October 01 – Student Life: An interview with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings

On the home stretch for their press promotion of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” Michael Cera and Kat Dennings take some time to speak to us about their roles and experiences making the film. Clearly drained from answering presumably the same questions over and over again, they reply succinctly, yet maintain humor and spontaneity by feeding off each other’s wit. Kat laughs frequently and infectiously, somewhere between a wild cackle and a giggle.

Despite their self-proclaimed exhaustion, the pair shows great pride in their recent release, which takes their characters on a nocturnal romp through New York City. “Anyone who has had a night like this or…made a friendship over a condensed period of time can relate or at least fantasize about it,” Cera said. “It feels when you watch it, like it felt making it,” Dennings added. “It just feels really joyful and fun and adventurous when you watch it.”

No doubt, shooting straight night scenes in the city was a unique experience in itself. “Drunk people [were] throwing things, yelling at us, wanting us out of their places where they like to be…We got kicked out of a music store. We started to play the instruments and kind of have a jolly time, and they were like, ‘You’re ruining our store.’” Still, night shots were no challenge for the duo. “I prefer night shots, almost. I don’t like sunshine,” Dennings said.

Although the charismatically-awkward Nick seems like a rough derivation of Cera himself, Cera claimed that he sees little in common with his character. Ironically, the bubbly Dennings, who seems to outshine her shyer, more cautious counterpart, admitted, “I avoided nights like this on purpose. I still kind of do. I’m a real homebody.” So what do they think makes these characters different from their past characters? Cera: “They are different people, different…” Dennings: “Circumstances.” Cera: “Yes, different kinds of muscle problems.” Dennings: “Different stages of dandruff.” Clearly, these versatile actors look for some tremendous variety when choosing their roles.

Both share similar music tastes, although Dennings explains, “we both listen to everything.” Favorite artists featured in the movie include Bishop Allen and Vampire Weekend for Cera and Devendra Banhart as well as Vampire Weekend for Dennings. Were they to make playlists for each other, Cera’s would contain “You Don’t See Me, You Won’t See Me” by the Beatles (eliciting chuckles from Dennings), and Dennings’s would feature “My Life” by The Game. In fact, she seems to have a certain fixture on the rapper.

Expect no comedy power duo from Cera and Dennings, but rather two relaxed kids with a sense of humor and good chemistry together. How did they prepare for the makeout scene? According to Dennings, “Cera eats sandwiches and I brush my teeth.” “I eat a toothpaste sandwich,” added Cera.