In Youth in Revolt, Brampton, Ontario-born actor Michael Cera plays an anachronistic Frank Sinatra fan who falls for the anachronistic Jean-Paul Belmondo loving girl who lives next door at the trailer park.
When circumstance steps in to keep them apart he — with the help of an imaginary friend named Francois Dillinger — changes his life to be with her.
Cera admits the idea of having one of his favourite books pared down from 500 pages to a 90-minute script made him nervous, but he couldn’t resist the opportunity to sign on to the project.
“I just love the book,” he says. “It’s very cinematic and I thought the humour of the book would work very well on screen. That was the thought behind the movie; to capture the humour on screen.
“You can’t tell the whole story of the book because it is so huge, but the book exists for that reason. The book is its own enjoyment.”
His character, Nick Twisp, appealed to the actor because it had a ring of authenticity often missing from teen comedies.
“I love the voice of the character,” he said, “and it’s nice when you’re reading the book because you’re reading his journal, so you are really tapping right into his mind. It feels like you are feeling the thought process of the author. I connected with that.
“The character was real,” he said. “C.D. Payne wrote it really personally. It felt like he wrote it in his own voice. He wasn’t trying to write like a fourteen year old kid. He didn’t add in any false naiveté or didn’t try and sound less intelligent he was just writing and it was personal. I think that’s why people connect to things; when they feel personal.”
Cera hopes audiences will relate to Youth in Revolt. “I hope maybe people will feel inspired,” he says. “That would be the best case scenario. That’s the best feeling I have walking out of the movies. That’s a hard thing to accomplish but it is special when it happens.”