Michael Cera is not like any other child star. His career in acting began at the age of 11, but he started getting recognition at the age of 15 for his character in "Arrested Development," George Michael Bluth. He made a number of movies following the underground success of the show including "Superbad," "Juno" and "Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist," making a name for himself as the shy, sarcastic indie kid.
Cera fans who love this character won’t be disappointed when they see his latest film, "Youth in Revolt," which comes out Friday. Cera plays Nick Twisp, a bumbling teenager who has a curious way with words. But Cera also brings something new to the table — an alter-ego that is just as naughty as his other characters are harmless.
Blast recently got a chance to sit down with Cera and his "Youth in Revolt" costar, Portia Doubleday, to talk about the movie, Zach Galifianakis and all things French.
"It’s so crazy," said 21-year-old Portia Doubleday, when asked how it feels to be promoting her first movie. "It’s definitely bizarreâ€¦but definitely this experience has been nothing I could’ve dreamt of (laughs). The clich© statement."
Doubleday, sister of Kaitlin Doubleday ("Waiting"), is tall, blonde and willowy, and stands out in contrast to Cera who is dark-haired and shy, hiding behind a brown pea coat and a mug of coffee.
In casual conversation before the interview, Cera laughingly talked about the imminent release of "Twilight: New Moon"â€¦and how he fell asleep in the middle of it. But the moment he sank into the interview chair, he became immediately serious — answering thoughtfully, tapping his Nikes incessantly and nodding encouragement to his fledgling costar.
"I’m alone here," said Doubleday, "becauseâ€¦Michael’s been working for awhile."
The actors said they drew most of their inspiration for their performances from the books, written by C.D. Payne.
"I read it when I was 16," said Cera. "Yeah it was definitely our goal to try and capture the tone of the book, making the movie."
While Francois Dillinger, Nick Twisp’s alter-ego was undoubtedly more fun to play for Cera, he said that he related more to poor, pathetic Nick Twisp.
"Personally I can relate to Nick," said Cera, "going through this thing of being kind of far away from this girl that he’s crazy about and not knowing what’s going on or where they stand, and, you know, just kind of the confusion that happens. I think that’s pretty relatable for most people."
Doubleday revealed that she related more to her character than you might think. She plays Sheeni, a teen who is obsessed with France, the French and anything to do with them. Doubleday’s boyfriend during shooting was actually French. Imagine that.
"The reason why we went out," she said, "is because he asked me to go out with him in French. But he also sent me roses with letters in French. It’s so romantic and his accent just totally got me."
But someone else got him. Doubleday shared a story with us about her costar, Zach Galifianakis, who gave her boyfriend a strange greeting his first day on set.
"We were all just meeting in a hotel room," said Doubleday, "and I was bringing my boyfriendâ€¦for the first time to meet everybody and we opened the door and Zach’s pants were down, full-on flashing. My boyfriend is so shy and bashful, so he’s like â€˜Oh no! Oh, oops!’ I was like, well, â€˜This is Zach. Zach, this is Nicolai.’"
Cera and Doubleday had the unique opportunity of working with two Michael Ceras — Nick Twisp and Francois Dillinger. While acting with oneself might seem fun, Cera said it was, at times, difficult.
"It’s just really technical like how you get two of yourself in the same shot," said Cera. "It’s tricky. You just kinda have to keep doing it until there’s one that just happens to fit perfectly."
Doubleday, on the other hand, said that a lot of times, it was hard for her to keep a straight face — like say when Francois Dillinger tells Sheeni, "Why don’t you pull down these blankets and show me what you’re hiding under there?"
"It was really exciting to kind of see how it was going to play out," said Doubleday. "You know, seeing it on paper and being like, â€˜Oh wow, I wonder how this is gonna work — and how I’m not gonna laugh.’"
Dillinger is the comic relief throughout most of the movie, with his outrageous statements and even more outrageous actions (once, he stuffs a fistful of shrooms into his mouth, turns to Nick and says "Have fun"). But unfortunately, he only makes limited appearances in the film.
"That’s good," said Cera. "I’d rather you be wanting more than wanting less."
“Youth in Revolt” is in theaters Friday.