*Some of the funniest lines in “That Awkward Moment” with Michael B. Jordan, Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Imogen Poots are the ones about Morris Chestnut, thanks to Jordan.
Efron, good friend of Jordan, is a producer and had no problem convincing his pal to jump onboard. After his immersing performance in “Fruitvale Station,” Jordan was more than happy to take on a light comedy.
Writer/director Tom Gormican wanted a modern day love story without vampires or werewolves.
“I wanted to see if I could see a revitalization of the romantic comedy genre,” Gormican says. “It’s one of my favorites and I wanted to put a different spin on it and have the movie take place from a guy’s perspective because I felt like that’s something we haven’t seen before.”
Recently the cast and Gormican were eager to talk about their awkward moments at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Navigating love and relationships is all about avoiding minefields; So The Film Strip began the line of questioning by asking them about strategy.
Are there any rules, guidelines or a blueprint to avoid blowups?
MICHAEL B. JORDAN: It’s easier said than done. Sometimes with matters of the heart when your emotions get involved it’s not that clear-cut. My character in the film is the guy that really wants to make a relationship work even though they’re not in love anymore. Sometimes you grow out of love. People grow apart and that was kind of what Mikey, my character represented. In this instance you have to just keep telling yourself, ‘listen you’ll be fine, just get back in the game, be around your friends.’
ZAC EFRON: I don’t think there are any rules in real face to face relationships. I think authenticity and being yourself is always without a doubt the best plan of action. Things happen differently when you’re actually there, so you can’t put out a general guideline that’s going to show up in text. There are no rules. Be yourself, break all the rules.
MJ: I don’t trust a girl that doesn’t eat. [Laughs]
MILES TELLER: For me, once I spend enough time with someone to know we’re not compatible, I’m very good at cutting it off. I truly think life’s too short to spend it on bad relationships, and that includes friendships. If you’re really not getting anything out of it and it’s one sided, who cares? At the end of the day it’s hard to keep relationships with people.
ZE: It’s tough to do what we do, as actors because we’re constantly on the move and there are a lot of different twists and turns that we don’t expect. I don’t want to commit to being in a relationship that I can’t be 100% there for that person all the time, and you know, it’s difficult. It’s difficult.
IMOGEN POOTS: I think what the movie kind of shows you is that your friends don’t necessarily dictate the sort of person you fall for. Jason (Zac) falls for the same kind of girl all the time and I think that’s true whatever gender you are. You really can’t choose who you fall for and it reaches a point where your friends can’t combat that.
MT: Michael is the most unlike his character and I can tell you that ‘cause I’m so used to seeing him just like 100% in control of his feelings and the girls are always ‘where we’re going, mike, what’s next, Mike. So to see him really kind scared with his feelings, really in the palm of her hands and gets hurt in this film was fun for me to watch.
Zac, you went through some tough times last year. How did that impact on your life?
ZE: I’m so happy. I feel like I’m in a great place and I’m glad that I’m here to share this moment with everybody and be present for all of it because it was an interesting year. I learned so many things, so much, but the best part of it was being able to reflect upon this experience and realize how much I had learned about myself and the kind of man I want to be and this movie, these guys, coming back to it, coming to New York and just being here in this moment exemplifies what it’s all about. I’m in a great place.
Apparently, Morris Chestnut has a role in the movie and he didn’t even have to appear?
ZE: We wanted somebody who Michael B. Jordan’s wife would probably leave him for and Morris Chestnut is very cool. So we put him in that. Originally the guy in the script was Art Garfunkel.
MJ. That had to go!
ZE: Michael was adamant about that, so we chose Morris. We got tremendous heat at well.
MJ: I think Tom wanted to me to get into it with Morris Chestnut.
ZE: I remember asking him who would win in a fight between you and Morris Chestnut and I’m not going to tell you what he said but it was great.
The four of you obviously worked well together. Anything in particular contributed to this chemistry?
MJ: Chemistry. We took a trip up to the Adirondacks mountains upstate New York and we had a good time. We went on nature walks and did the whole bonding experience that really paid dividends to the project. It really came through during the filming and afterwards. We went to games, played games and developed real friendships.
Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]