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Quick Notes On The TimesTalk with Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson & Kieran Culkin

"This Is Our Youth" Cast Photo Call

I went to a TimesTalk last night with the stars of Broadway’s This Is Our Youth— Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson & Kieran Culkin–and moderated by NY Times writer Dave Itzkoff. Here are my very random thoughts from the evening:

  1. Actors really hate watching clips of themselves act. So much so that they might curl up in their chairs while making vomitous [new word] facial expressions. “That was like watching The Big Bang Theory,” Tavi says when a clip of their play is shown, insinuating that a play does not translate well to shitty film [I don’t disagree].
  2. Tavi’s teen girl following must get really old sometimes. Most of the people who asked questions at the end were said-teen girls and, call me an asshole, but most of them were incredibly annoying. It was blatantly a talk with three people, and yet they just focused on Tavi/Rookie-centric questions. They were all also uncomfortably nervous and it was a little painful to be present for it. Highlights include: “How do you deal with meeting your idols? Like right now I am FREAKING out.” Hashtag oh boy. Hashtag yes I’m a bitter old person.
  3. Tavi owned the conversation, in a non-irritating way. The two men offered very little of substance, though Cera is definitely funny and charming. Tavi, however, was super insightful, spoke slowly and clearly and seemed to really be thinking about her answers. It was a beautiful sight to see—a young girl dominating a stage amidst two older white men who many would consider the “authorities” on acting and general existing. I felt the worst for Kieran Culkin because he was the least blessed with an obsessive following, despite the fact that he could be considered a “more serious” actor than the other two.
  4. Michael Cera commented that, after their show ran for two weeks in Australia, he found Australians to be incredibly racist. You could then see him backtracking because he’s smart enough to know that in our Internet age that could be blown out of proportion into some absurd PR mess. It was pretty funny from an audience member’s perspective.
  5. Writers are generally really awkward speakers. Dave Itzkoff reminded me of this. Though his questions were good and he’s obviously a smart dude…I’m not sure he should do a lot of these moderating gigs. Nor should whichever NY Times executive opened up the talk with a painfully slow and palpably nervous intro in which she didn’t seem to know much at all about the people coming out on stage.
  6. Michael Cera’s attractiveness continues to baffle me, despite being totally overwhelmed by the need to kiss his face. He looks like a weasel, dresses very awkwardly and is super short. Proof that looks are not everything, kids! Also Tavi is quite beautiful and was dressed very simply, in all black/navy. I cannot believe she is 18. Kieran’s AIGHT, as the kids would say, but a little creepy looking. Maybe you’re into that.
  7. They left an hour before their show was going on for the night—I was anxious for them! Also the biggest deduction from the talk was that I really, really need to see the play. They all spoke effusively about their directors and how helpful they were in bringing their characters to life, and the camaraderie between them all seemed genuine.
  8. One thing I found a little strange was that Tavi seemed very resistant to ever admitting she was nervous about anything—like starting the show, for instance, as an inexperienced actress. She kept saying that she knew it wouldn’t serve her to think about her inexperience or to be like “wow I’m on fucking Broadway and all these people are staring at me and what am I doing here.” Maybe she’s just really great at ignoring insecurity. I should probably take notes.
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