"The dean of the drama school was really into the drama students working with the film students," McBride said. "So that kind of forced us to just, out of a necessity, act [in] each other's student films and that was kind of like any sort of real training that I had for acting -- [it] just came from having to show up in each other's films because we didn't know any real actors."
McBride nabbed a plum role in the comedy "Tropic Thunder" in which he plays Cody, a behind-the-scenes special effects guy who has "a fondness for explosions and fire" -- and a tendency to sometimes inflict some not-so-special damaging effects on himself.
"Some of his previous work has not gone so well," McBride joked about his character. "He almost blinded Jamie Lee Curtis on 'Freaky Friday.' He lost his finger on 'Driving Miss Daisy,' which was his first studio gig. Yeah, 'cause that was a special effects extravaganza."
And what better way to master the part of "special effects guy" than from the experts themselves?
McBride did just that, shadowing the special effects professionals from the crew of '"Tropic Thunder." McBride said, "[I learned] how to use a flamethrower and kind of, you know, how to napalm a beautiful forest -- so these were all things that I could carry with me into my life outside of filmmaking."
Whether McBride ventures back behind the camera or remains in front, it's clear that comedy is where he belongs.
As McBride soaks in his newly acclaimed fame, expect to see him in next year's "Land of the Lost," with fellow curly-haired Will Ferrell. But don't let the movie title fool you, McBride said. He hasn't ventured from the R-rated comedies into the "family movie" category just yet.
"I thought I had it pegged, you know I was like, 'This will be family-oriented,' but then we would start filming it and ... [we said] this is the weirdest movie ever made. I mean there was literally scenes where me and Will are like watching Sleestacks ["Land of the Lost's" large green humanoid/reptilian creatures] have sex with each other. ... It's just, like, this is a very odd take on the show, but I think it's gonna be pretty awesome."