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"Ron Livingston," MOVIELINE, March 1999

Ron Livingston may have been overshadowed by Vince Vaughn in Swingers (Livingston played Jon Favreau's best friend from back East), but he's nabbed himself the lead in his new picture. In fact, it's his job to carry Mike Judge's Office Space. "Mike didn't necessarily want a recognizable name," he says. "He has sort of an anti-cool thing going on. It was a long audition process." At one point in the wait Livingston heard the role was being offered to Ben Affleck. "I didn't believe the part was mine until the second week of shooting," he admits. "I kept thinking, "If Ben changes his mind, I'm sure they'll pay me off." While Livingston's character, a frustrated computer programmer, is the focus of Office Space, it's his less-seen costar, Jennifer Aniston, whose name will help open the picture. As for wroking with the "Friends" goddess, Livingston allows, "I was nervous about it. But the first day of shooting she smiled and looked me in the eye. She dropped her guard is what she did. And she totally disarmed me."

One look into the brown eyes of this 29-year-old Iowa native is enough to convince you he's so far retained his homegrown values. Yale may have intervened (he directed Edward Norton in a play while there), but a Midwestern niceness oozes from him. "I don't care for Hollywood parties very much," he confides. The kind where people are looking around to see who's more important to talk to and nobody winds up talking to anyone." He prefers to hang out with guys like his Swingers pal Favreau, and he's still close enough to the life portrayed in that movie to keep his head. "It's a strange combination of sick ego and naivete that allows somebody to think they can make it," he says. "Any actor who's working is lucky." In which case, Livingston himself qualifies as very lucky- he's done a raft of upcoming films, playing a gubernatiorial aide in The Big Brass Ring, an affable loser in The Two Ninas and a Ratso Rizzo-type in another with the working title Jello Shots. - Gary Socol

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