How does this role fit into your career?
I think its karma for the "Can't Hardly Wait" role. I played the big, bad jock role and now I get to be the other guy. I had a lot of fun with this role. I originally auditioned for Steve Zahn's role, and they wanted to go a different way. Penny asked me if I would do this, and you don't say no to Penny Marshall. I thought this was a fantastic little arc to go from this one kid, to this other. I had so much fun playing that part of me - tapping into that part of me.
What kind of energy does Drew bring to the set?
She's just really sweet - she has an openness. She makes everybody feel like they are the star when you're working with her.
Did you freak out when you came out of make-up with all the pimples?
No, I was loving every minute of that stuff. It was a little weird sitting in the make-up trailer with the rollers in and having everybody come in, having to go to rehearsal with a hairnet. It was weird, but it was fun.
Did you relate to that "geeky" stuff?
I'm the biggest geek in the world, I think, so yes. Everybody can relate to wanting to have a relationship with another person who just doesn't see you in that light, and you long to be with that person. Thank God I'm married now so I don't have to go through that, but I've had that.
What was it like to work with Penny Marshall, and did you learn anything from her?
I have to think about that. It's hard because when you work with people, you don't go home and think about what you learned that day. People and things just rub off on you and you just take that to your next job. I remember working with Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito and people asked what I learned. It's such a great experience to work with people of that level, like Penny Marshall. But you don't go home and say, "Kevin did this great move today" or "Penny directed me really well." It's weird, you just kind of pick up these things. As intense as it is, it's fun. It's a fun atmosphere to be in. I remember doing my scene and we were watching the Yankee game before they would yell "roll." And she was kind of pissed she couldn't go to the Yankee game so she was like, "This better be a good scene because I'm missing the Yankee game."
Is a Penny Marshall set a relaxed set or can it get tense?
It can get a little tense sometimes. There's a lot going on. She likes it that way.
What question would you like to ask Penny Marshall?
I wanted to ask her this this morning. Would you do a film that you directed and also acted in?
Did you have any scenes that were cut that will probably make it on to the DVD?
Not that will make it on to the DVD, probably. But I think everybody had scenes cut.
Did you get to improv much in this film?
There's so much that she comes up with that wasn't on the page, that when you read the script, you feel it's a really heartfelt movie, and then when you watch it you find yourself laughing so much at stuff that wasn't on the page. Little stuff that Penny would come up with and add in there. As far as improv, no, not so much. In rehearsals maybe, if you wanted to try something, but not so much during the takes. She liked to know what you were doing. She doesn't like to waste time and she doesn't know angles. So she wants to make sure that what you're doing, she's happy with.
How does Hollywood move forward from the current events?
Doing the press interviews, we are all standing up there wondering how do you go and talk about a movie after what just happened. But I think that's part of our jobs, to help people escape for a little time. To have an escape from what's going on outside of that theatre.
More Interviews with the Cast of "Riding in Cars with Boys" - > Page 7