updated 05/26/2011 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/31/2011 AT 10:30 AM ET
Bridesmaids has won over audiences, as has its surprising leading man.
Chris O’Dowd plays Kristen Wiig’s love interest, Officer Rhodes, in the hit comedy, which has turned the Irish actor into a breakout star – and reluctant sex symbol. While the 31-year-old is overjoyed by the success of the movie, he’s still getting used to all his newfound female fans.
1. He’s shocked by his sex symbol status
Audiences – particularly women – have been falling in love with O’Dowd. Many of his Twitter followers have been expressing their affection for the actor, even going so far as to Tweet marriage proposals. O’Dowd, who has a girlfriend, is baffled by all the attention. “I find it a little ridiculous particularly women finding me attractive is a new sensation,” he said recently on Conan.
2. The Irish accent is real
While the movie never fully explains why a Midwestern police officer has an Irish accent, it turns out it was O’Dowd’s native tongue that helped him land the part. I went in and did it with an American accent, like I do in most auditions, the actor told Access Hollywood. “It went fine, but the director knew some of my work, so he asked me to do it with my accent, and it worked out better.
3. He wasn’t sure he’d landed the role
After a long improv session with Wiig and director Paul Feig, he had a confusing meeting with producer Judd Apatow. “There was never that point where someone s like, ‘You got the part,’ O’Dowd told EW.com. “I had a meeting with [Apatow] and towards the end we just chatted about loads of things and he was like, ‘Oh well I think the movie is gonna be a lot of fun.’ At that point, I was thinking, if you re not giving me the part, then you’re really just rubbing my nose in it.”
4. He’s already a star in Britain
While this may be his breakout role in the U.S., O’Dowd has been working as a comedian in the U.K. for years. He’s starred in a number of TV series, including the hit comedy The IT Crowd from 2006 to 2010, when he started taking on more film roles.
5. He’ll be reuniting with his cast members soon
While there’s no word on a sequel to Bridesmaids, O’Dowd will be hitting the big screen with Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Jon Hamm again in the upcoming Friends with Kids. The film is about a group of thirty-somethings who start having kids, but two of the friends find themselves without partners and decide to have a baby together. O’Dowd said he had a lot of fun shooting the comedy, in which Rudolph plays his wife.