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With Judd Apatow comedies raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and traditional leading-man vehicles floundering, a pretty face no longer automatically equals a big opening weekend. Suddenly the nerdy boys next door are wielding a whole lot of clout.
David Krumholtz misses his peacoat. “No one wears black here,” he laments. “I’m so over L.A.” One suspects it’s not just West Coast fashion that’s got the Queens native down but also the monotony that comes from spending the past two years filming his TV drama, CBS’s Numb3rs, which has turned the curly-haired Krumholtz, 29, who plays a math professor who helps crack criminal cases, into an unlikely sex symbol among brainy schoolgirls across America. “It’s boring.… I get disenchanted,” he admits. It’s a great role, sure, but a glance at Krumholtz’s résumé reveals an actor compelled to try new things: He’s been the funny guy (Walk Hard, Superbad, Harold and Kumar), the nebbishy Jew (Slums of Beverly Hills, Sidewalks of New York, Liberty Heights), the character actor in Oscar contenders (Ray and Bobby) and even a mental-hospital escapee (My Suicidal Sweetheart). His childhood roles—a dorky cereal commercial star in Life With Mikey and Wednesday’s wussy boyfriend in Addams Family Values—could easily have given way to a lifetime of playing the consummate geek. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He recounts meeting a teenage girl at a math convention in St. Louis. “She said, ‘You make it okay to be awkward and weird and nerdy,’” he says. “That’s awesome.”
Krumholtz’s versatility goes beyond his onscreen work—he just finished writing a script for Judd Apatow called Attorneys at Raw about two white lawyers who decide to become rappers. “My friends and I have been rapping on the side for years,” he says. “I wrote it for me and Seth [Rogen]; he’s actually amazing at freestyling.”