October 02 – Alligator: Michael Cera and Kat Dennings Q&A
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings keep it cute and awkward as two teens getting to know each other in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” a one-night, feel-good frolic through New York City. In between tickling and throwing things at each other, Cera and Dennings chatted in a national phone conference about their new movie, which opens Friday.
Since this movie is about a crazy night following a band, can you tell me about the craziest night you’ve actually had?
KD: We had some crazy nights filming the movie. We got kicked out of a music store because we were kind of disrupting their sales. We went in and started to play the instruments and have a jolly time, and they were like, “You’re ruining our store.” So we understood and left.
MC: It was understandable.
What instruments do you guys actually play?
KD: I play the cowbell.
MC: Marimba. Calypso.
You guys have a kissing scene in the film. How do you prepare to do a kissing scene with someone you know you’re working around all of the time?
KD: Michael eats sandwiches, and I brush my teeth because I’m from Philadelphia, and that’s what we do.
MC: I eat a toothpaste sandwich.
What is it like working on a movie based on a book compared to comedies that can be improvised and changed like “Charlie Bartlett” or “Superbad”?
MC: No difference to me. Those movies still have scripts and structure, and that dictates what scene you’re going to work on and what’s going to happen and if it’s going to drive the story, but you just have some freedom to say whatever you want. But in terms of scheduling and procedure, it’s the same. It’s just that there is less of a strict dialogue situation. And you know with this movie we could say whatever we wanted because the only real story was us getting to know each other, so it was kind of irrelevant what the conversations were that we were having.
KD: Interestingly enough, “Charlie Bartlett” was pretty script-driven. I don’t recall improvising that much on “Charlie Bartlett” at all. This was filmed during the writers’ strike, but like Mike said, it’s all about us getting to know each other and liking each other, so it kind of didn’t matter what we said, and we improvised a bit, but I think it all flows pretty well if I do say so myself.
You both were child actors. Did you ever have nights like this, or were you kind of sheltered from that?
KD: I avoided nights like this on purpose. I still kind of do. I’m a real homebody, and the prospect of running around, looking for something that I don’t know where to find, that’s a little bit daunting. But when I started to act, it was something I always wanted to do. I never really felt like a “child actor.” I just felt like I was a kid having a good time. My parents supported me, but it was never their idea for me. It’s just my chosen career. I don’t think of it as a genre … for life.
I know Kat has a YouTube channel and Michael did “Drunk History” on YouTube. What attracted you guys to that whole scene of filming?
MC: I just did it because it was with my friends. My friend Derek Waters does this live comedy show in L.A., and he was making it for that, and it was fun.
KD: I had this written blog for like seven years, so when YouTube came around, it’s just another way to blog. It just seemed like a natural thing and a fun thing.
I have to ask. Is there going to be an Arrested Development movie?
MC: I don’t know. People ask me that a lot. You can probably see my various answers to that online. But I really don’t know. People have asked me that since the show’s been canceled.