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Sundance 2011: Ed Helms says don't expect a 'Hangover 3'

January 26, 2011 |  4:19 pm

HelmsIn just a few weeks, Ed Helms will attempt to make the jump from television personality to bona fide movie star in “Cedar Rapids,” a  Fox Searchlight comedy that marks his debut as a leading man.

Helms, who was first seen on TV for five years on “The Daily Show” and now is part of the ensemble cast of “The Office,” has been in films before –- most memorably as a guy who cowers before his girlfriend in “The Hangover.” But “Cedar Rapids” presents a new set of challenges for the actor, who is known mostly for playing the nice-guy sidekick.

This week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Helms sat in a faux insurance office that  Searchlight had set up on Main Street to replicate the building seen in the movie.  Seeming almost as polite and earnest as his character in the movie, the wide-eyed Tim Lippe, Helms insisted he wasn’t worrying about the TV-to-film transition.

“Well, um, I don’t know what is ahead. But as long as I’m excited about what I’m working on, I’m not gonna get too hung up on the format,” the 37-year-old said. “ 'The Office' is in this really exciting transitional phase — it’s kind of awesome.”

The actor was referring, of course, to Steve Carell’s imminent departure from the sitcom. Carell is still filming his final episodes, and Helms on Sunday swore he has yet to discover who will be stepping into the show’s boss role. However, on Wednesday, it was reported that Will Ferrell will help ease the changeover, appearing on the show for four episodes.

Still, Helms was unsure of how the show will “find equilibrium in the long run. Like, who will be the boss? That question has, I think, 100 answers that will probably get explored. It’s basically like one of the biggest story lines in the history of the show, so it will get milked out over a long period of time and there won’t be, like, an easy, simple answer. But there will be a lot of us vying for the position.”

Helms is also a part of another project that many are anticipating: “Hangover Part II,” due out in May. Those hoping “The Hangover” sequel evolves into a full-blown franchise may be disappointed, the actor said, as he believes the second film will be the last in the comedy series.

“I doubt it,” he said, when asked if there would be a third installment. “I don’t think Todd [Phillips, the director] would let that happen.... I would hope that ‘The Hangover’ kind of has a dignified legacy, if that makes any sense.”

Look for more with Helms in the coming weeks.

-- Amy Kaufman in Park City, Utah

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Ed Helms poses with a cutout of himself in Park City. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.

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