SXSW: Newcomer John Karna bares all in ‘Premature’

Metro goes to SXSW 2014

John Karna may be new to this whole starring in a movie thing, but he’s not letting it show. “This is my first paid movie gig, which is pretty awesome. I learned a crazy amount while on set,” he says of “Premature,” about a teenager (played by Karna) stuck reliving the same terrible day, waking up back in his bed that morning every time he masturbates. The role proved to have some interesting challenges, as it turns out.

How prepared were you for the level of exposure involved with this role?
I will say, it was something that I thought at first, “I don’t know, I’ve never done this before.” And then the minute you’re walking around in your underwear, it’s very freeing. You connect to the crew in a way that you could never connect while fully clothed, I think. We were all cool with each other. By the end of it we were all just in our underwear shooting a movie, which was great.

That doesn’t sound very safe.
No, the health code guy was taking a nap, I don’t know what happened. (laughs) No, but it was actually really cool. I kept hearing from everyone, “You’re never going to get a crew that’s as nice as this.” They sat me down like, “Listen, kid … .” I mean, everyone was just unbelievably cool.

So are you worried now about working with other crews?
Oh, terrified. Just absolutely terrified.

John Karna in "Premature." Photo courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment.
John Karna in “Premature.” Photo courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment.

The tone of this movie is quite well done, balancing the raunch with some sweetness.
It read like a John Hughes movie. [The director] wanted it to have the same heart of a John Hughes movie, but with the sensibilities of the teenagers of our day. A lot more masturbation, for example. It’s impressive. I will say, I saw the movie the other day, and making the movie I was like, “I masturbated every once in a while.” I am shocked by how much my character masturbates in the movie. And I think it’s great. My parents are going to be really excited to watch that tonight. I’ve kind of been underplaying it for them, too. But oh my God, it’s just buckets of the stuff.

Even we can get a bit technical, what was the mixture used to create that?
They had to have kind of like crusty … I’m sorry, that’s the worst word. Even in print, it’s disgusting. No, crusty underpants. (laughs) And I think to do that they had milk, I think they had a little bit of sour-y milk, it even smelled a little weird. It was great, getting you into character that extra bit. And that day that we shot all the scenes when I’m in my underwear in the bed, we shot it just continually for location’s sake. I think it was about 105 degrees that day, and there was no air conditioning with the camera equipment. Me and the crew, we started connecting through our smells. It was really beautiful stuff. Real filmmaking.


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