Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Vengeance Star Boyd Holbrook Tells What It's Really Like To Work With B.J. Novak - Exclusive

"Vengeance" is the name of a new movie that marks the directorial debut of former "The Office" star B.J. Novak, who also wrote the film and stars as the lead character. The movie follows a New York City journalist (Novak) who heads to West Texas to attend the funeral of a woman he briefly hooked up with back home. Once there, the reporter thinks he might be onto a story that could explain why the people of the United States have become so divided — a story that's steeped in equal measures in cynicism and compassion.

On the "compassion" side of the docket is the dead woman's brother, Ty Shaw, who treats Novak's Ben Manalowitz as family from the minute he meets him, and ends up being much more than the "country hayseed" that he initially appears to be. Starring as Ty is Boyd Holbrook, whose resume to date includes featured roles in the film "Logan" and the Netflix series "Narcos," and who can now be seen in "The Sandman" as the Corinthian and in next year's untitled "Indiana Jones" sequel.

"Vengeance" marks Holbrook's second collaboration with Novak, after starring in an episode of the TV series "The Premise," which the latter also wrote and directed. What's it like to work in real life with Novak, who irritated his colleagues and was a constant source of emotional angst for his on-and-off lover Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) as Ryan Howard on "The Office"?

"I was so excited that we had just worked on a TV show together," Holbrook tells Looper, "but then this, he was going to produce, write, direct and act in. I got some really good front row seats to watch it all go down."

Is B.J. Novak anything like Ryan Howard at all?

On "The Office," temp worker Ryan Howard was distinguished by his marked lack of enthusiasm for actually doing any work at Dunder Mifflin, while also showing an often rude, vindictive side to his fellow employees. Even when he was inexplicably promoted to corporate vice president, his ideas for expanding the company's online operations ended in Ryan being arrested for fraud (before coming back to the Scranton branch again).

Watching B.J. Novak direct, write and star in "Vengeance," however, provided a very different experience for Boyd Holbrook. "I was completely jealous," he admits. 

It's worth noting that Novak was also one of the main writers on "The Office," as well as an executive producer and occasional director, so while most viewers will remember him only as the exasperating Ryan, there is much more to Novak that is now on display in "Vengeance."

"It really shows what a creative person he is to undertake all this and come out with such a unique and fresh film," says Holbrook. "I don't feel like I've seen anything like this before. It shows all of his range as an actor, and the expansion of his empathy, of being able to write characters from Texas ... and also, there was the technical difficulty day to day of having so much pressure on you and charging forward."

"Vengeance" is now playing in theaters, while "The Office" can be streamed on Peacock.