Michael Cera talks going bad for ‘Crystal Fairy’

Michael Cera plays an Ugly American in Chile in "Crystal Fairy." Credit: Getty Images
Michael Cera plays an Ugly American in Chile in “Crystal Fairy.”
Credit: Getty Images

Before discussing his new microbudgeted film, “Crystal Fairy,” Michael Cera gushes about the films of John Cassavetes. He cites “Opening Night,” starring Gena Rowlands as an unhinged stage actress, as his favorite. But he didn’t come around to “Husbands” — the filmmaker/actor’s seething look at three friends’ joint bender — right away. “The first time I watched it I felt like I was watching an acting class — actors flexing their muscles. But now I really love it.”

That said, if Cera, now 25, wants to be taken more seriously as a thespian — or even shed his nice guy George Michael Bluth image — he’s not being open about it. When asked about hunting for edgier fare — like “Crystal Fairy,” in which he’s an Ugly American on a drug trip — his answer is quiet and modest. “I was just trying to find people to collaborate with who had similar sensibilities,” he says. “It’s one of the great things about being involved in this business, that you can meet people who are so talented, whose stuff you admire, who you can potentially work with.”

After seeing “The Maid,” a hilariously neurotic Argentine dramedy about a grumpy housekeeper, he reached out to its director, Sebastian Silva. The two wound up collaborating on two movies. When the first, “Magic Magic,” about a woman’s (Juno Temple) descent into madness, ran into budget problems, they ran off to make the tiny “Crystal Fairy” in twelve days. There wasn’t a script, but there was a treatment. Everything was planned but the dialogue, which Silva would sometimes feed his actors — also including Gaby Hoffmann, as the titular hippie — before takes.

Cera briefly played an abrasive cokehead version of himself in “This is the End,” but “Crystal Fairy” finds Cera as a jerk at feature length. “He’s pretty self-serving,” he explains. “He’s incapable of putting himself in other people’s shoes. He’s so stuck in his head and his own agenda. In terms of playing him, though, it’s so much fun. You’ll pretend to be nice to someone when you’re just manipulating them, or just be outright rude to them.”

That’s a different persona for him, and a different way of working. “We’d just run the camera and film the scene, so you could really immerse yourself in that feeling,” Cera says.

Director Sebastian Silva on Cera:

“I really like the way Michael looks. I’m really into how people look. His is such a versatile face. I feel it could be anything. I don’t think I could ever work with, like, Ryan Gosling. Not that I don’t like his acting, but I’m not intrigued by his looks. In “Harold and Maude,” you’re never going to forget their faces. There’s something about features I think is really important. Gaby has a very specific face. Natalie Portman looks like — what does she look like? Like nothing. I mean, imagine Michael at 45! It’s so amazing. What is he going to look like?”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…