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B.J. Novak not playing nice in 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'

"Office" fans, take note: There's more than a little of the egotistic Ryan Howard in B.J. Novak's performance in the upcoming blockbuster "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

"You could not have the movie without my role," Novak deadpanned during a visit to TODAY Thursday. Still, the actor has a point: In "Spider-Man 2," Novak's Alistair Smythe is a condescending boss who is instrumental in transforming Jamie Foxx's character into the supervillain Electro.

Playing an overzealous jerk was familiar territory for Novak. "I did find some overlap, unfortunately, that I could draw on," he said, referring to his "Office" character, Ryan. "(Ryan) was also sort of drunk on power at a very young age, and I think that's the story of this character I play here."

Though Novak's screen time in "Spider-Man 2" is relatively brief, it's a nice continuation of the actor's move into major feature films. He's happy for the transition, recalling a time earlier in his career — during a stint as a stand-up comic — when audiences were less welcoming.

"I was so bad that a heckler stood up and yelled, 'Slow down! Take a breath! Ask us where we're from!'" Novak said. "The heckler was actually trying to help me, which was so much sadder than a heckler who considers you an equal that they can heckle."

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opens in theaters May 2. Novak's first book, a collection of short stories titled "One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories," is available now.

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