Capone has a revoltingly good time talking with YOUTH IN REVOLT's Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday!!!
Published at: Jan. 5, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST by Capone
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Strangely enough, when I attempt to tell most folks just how great the upcoming release YOUTH IN REVOLT is as a dark comedy/coming-of-age bit of evil, the first question that comes up seems to be some variation of "Oh, is Michael Cera playing that Michael Cera kind of character again?" First of all, I still happen to find that character very funny, and it's one of the reasons that "Arrested Development," SUPERBAD, JUNO, NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, and PAPER HEART work so well. And is there any right-thinking human being who isn't bouncing off the walls with anticipation about what he's going to bring to SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD or the possibility of that long-anticipated ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT feature? But to be honest, Cera isn't just playing a variation of these previous roles in YOUTH IN REVOLT. Certainly his take on Nick Twisp fits in comfortably with the characters in these other films, but that's only until Nick's sociopathic alter-ego Francois Dillinger arrives to fuck shit up. I promise you that Francois is unlike anything Cera has done before, and for that reason alone, YOUTH IN REVOLT is one of Cera's best works as an actor
His co-star is the lovely newcomer Portia Doubleday, who play Sheeni Saunders, a slightly manipulative but ultimately very sweet and vulnerable young woman who is won over by a combination of Nick's unapologetic love for her and Francois' unfurled lust. The pair come through Chicago about a month ago, early on their press tour for the film, and it was quite clear that quite poised Doubleday was still soaking in the whirlwind aspects of all of the travel and barrage of questions. It was actually kind of refreshing to meet someone who still finds the process exciting and new. The two of them were really good together, and I hope that comes through for you. Enjoy Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday…
Capone: Getting ready for this interview gave me an excuse to reread the interview you did with Quint, for SUPERBAD, you, Jonah and Christopher in Austin, where you guys were just shooting the shit.
Michael Cera: In the hotel room, yeah, that was pretty neat.
Capone: It’s not even an interview. It’s just like you dropped the microphone in the room.
MC: We were hanging out, yeah. That was fun.
Capone: Are you two just getting started on this press tour at this point?
MC: Yeah, it’s our third stop.
Portia Doubleday: We’re half way in.
Capone: [to Portia] This has got to be pretty cool for you. I saw you downstairs getting lost in the lobby. I thought, "Ah, rookie mistake." [Portia responds with "Nooooooo!"]. I would have stood up and said something, but I didn’t know where to send you.
PD: Well, yeah, I said I had to go grab something, and I came back down and everyone was gone, and I went up the stairs. I am not supposed to be part of that weird conference. Did you see that?
Capone: Yeah, yeah.
PD: Well, I went there, and I went, I don’t think Costco is doing an interview with YOUTH IN REVOLT.
Capone: I don’t know what that is.
MC: Some sort of import/export rally or something. [laughs]
Capone: Let’s start with the book. Were either of you sort of familiar with this book before you got tapped to be in this movie?
MC: Yeah, yeah.
Capone: I know a disproportionate number of people in my life who were sort of obsessed with it.
MC: Really? It does have a big following, I think. I became aware of it initially because they were going to be making a movie of it, but it was a long time before the movie ever got going. But, yeah, I just became really obsessed with the book.
Capone: What do you remember about the book? What do you remember latching onto?
MC: I remember being latched on…Well, I was just going through my first thing where I was just crazy, really crazy about a girl. And, the girl in the book is so well written…Have you read the book?
Capone: No, no, I haven’t.
MC: It’s captured so well. He writes feminism really amazingly. Yeah, I remember just really relating to that…and the confusion, too, of what was going on. And, it was just…Yeah, I just connected with that. And, it’s really, really funny writing and a really relatable character.
Capone: Yeah. [To Portia] What about you?
PD: I actually hadn’t read the book, but when I was auditioning for it, I told a couple of my friends the name, and they had read it in high school. And, it was one of their favorite books. It was one of my sister’s favorite books in high school.
PD: Yeah, yeah!
MC: I didn’t know that.
PD: And, I didn’t know it either until two days ago. She was, like, "It was my favorite book."
MC: I had no idea.
PD: So, it’s, like, Hmmm, perfect timing.
MC: She didn’t tell you the whole time you were shooting?
PD: I think she had mentioned that she had read it, but I think it happened to be her favorite when she first got it.
MC: It is a great book.
PD: It is amazing. Yeah, when I read it, I loved Sheeni’s character. I think that kind of settled my nerves about doing it, because it was so exciting reading those scenes, like the scene in the woods. There’s so much that is not there. There’s so much description about her. So, that was really interesting.
