Since the cult TV series 'Arrested Development,' Cera's pale, frail, and lovably droll anti-hero status has remained pretty consistent. How different, really, was his Evan in 'Superbad' than his George-Michael in 'Development?' Compared to Johah Hill's Seth and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's McLovin', not to mention the cops played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, Evan was really the only mature one around. Michael Cera may not be the sweet young man you think he is.
Since the cult TV series 'Arrested Development,' Cera's pale, frail, and lovably droll anti-hero status has remained pretty consistent. How different, really, was his Evan in 'Superbad' than his George-Michael in 'Development?' Compared to Johah Hill's Seth and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's McLovin', not to mention the cops played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, Evan was really the only mature one around.
And how different was his Paulie Bleeker in 'Juno'? Sure, Paulie knocked up Ellen Page's Juno, but Bleeker was no deadbeat dad. Had Juno chosen to keep her baby, you get the feeling that, with Paulie at her side, they would have made a pretty good family.
That word, good, is the one that dogs Michael Cera the most. And neither the night he spent with the luminous Kat Dennings in 'Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist,' nor the pseudo-soul-bearing in the scripted documentary 'Paper Heart' did anything to change the fact that people think that Michael Cera is, above all else, a really nice guy. But his next couple roles might.
In the upcoming 'Youth in Revolt' (Jan. 8), Cera plays two young men: nice guy Nick Twisp, and the irresponsible Francoise, an alter-ego Twisp creates to do his dirty work. Such a schism is the perfect device to help ease Cera into camp badass; it allows the actor to have his cake and eat it too, so to speak. As Francois, Cera gets to say uncharacteristic lines like, "I'm gonna wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown that you are," and 'I'm not going anywhere until you sink your filthy d**k into this tomato."
"It was a fun line to say," Cera told us in a recent interview. 'If I could have seen into the future when I was 15 and [saw myself] being able to say that line on screen, I'd have been really excited."
Just one of the benefits of creating an alter ego for the sole purpose of being bad? "It was a line that [director] Miguel [Arteta] came up with," Cera explained. "It was really late and we were dead tired. We were hanging out in my hotel room. It was just something he said in a really tired daze. We laughed about it for five minutes. I never thought it would be in the movie."
After 'Youth in Revolt,' Cera will be seen alongside 'Twilight's' Anna Kendrick in Edgar Wright's ('Shaun of the Dead') comedy 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.' Though Kendrick calls Cera an "amazing guy, the sweetest, sweetest kid ever," she goes on to say -- or almost warn -- "But I'll tell you something, he is such a little badass in 'Scott Pilgrim.' People are not gonna believe their eyes. He looks like an action star!"
So do these roles mark a shift in Cera's career arch? Are we going to see him doing his own action stunts soon?
"I don't have any plans for that," Cera said, "but I did have fight sequences in 'Scott Pilgrim.' Edgar was really true to the graphic novels, but he got his voice in there too. He did an amazing job. It's gonna be great."
So which is it? Nice guy or badass? It's probably a bit of both. Playing off 'Youth's' split personalities, we asked Cera a couple of mutilple choice questions for more insight into the good guy-gone-bad.
Coffee or tea?
Black or with milk and sugar?
Milk and sugar. Though I wish I'd said black. Black would sound cool.
Whiskey or wine?
Wine. Though I wish I'd said whiskey.
Punch to the face, or knee to the groin?
Oh, punch to the face. Definitely.