flynn in Matt Mulhern's finely wrought (and underappreciated) alcoholism drama Duane Hopwood, starring David Schwimmer; Messenger #3 in Tim Story's urban comedy Taxi, with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon; and the British CG-animated fantasy Doogal (aka The Magic Roundabout), which didn't find U.S. release until early 2006. The first two of these films were widely lauded sleepers, the last two critically despised (though they failed to hurt Krasinski's career, given the low profile of his involvement).
The Office followed in 2005. Adapted by Daniels from a hit 2001 British series of the same title, the program -- a ratings bonanza on NBC -- stars Daily Show vet Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the tactless, vain, pushy, and loudmouthed (yet well-meaning) director of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company. While Carell's off-the-wall antics spiked the series with a never-ending source of hilarity, the gradually developing relationship between Krasinski's Jim and Jenna Fischer's Pam (two straight roles) brought the series weight and solicited interest from those viewers seeking deeper and more meaningful character development. Perhaps sensing this, Daniels opted to stretch their courtship at a snail's pace, over the course of several seasons.
Krasinski doubled this up, during 2005, with a fleeting turn as Corporal Harrigan in American Beauty director Sam Mendes' Desert Storm-era war picture Jarhead. That role brought limited recognition, but 2006 marked the actor's busiest year to date, with small parts in three key features during the holiday season. These included Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy The Holiday (starring Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law); Kinsey associate Bill Condon's musical Dreamgirls (loosely and unofficially based on the experiences of the Supremes), alongside heavyweights Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jamie Foxx, and Beyoncé Knowles; and Christopher Guest's showbiz comedy, For Your Consideration, as the "Paper Badge" Officer.
That same year, Krasinski signed on for a supporting role in the madcap 2007 comedy Smiley Face, with Anna Faris as a dim-bulb actress who finds it difficult to cope after she consumes a batch of marijuana-laden brownies concocted by her roommate. Krasinski also voices Sir Lancelot in Shrek the Third, alongside such screen giants as John Cleese and Julie Andrews. In late 2006, Krasinski entered talks to play pop phenom Mandy Moore's love interest in the 2007 License to Wed, also starring Robin Williams. Krasinski signed on to play Carter Rutherford in the long-gestating football drama-period romance Leatherheads, directed by George Clooney.
~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide