The last of my interviews for this week's release THAT AWKWARD MOMENT, I almost decided not to run for a couple of reason, neither of which is that the subjects aren't guys I wouldn't love to talk to at length at some point down the line (I actually did interview Michael B. Jordan for FRUITVALE STATION last year). No, the reason I might have held it had more to do with the ridiculously short time I got to chat with them, and the fact that these guys have gotten so comfortable around each other that crosstalk over a phone line means a rough transcription for somebody.
Still, here it is in all it's abbreviated glory, me chatting with Jordan, THE SPECTACULAR NOW's Miles Teller, and the elder statesman of the group Zac Efron, all of whom play best buddies in the film, engaging a game of dating chicken, trying to all stay out of relationships for the sake of their romantically depressed buddy (Jordan). Of course, almost instantly, they all start dating these incredible women and must keep it secret from the world. The three men do a convincing job playing friends, and while the humor is kept pretty broad, it's fascinating to watch their three distinct acting styles dance and weave around and through each other.
I'll get them with more time the next go-round. But for now, please enjoy my brief talk with Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan…
Capone: Hi guys, how are you?
All: We’re good.
Capone: Good. For the sake of my poor transcriber, can you each just say your name so that she knows which voice goes with which person?
[They immediately start doing impersonations of each other.]
Capone: Maybe just once for real, gents.
Miles Teller: [laughs] Absolutely.
Michael B. Jordan: Right now or before we start talking?
Capone: Right now is good, so she can distinguish the voices as she’s going.
MJ: Obviously, the sexiest voice on the phone is going to be me, Michael B. That’s how it is. You got to pick up on that.
MT: I don't think you can hear him lick his lips every fourth word.
Zac Efron: And this is Zac Efron.
Capone: That’s a huge help.
ZE: Yeah, we’ll try to be distinct.
Capone: Well, the first thing I want to say is to Miles is congratulations on WHIPLASH getting picked up by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance.
MT: Yeah, thank you so much. Sony Pictures Classics is really going to do wonderful things with it. I think they’re really passionate about the project.
Capone: I've heard nothing but great things from people that saw it. It was the opening day film, right?
MT: Yeah, it was the opening night film. Robert Redford introduced it. I got to talk to Robert Redford for like 10 minutes before that. It all happened, man. It exceeded expectations.
Capone: I can’t wait to see it. I have ask you this: Is this stuff that we’re hearing about you playing Dan Aykroyd true?
MT: So, I’ve met with the director who’s also the writer, and it’s something that, yeah, there’s a lot of interest on both sides. Nothing has been signed, so when Emile [Hirsch] said that shit at the Creative Coalition dinner, I looked at him. Because we’ve been talking about it, but at the same time nothing’s been signed. Like he told me, he said if he had known there was a mole in that place, he wouldn’t have said anything. I would be honored to play it, but there’s no start date.
Capone: The first question about this movie is I gotta ask about the outtakes at the end, and usually when a comedy runs a few outtakes at the end, it’s an act of desperation because they’re not sure that the movie’s funny enough. But, this movie has got this one outtake at the end…
MJ: We haven’t seen any of the outtakes.
ZE: Yeah, we haven’t seen them.
Capone: I don't wanna ruin it…
MJ: You can’t ruin it because we shot it, so it’s alright.
Capone: No, I don’t wanna ruin it for the people who are reading; I want it to be a surprise. But, the last outtake, there’s a surprise guest that shows up on the couch. Do you know the one I’m talking about?
MJ: Oh, yeah! Do you want me to drop the name, or no?
Capone: Go ahead and drop it. Yeah, I’ll redact it.
MJ: Well, anyway, he's is a really good buddy of mine, we were shooting in Brooklyn, and he lives not that far, and I was like, “Hey man, come by real quick.” That’s just how it is, you know what I’m saying? You build a relationship with people, and we’re friends, so I told him to stop by real quick. So, he stopped by, and it was like, “Oh, shit.” Everybody was really big fans of the show and really big fans of his. Our writer-director Tom Gormican was like, “Would he mind like just popping in real quick?” And I was like, “No, let’s do it.” It was done on the fly, so we were just happy it worked out like that.
Capone: I think the only thing that could have made it funnier was if it was actually in the movie for no reason whatsoever.
MJ: [laughs] For no reason. Yeah, that would have been too crazy. That would have thrown everything off a little.
Capone: I think the big reveal here in this movie is that men are just as susceptible to emotional attachment as women, whether they admit it or not. That’s something of a revelation in the movie world. Was that one of the things you dug about the film was that it revealed that horribly kept secret?
MJ: Yeah, you’re used to seeing romantic comedies from a girl's prospective. The process, the turmoil that she goes though in her head with her best friends, like "Sex in the City" or "Girls," all these different forms of a woman going though relationship issues. You don’t really see men go though that thought process--that locker room talk, what we actually go though between guys. I think it’s cool to shine some light on that, and maybe girls can give us a little bit more of a break. “Why isn’t he opening up to me? Why isn’t he talking to me about his feelings?” You know what? We’re just not built like that. We’re built differently. We sit around, play video games, drink beer. Our emotional process is different, so it’s cool to be gritty and raw and show everybody I guess like our process.
MT: I think that guys will appreciate it, and I think the few women that have interviewed us today to start thing off have said that they love Mike’s character and how honest and heartfelt he was, but they wanted to slap me and Zac around a little bit. In your 20s, really this movie is a heightened focus on the moment that’s between college and when you get married, and it’s that time is one of self discovery, and you have to be selfish.
If you don’t have kids and you don’t have a wife, these are really times when you can put yourself first. And you do see these guys struggling with that, with wanting to stay single and not wanting to necessarily be occupied with a relationship. But when your heart is leading you in a certain way, you can't fight it. I know I’ve had experiences where I was fighting it because I knew the girl was really right for me. I knew she might be the one that I really end up with, and that’s giving away a lot of your own personal freedom. So, I think you see three guys grappling with that.
Capone: The friendship among you three has to be convincing, or we’re just not going to buy into when there are riffs in the group. Was there a time that you guys had to hang out before shooting that made that a little bit more authentic?
ZE: Yeah. I really wanted to get the chance to know these guys. Tom the director and I, we wanted the chance to bond with each other before we all went out there, so we were able to take a trip to the Adirondacks [in upstate New York], and just hang out and vibe out. Unfortunately, Miles couldn’t make it, but Mike and I and Imogen [Poots] and Tom all bonded and chilled for four days; we hiked thought the snow and talked about our feelings and thoughts of what we wanted to make with this movie. I'd never really been a part of that process before, so that was something I was able to do as a producer. I actually felt like I contributed in that way, so that was really cool. It’s a great movie, and check it out.
Capone: Sounds like we're being cut off. Take care guys.