BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Josh Gad might not look like one of the most happening guys in Hollywood. He goes all but unnoticed on a recent Sunday morning as he walks into the lobby of Hotel Sofitel wearing shorts with a camp shirt and a hint of scruff on his face.
But with “Jobs” in theaters and “Thanks for Sharing” opening Friday, plus an upcoming TV show with Billy Crystal and the lead in a Sam Kinison biopic among several other projects, it’s like Gad rode the momentum of his Tony-nominated starring role in Broadway’s “Book of Mormon” right into the Hollywood spotlight.
The 32-year-old, who knew at age 4 that he wanted to be an entertainer, says he’s so grateful for the success — which coincided with the birth of his first child — that he’s found a new level of peace.
“My wife grounds me. My daughter grounds me. I have a lot to be grateful for outside of work that I think puts me at peace in life,” he said. “And it allows you to do better work. I’m no longer chasing. I feel like when you stop chasing and you can just relax, take things one step at a time, it all works out.
Here’s a look at how things are working out for him right now:
— “Thanks for Sharing”: In this ensemble story, Gad plays a sex addict in denial about his condition. Busted after rubbing up against an innocent woman on a subway, he lands in a 12-step group where an unlikely friendship helps his recovery.
Writer-director Stuart Blumberg said he knew Gad was his guy after seeing “Book of Mormon.”
“When Josh read the script, he goes, ‘So, have you been following me around?’” Blumberg said. “I didn’t know anything about his personal life, but sometimes you write a part and then you meet just the person to play it.”
— “Jobs”: Gad plays Steve Wozniak in this unauthorized Steve Jobs biopic. Even Wozniak, not a big fan of the film, appreciated the performance, saying he “thought the acting throughout was good.”
Gad didn’t get to meet the computer pioneer before filming but has since “started an email chain” with the Apple co-founder. The actor approached the real-life role “with great care and great respect” and is now doing the same for the…
— Sam Kinison biopic: Gad won’t say much about the film set for production next spring, other than he’s already begun preparing for the Larry Charles-directed biopic.
— Billy Crystal TV show: Charles is also set to direct the pilot of FX’s “Comedians,” which starts shooting in early 2014, Gad said.
“I really had no interest in going back to TV right now,” said the actor, who wrote, executive produced and starred in NBC’s “1600 Penn.” ”I’m very happy with my film career and where it’s going and… then I found out Billy Crystal is attached.
“Billy Crystal is one of my idols, literally one of my idols,” Gad continued. “I probably saw ‘City Slickers’ 10 times in the theaters.”
— “Frozen”: Gad voices a snowman in this animated Disney film set for release in November.
“It’s an opportunity for my daughter to see something that I can be a part of,” he said.
— “Wedding Ringer” with Kevin Hart: Gad just started shooting this comedy, playing a groom who hires Hart’s character to serve as his best man.
— A sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito’s “Twins”: Gad and his college buddy Ryan Vincent just submitted their first draft of “Triplets” to Universal.
— USA Today column: Gad is also moonlighting indefinitely as a columnist for USA Today with bimonthly essays on such topics and Internet bullying, the Defense of Marriage Act and Ben Affleck as the new Batman.
“It’s fun,” Gad said. “It’s a long-form Twitter feed, is what it is.”
— “South Park”: Gad says he’s going to collaborate with Trey Parker and Matt Stone on an upcoming episode.
“I am so in love with them,” he said. “It is just the greatest gift ever to see how these guys operate.”
Besides Parker, Stone and Crystal, Gad cites Jon Stewart, Charlie Chaplin, Chris Farley, John Candy and John Belushi. The career he’d most like to emulate, though, is that of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
“I think of him as an all-around artist, and that is the legacy that I’d like to have eventually,” Gad said.
He’s got plenty on his plate meanwhile, and though he’s at peace, he still feels more than a little pressure to keep everything happening.
“The more successful you become the more you have to prove, because there’s much more room to fall,” he said. “Before, when I was just a no-name and I was kind of taking shots in the dark, I had more opportunities that I could mess up. Now it’s like I better be making the right choices, because it’s going to be tough to work my way all the way back up.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy .