MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON: Check Out Our Exclusive Interview With THE OFFICE Star Craig Robinson!

Craig Robinson is a comedy legend, but he delivers a performance unlike any we've seen from him before in Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. Find out what he had to tell us about his role in the movie here...

In Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, Kate Hudson and Jun Jong Seo star in this mind-bending thriller from visionary director Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night).

When a struggling single mother (Hudson) befriends a mysterious mental institute escapee with supernatural powers (Jong Seo), she sees a lucrative opportunity to make some fast cash. But when they draw the attention of a detective, their luck starts to run out as the cops close in on their crime spree.

The movie depicts many of its stars in a different light, including The Office and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Craig Robinson as the aforementioned detective. His dogged pursuit of Bonnie and Mona Lisa allows the actor to show his dramatic chops, and we were delighted to pick his brain about that experience earlier this week. 

Robinson takes us through his approach to playing Officer Harold in great detail, revealing how he approached specific moments and some of the biggest challenges this role presented. He also reflects on getting to shoot the action down in New Orleans and the trippy experience of working with a filmmaker like Ana Lily. 

At the 8:35 mark, we also hear from the actor and comedian about what The Office's legacy means to him, pondering the possibility of returning to the series and doing the same with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We also hear briefly from Robinson on his upcoming Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur role.

Check out the full interview in the player below: 

To me, Officer Harold seems to want to do the right thing, but does become increasingly obsessed with catching Mona Lisa; after spending time in his shoes, do you view this character as a hero, villain, or somewhere in between? 

I see him as the hero. You know, he’s searching for the truth. He’s stunned and doesn’t quite know how to proceed, but he’s relentless. I see him as the hero, and I know he could be seen as the antagonist, but he’s looking to do the right thing. As he says to the girl at the end, ‘You can’t do this to people. It’s not right. You can’t be controlling people at your will.’ I don’t know, he looks like an anti-hero, but I see him as the hero.

This mission he’s on does eat him up inside and it culminates with that really powerful confrontation with Evan Whitten’s Charlie. What was that day on set like for you two?

Well, I look like not such a hero then [Laughs]. The whole thing was intense. Ana Lily Amanpour is the ultimate artist, the ultimate individual. Everything came to life from getting the script. She sent the script, and I know this goes off from your question, but she sent the music and insisted you played the score as you read the script. That’s how involved we all were just coming in. Getting back to yelling at Charlie, knowing the little kid knows something, for me as the cop, was infuriating. But it was intense. Everything was intense. 

You can feel the frustration in your performance and this is such an interesting role and one, I thought, that allows you to show some different sides of yourself - was that a big part of the appeal when it came to working with Ana Lily and subverting those audience expectations?

1000%. I love the weirdness of the script. I love that I got to play this character who goes through these changes. I didn’t love the leg brace and crutches so much. That was tough. It was definitely showing a different side of me. I don’t do a lot of dramas and fantasy stuff, so it’s always tempting to hope into that genre. 

I have to say, I loved the scene where you're pursuing Bonnie and Mona Lisa in what has one to be one of the slowest foot chases we’ve seen because poor Harold is on that crutch. It’s not necessarily played for laughs, but what do you enjoy about exploring the absurdity of a situation like that? 

[Laughs] Well, it definitely highlights the character. You can’t ignore that. The worst part was getting in and out of the car. If I didn’t have the leg braces and crutch to deal with, it was the police belt with the gun, the badge, flashlight, handcuffs, and all that stuff. I was like, ‘Please don’t show me getting in and out of the car, Ana.’ The leg brace was something that was not comfortable but to be able to play that, and you say it works, so that’s what makes it for me. 

We see Mona Lisa take control of Officer Harold, so what was it like working on those scenes and was mirroring her actions particularly challenging to get right?

You have to go all the way in with that. You had to not know what was going on, be scared, and know the movements. I had to just suspend and believe and be in that. It was challenging, but if you say it works, thank you [Laughs].

You got to shoot this down in New Orleans so, as an actor, does it become easier to inhabit a character and world like this when you do have those surroundings to play off? 

Oh, absolutely it helps. The sensory overload of New Orleans is great. It’s all helpful. Whether it’s the people watching or just me being familiar with the city, it all feeds into what you’re doing. 

It must have been just being there. Did you make the movie post-COVID? 

No, no, it was pre-COVID I think. I can’t remember. Oh God, I don’t know. I don’t remember anymore! I have no sense of time. We lost yet gained two years…I don’t know. I forgot when this movie was made. Thanks a lot, Josh! It was pre-COVID. [Laughs] It was New Orleans. It’s an incredible town. They have a festival or parade every week. Something is always happening. 

Having a background in comedy, when you approach a role like Officer Harold, do you still like to work with a director to improvise and play around a little or did you have a different sort of dynamic with Ana Lily? 

We worked together. I don’t think I did too much improv, but in rehearsals, getting to know the character and what she wanted and being in New Orleans observing cops as I walked around…that’s what informs everything. It was very in the moment, but I saw her vision from the beginning. 

I spoke to Ed Skrein last week and he said he really fell in love with Fuzz making this film. Is there anything about Officer Harold you feel you’ve carried away with you? He’s very relentless.

Relentless is exactly the word that I would like to keep from Officer Harold. He’s going to get his man no matter what, even if he’s going to end up shouting at that little boy at the airport. Relentless is the best way to describe him and, of course, forget what you know.

Ana Lily is such a unique filmmaker and this is a really trippy movie. Did that come through on set or was it something you experienced for the first time watching the movie? 

Oh no, you got it on set. One day, Ana was directing in full clown makeup [Laughs]. Imagine somebody directing you in full clown makeup. It was all that. The music was trippy. New Orleans, being controlled…it was all a trip. All a trip! 

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is now in theaters, on Digital and on Demand.

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