Jack McBrayer and Alexander Skarsgard Get Chilly For Climate Change
The actors, IRL friends, boarded a Greenpeace boat and went to the Arctic to make a Funny Or Die series.
Actors Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) are unlikely pals, as evidenced by their recent nine-day journey to the Arctic on a Greenpeace boat. The two—who are IRL friends—partnered with Funny Or Die to shoot a comedy series that follows their travels through one of the coldest places on Eartth. The idea is to highlight the pressing climate change issue and build support for Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign, which aims to create a wildlife sanctuary in international waters around the North Pole and end to oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. In the series, which premieres today, McBrayer and Skarsgard may be at odds with one another. But in conversation, the two come across like best pals.
Esquire: Were you guys friends before making this?
Jack McBrayer: Nope. Still aren’t.
Alexander Skarsgard: Well, we were before, but not so much anymore. We were incredibly close until we spent nine days together on a boat in bunk beds.
JM: He saw the worst of Jack McBrayer. He saw Jack McBrayer’s insides.
AS: I saw the inside of Jack McBrayer. And I got to smell the inside of Jack McBrayer.
How was this project pitched to you?
JM: I knew some people over at Funny Or Die and when they were talking about this project with Greenpeace one of my friends over there was like “You know what? Jack McBrayer hates the cold. Let’s send Jack to the North Pole!” I knew I could only do this if I had a buddy with me, and it turns out that Alex was interested. I figured he was so busy, but as soon as I sent the email I got back “YES!” And I was like “Oh no, what have I done?”
What made you say yes to Jack so quickly?
AS: Well, I’ve been a member of Greenpeace since I was a teenager. It was such an amazing opportunity to go up there and learn more about the campaign. And Jack and I are friends from Los Angeles and I’ve been trying to get him to come visit me in Sweden or travel. He’s very happy at his pool in Los Angeles and I was very happy when he said “I’ll consider traveling and going on a little adventure.”
JM: That is true. Alex is inherently adventurous. He’s been to the South Pole. This was just another trophy on his shelf. And it’s just not in my DNA. I just don’t have wanderlust.
Why does a comedy video series make sense for a serious subject like global warming?
JM: A lot of times we associate Greenpeace and climate change and shrinking polar caps with heavy-handed, weighty material. It’s somber stuff. But with Funny Or Die we thought we could put an interesting take on it. Make it a little more palatable, especially for young people who tune into the website.
AS: That was beautifully put, Jack.
JM: Thank you. I love you.
Alex, as someone who has traveled a lot what did you find compelling about this particular trip?
AS: I was really blown away by the crew members. It was such an amazing experience to be able to spend nine days on a boat with these Greenpeace people. Some of them were scientists and some were crew members working on the ship. Just to hear their stories, like what drew them to Greenpeace in the first place and what they’ve been through. Every single second of the day they work to save the planet, which makes me as an actor feel quite insignificant.
JM: And meanwhile here we are like “Hey, we’re going to do some funny videos on an ice floe so if y’all could stop the boat for a few hours we’d appreciate that.”
Will you continue working with Greenpeace?
JM: If they have me back. I left a great deal of vomit on their boat so our relationship may be over.
AS: But it was all organic.
JM: Yeah, it helped the Arctic.