Capone: I was impressed that the younger characters are not in many ways typical of characters this age in movies, I don’t think.
MC: Yeah, yeah.
Capone: [Michael] Was it fun just to be able to kind of cut loose playing François and do something that I’ve never seen you do before.
MC: It was fun, yeah. It was a lot of fun.
Capone: How much did the mustache inform your performance?
MC: It actually did a lot more than you’d think.
Capone: Whenever I get to talk with an actor, and they have some sort of weird facial hair in a role, I always want to know about the choice of the facial hair and how it kind of changed their performance.
MC: Well, [make-up artist] Roz Music designed it and kind of came up with it. And, she decided to make it two pieces. So, it’s not one thing; it’s two things, because there’s a little gap in between. And, it really restricts your mouth movements. And, you’re so conscious of it, because she’s constantly re-gluing it and you’re afraid of it popping off if you smile weirdly. [laughs] So, it really changes the way you use your mouth. And, actually, because it’s glued on, it actually shapes your mouth a bit. And, then, I had contacts in, too, which I was always aware of.
Capone: When you look in the mirror, you see somebody else.
MC: Oh, yeah. Seeing eyes other than your own when you look in the mirror is the weirdest thing. I never had colored contacts in before. It was really strange. And, I’ve always had dark eyes, and they were these really light blue contacts. It was really strange. It definitely informs the performance, I’d say.
Capone: The one question I kept returning to as I was watching the movie was, Can even low-level stalking ever be considered romantic outside the movie world?
MC: Outside of the movie world?
PD: I think that’s how I met my first boyfriend. [laughs]
PD: Hey, I’ve had somebody stalked.
MC: Did you?
PD: Yeah, I stalked my first and only former.
MC: I wonder if there’s ever been any romances that started that way. I don’t think so, because right out of the gate, you’re really off to a really unhealthy start. There’s got to be a lot of deception right off the bat.
PD: I think there’s low levels, though. I’m definitely guilty of low levels, like, “So, where’s Matt going tonight?” “This place.” “Oh, really? Oh, me, too,” you know, and meeting people where I think I know they’re going to be. So, I guess that type.
Capone: Ah, kind of head them off at the pass.
PD: Yeah! [laughs]
MC: You know the 400 BLOWS series?
Capone: Yeah, sure.
MC: You know the short [ANTOINE AND COLETTE]?
MC: That’s about him stalking. Right? Like, he’s going to the same concert she’s going to. It’s played so well, like, he’s totally stalking her. He follows her down the street, trying to pick his moment to casually say, Hello.
Capone: Portia, you play this quintessential, almost unobtainable beauty. And, yet, when we see you in the environment of your parents, it really changes the way I think an audience is going to perceive you. I think they’re going to feel a lot more sympathy and, maybe, understand you a little bit better than they do in the beginning of the film. Was that something you really liked about this character?
PD: It’s really easy reading the book, even in certain parts, just to get the impression of her being somewhat mean-ish and manipulative. But, there is that other part that’s serious. She really needs this dream; she really needs to get out of here. And, I think that she just has to play somewhat of a game with everybody that’s in her life, because she has to get out. So, with her parents, they don’t really know her. She’s a different character with her family, or somewhat. I mean, she does rebel and she doesn’t go to church. But, I think she kind of plays a different role with everybody. And, I think that’s why it’s so sweet when she meets this person that she doesn’t really know, and she’s making him go through the test to kind of be with her. But, in one of the reshoots, I think one of the tender moments is when they are looking through the records, because I think that’s the first moment where that initial…when your heart just flutters for a second, and you’re, like, "Omigosh, this guy, who is this guy?" For a second--not that she would show it--but, yeah, there’s a lot of tender moments that kind of allow her to not be so manipulatively horrible as a girl.
Capone: Is someone who is that enigmatic ever finally worth the effort to “de-mystify”?
MC: I think so. I think people who for some reason are putting up a wall normally are pretty interesting. They have a good reason for putting up that wall. People don’t just put up walls for the sake of it.
Capone: Maybe. [laughs] Maybe they just want to seem more interesting than they really are.
MC: Yeah. Or, maybe they’ve got something to hide, but nobody should ever see. [laughs]
PD: I think that’s the fun part, though. I think that is kind of falling, when you fall for someone, it’s just kind of the journey of picking down the superficial nature that, I think, we all can relate to and feel comfortable in. But, I think that’s what makes it so exciting when you really get to know somebody.
