October 03 – Badmouth: Interview: Michael Cera and Kat Dennings

The two stars of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist sit at the conference table. Both smile and say hello. They are young, pale and pleasant. A poster of the movie is propped up behind Michael Cera, where he looks much taller and a little sturdier than he does in the movies. Kat Dennings has very little make-up and looks a bit tired.

Q: What draws them (Nick and Norah) to each other? What is their chemistry?
Michael Cera: They don’t necessarily always get along—there’s definitely some tension.
Kat Dennings: Sometimes they hate each other, sometimes they like each other.
Michael Cera: They just click though, you know?
Kat Dennings: The music brings them together, that’s what they both love.

Q: What do you think about the playlist in terms of the music? What comes up?
Kat Dennings: Nick and Norah have exactly the same taste in music. It’s a huge deal to Norah anyway, that she found someone with the same taste as her, and it basically is everything to her. So the playlist in the film was chosen to be her and Nick’s songs together.
Michael Cera: It’s a way for them to connect; it doesn’t really matter what the songs are.

Q: You two have a very natural back and forth. Were you guys improvising at all? Were you given a bit of freedom to do that?
Kat Dennings: There is a freedom”¦
Michael Cera: It’s all scripted, though we weren’t bound by the script in any way.
Kat Dennings: It was filmed during the writers’ strike, so there couldn’t be any rewrites done to the script. When we needed alternate lines, Pete just told us to make stuff up basically. It was fun.
Michael Cera: It keeps it fresh.

Q: Who is your character, and why do you think he wound up in that band?
Michael Cera: It’s not really established how the band came together. I just feel like they’re childhood friends. They have a real familiarity, shorthand with each other. They’re old friends that started a band.

Q: Were there any challenges of filming in New York, mostly at night?
Kat Dennings: Just the cold.
Michael Cera: The cold was challenging, tired you know. Your body would ache with cold and fatigue.

Q: How late into the night were you filming?
Kat Dennings: “˜Til morning.
Michael Cera: Whenever the sun came up. “˜Til dawn, essentially. You know, you get on that schedule and your body gets used to it eventually.

Q: How bout the Yugo, did it actually run?
Michael Cera: There was one that ran and two for the interiors.

Q: What was it like working with all the various celebrities that showed up to do cameos?
Michael Cera: They were all great. They all brought their own things to the table. It was cool.

Q: Your characters were the most sensible and down-to-earth in the movie, despite the barhopping and all-night drinking. Do you choose roles that will make a positive impact?
Michael Cera: Not strictly.
Kat Dennings: Nick and Norah don’t drink, as a rule. Um, I think every story for the most part needs someone for the audience to follow.
Michael Cera: I chose this role because I like Pete (Sollett) as a director; I like his work. I didn’t even consider whether it was a positive influence or not. I think it is, but that’s definitely not what dictated my wanting to do the movie.

Q: It was pretty sophisticated for a movie that was supposed to be centered around high-schoolers. I know that my parents never let me stay out all night.
Kat Dennings: They are sophisticated but I also think they’re just well-read. They’re a lot like people I know.

Q: You both have such a comedic background: what direction do you see your careers headed in the future? Will you be taking on some serious roles?
Kat Dennings: I just want to do anything good, whether it’s funny or not.
Michael Cera: I don’t know, I don’t have any plans.

Q: Do you see a part two coming out? A Nick & Norah sequel?
Kat Dennings: I don’t know, I think that’s up to the authors of the book. There’s no second book so far, so”¦

Q. (to Michael Cera): You’re working on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Michael Cera: I’m going to be, yeah. I like Edgar (Wright, the director) and I like the graphic novel.

Q: And Kat, you’ve got some interesting projects coming up as well.
Kat Dennings: Yeah, um, Shorts, which is a film by Robert Rodriguez, who is someone I always wanted to work with. It’s a kids’ film technically, but with him, nothing’s ever one thing. Its always going to be crazy and unique, So keep an eye out. And then this thing called Dream of the Romans with Jeff Daniels. It’s such a great script, I just wanted to be in it. The role the directors gave me was written for a 50-year-old woman.

Q: You two are both pretty web-savvy, I know Kat video blogs, and Michael has the Web series Clark and Michael; do you have any other Web projects coming up?
Michael Cera: Not me, no.
Kat Dennings: Not specifically. I’m always intending to make more video blogs, it’s just something I like to do. I made one for the Nick & Norah DVD.

Q: I know you’ve been posting YouTube videos and blogging for a while; is that going to change now that you’re starting to get more well-known and recognized?
Kat Dennings: No. No one really knows who I am. But now that I’m working more, I don’t have as much time to write as I used to. Maybe now it’s every three weeks instead of every week. I’ve had this blog for 7 years, and I don’t have the intention of ever stopping. It’s just something I enjoy; it’s an outlet.

Q: Isn’t that an advantage that no one knows who you are, in some respects?
Kat Dennings: I can’t imagine wanting to be famous just for the sake of being famous. I think fame should come along with success, talent.

Q: How do you two characterize Nick & Norah as a teen movie? It’s a bit more mature than most.
Kat Dennings: It’s about young people, but I don’t think it’s really a teen movie. Michael likes to say, which is true, that it doesn’t really matter what their ages are.
Michael Cera: Yeah, it doesn’t really play into the plot at all. I think they could have been any age and been in this situation.
Kat Dennings: At the Toronto premier, the audience was filled with all kinds of people, all ages, and we got a standing ovation. People really loved it. It means different things to different people, but I think everyone will love it. Like all good movies, classics.

Q: I wanted to also ask you Kat, have you met anyone that’s “underwire worthy”?
Michael Cera: What?
Kat Dennings: (laughs) It’s in the film. Dev says you’re worth the underwire, because Norah’s wearing a sports bra. (thinks) Um, sure. Although a good one won’t care.

Q: Is there anything really memorable that you two can point to from the overall filming experience?
Michael Cera: The whole time kind of blends together for me. I had a great time the whole time. I don’t remember having a bad day. It was great hanging out with everyone between scenes.
Kat Dennings: Yeah, everyone would hang out in Michael’s trailer. The boys would play video games and the girls would watch the boys play video games and eat candy and talk. You know, stay up all night together. Just like a fun, really great bonding time.

Michael Cera: It was like camp.