'Book of Mormon': Why Josh Gad almost turned down his star-making role -- EXCLUSIVE

Josh-Gad

Image Credit: Josh Gad 11/04/2010 Glenn Harris / PR Photos

A few months ago, Josh Gad was best known for small parts in movies like 21 and Love and Other Drugs. Today, he’s one of the stars of Broadway’s newest hit The Book of Mormon, the blissfully blasphemous musical written by Avenue Q‘s Bobby Lopez and South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Gad plays Elder Cunningham, a misfit Mormon missionary sent to Uganda to baptize the natives. The role is already drawing rave reviews and bringing Gad, 30, the biggest publicity of his career. But as it turns out, the actor almost didn’t sign on to the musical when he was first wooed for the role by Lopez three years ago.

“I remember Bobby first sending me a demo recording of one of the show’s numbers that’s rather controversial, and I called my agent and said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” Gad tells EW. “I have no ties to religion, per se, and I’m not afraid of pushing the envelope, but this seems really intense. Hearing the song out of context, I was like, ‘What the hell are we doing here?’”

Gad says he gave the show a second chance because of two simple words: South Park. “Matt and Trey have made a career of pushing the envelope. They’re so brilliant at satire. I knew that the people involved were good enough that I had to be a part of the show.”

Book of Mormon isn’t even Gad’s only gig right now. The actor also stars in the new web comedy series Gigi, about a non English-speaking foreigner living in America. “I basically created the character to make my wife laugh,” says Gad of the series, which provides him ample opportunities for slapstick and pratfalls. “I wanted to challenge myself to do something that didn’t rely on funny lines or dialogue. I want somebody in South America to be able to turn this on and say, ‘That’s funny.’”

Check out two episodes of Gigi below.

Read more:
‘Book of Mormon’: Matt Stone and Trey Parker share their favorite
‘South Park’ creators’ ‘Book of Mormon’ to open on Broadway in
‘Book of Mormon’ bows on Broadway: How offensive is it? | PopWatch
The ‘Book of Mormon’ | Stage | EW.com

Comments (16 total) Add your comment
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  • Steve

    Wasn’t he also on Kelsey Grammar’s old show, Back to You?

    • LizzBlizz

      Yes, he was – and I thought that show (until the writer’s strike) was quite hilarious.

  • LizzBlizz

    He was also hilarious in the Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

    • js

      Exactly!

  • Mr. Holloway

    I’m glad to see that he’s apparently fantastic on stage because I thought he was aggressively awful in “Love and Other Drugs.” He was like an (even more) annoying version of Jonah Hill.

    • Grubi

      I find Jonah Hill hilarious thank you very much. He’s my favorite of the Apatow gang.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Eh…I can deal with him in small, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”-size doses.

        Couldn’t stand him in “Superbad.”

    • Tom

      I wasn’t aware that was even possible.

  • Amanda

    I love him, he has a lot coming out, the Gigi I don’t care for, loved Love and Other, and he has a movie with HIlary Duff AND Charlie Sheen coming out!!!

  • C

    omg Gigi is hysterical! can’t wait to see him on book of mormon!

  • C.watkin

    Am I missing something with the gig concept? Its like a not as good take on Borat? No?

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  • John

    Personally, I find Gad’s “Mormon” characterization beyond annoying, just way the heck over the top, down the other side and back up again (couldn’t someone have pulled him back? he makes repeat listenings of the otherwise top-notch cast album painful) and am glad that he is unlikely to appear in the Chicago production of “Mormon,” which I have tickets for.

    Go away, Josh.

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