Fri 7.12.2013

Three Reasons to Watch Michael Cera Get High

By Pamela Miller / Website & Grants Manager

There are a lot of reasons everyone’s talking about the new Michael Cera film, Crystal Fairy, which screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is being released theatrically today.

First off, there’s the fact that Cera, who’s been dubbed “the cuddly, tortured indie boy king of Juno and Arrested Development” by The New York Times, breaks free from the sensitive hipster mold to play a drug-obsessed, annoying Ugly American a-hole. (His character, Jamie, is a tourist road tripping through Chile on a quest for a special cactus known for its powerful psychedelic powers.)

Secondly, there’s former child star Gaby Hoffmann (Sleepless in Seattle) who’s sure to get attention because, as Movieline puts it, “she steals the show by literally and emotionally stripping herself naked over the course of the film, revealing her character to be much more complex, damaged and vulnerable than those first scenes suggest.“

Finally, young filmmakers are intrigued by the guerilla way the film was made. Chilean Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid) shot Crystal Fairy in twelve days when financing stalled for his other Cera-starring film, Magic Magic. The five-person cast largely improvised the film.

Highlights from the post-screening Q&A at the Los Angeles Film Festival

“It feels like it all flows very naturally,” said LA Film Fest Artistic Director David Ansen, on stage with Cera, Silva and Hoffmann at the Festival screening. “Did you have to do a lot of takes?”

“More than a lot of takes, it was really long takes,” Silva said. “That’s the advice I give people who are shooting digital, when you have no time. Because every time you say, ‘cut,’ everybody is just checking text messages, people are going to the bathroom, they start gossiping about stuff… the makeup girl wants to do a check, everybody just goes crazy… If you just don’t ever turn the camera off,“ he said, “there’s this constant tension and people don’t feel like they can interrupt that. As soon as you say ‘cut,’ you waste a lot of time on set, so it’s better to never cut.”

Watch a trailer for Crystal Fairy