Capone: You’re both surrounded in this film by some incredible character actors and supporting players. Any one of them in a film usually makes it worth seeing, and you’ve got five or six--[Steve] Buscemi and [Ray] Liotta and M. Emmet Walsh. Honestly, was there one in particular, like, Wow, I cannot believe that I’m in a scene with Fred Willard, or whoever?
MC: Totally. All of them, really. It was really unbelievable. Every one of those guys, I couldn’t believe. Ray Liotta, getting to do a scene with him, I couldn’t believe.
Capone: And, getting roughed up by Ray Liotta. That’s a badge of honor.
MC: Yeah, I know, I know. And, M. Emmet Walsh, getting to do scenes with him was great. But, Fred Willard was really, really exciting. And, Steve Buscemi was amazing. Steve Buscemi was so exceptionally nice, too, that it wasn’t as terrifying as it should have been. But, Fred Willard was really cool to just be around. And it’s a really sweet role that he’s playing.
PD: My favorite moment…I mean, I loved everybody, but I just died when Fred gets up from the carpet--I think I’ve said this, like, 800 times. When he’s getting up, and he’s, like, "Calm down!" I just loved that, I couldn’t stop laughing. Or just being on the carpet, that killed me.
MC: Yeah, he’s awesome.
Capone: Do you think in a film with a story like this that chemistry is as important as in a more traditional romance or comedy? It seems to work almost a little better that you don’t ever really seem to mesh the way a lot of these romances do.
MC: Yeah, uh-huh. I think that makes sense, yeah. I think because the characters are, putting on such masks around each other at first. But, they definitely see a way out in each other. "We'll just use each other to get away from this craziness that we’re both stuck in. Who cares if it works out in the end. [laughs] Let’s just get out of this. We’ll figure it out later.
PD: Yeah. Let's have some fun.
Capone: Michael, I have to ask this before they shut me down--How excited are you at this point to just have SCOTT PILGRIM just get out there and have everybody see it? Reading what Jason Reitman said about it just made everyone slightly crazy with anticipation. [Reitman's exact quote was: "In London, @edgarwright showed me 30min of SCOTT PILGRIM. While sworn to secrecy (so much, surprised blood wasn't demanded) I will say this: It is a game changer for Edgar and the genre. It moves the speed of light and carries more unadulterated joy than I've seen in recent cinema. I'm in awe of the sheer control in the filmmaking. It feels like a "MATRIX" for love and how willing we are to fight for it. If I had a movie coming out next year, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it. Hats off my friend. Can't get it out of my head."
MC: Jason Reitman, oh yeah, right. I'm really excited He tweeted about it.
Capone: Do you know how much he saw of it or what he saw?
MC: Reitman? No, I don’t know what he saw.
Capone: Have you seen any of it?
MC: Just while we were shooting, yeah. Who came to set? Was it Moriarty?
Capone: I think Drew went as well, but from Ain't It Cool, I believe Quint did, actually.
MC: Quint, yeah. He was around.
Capone: It was in Canada, right?
MC: Yeah, in Toronto.
Capone: Yeah, in Toronto. No, he definitely flew out there.
MC: No, it was July, he was out there. I’m really excited. I’m excited to see it cut. But, I saw stuff being cut while we were shooting; I’m excited to see it.
Capone: Yeah. Drew was there, too, but he doesn’t write for us anymore.
MC: Oh, yeah, that’s right. He was there for a few days.
Capone: So, Portia, where do you go from here? What are you doing after this? Do you know yet?
PD: I really don’t. I kind of wasn’t anticipating anything like this happening.
Capone: This has got to be like one of those great moments in your life, where you’re going to look back X number of years from now and say, That’s when it started.
PD: No! I hate that. I was thinking about that. I just don’t want to look back. I think I just want this to last forever. [laughs]
Capone: You’ve got at least another month, yeah.
PD: I just want this to last. It’s amazing, it’s crazy. It’s hard to answer questions about my excitement, because I can’t really relate it to anything. I don’t even know, it’s just being plucked out of this routine life that I was leading, and then, I’m gonna go do this. So, it’s been pretty intense. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep going down this path as long as I can. But, yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see what happens, I guess.
Capone: Okay. And, Michael, I’ve talked to people over the past year about this ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT movie. Is it any closer to being real than it was a year ago?
MC: I’d say, yeah, probably. But, I think [writer/director] Mitch [Hurwitz] and [writer] Jim Vallely are still coming up with ideas.
MC: Yeah, outlining maybe. But, I think they’re working on something else, too. Hopefully next year, we'll shoot. I’m not sure.
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