The Time We (Kinda) Did Peyote With Michael Cera

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Dear Readers, we've got a spot to blow up: Michael Cera is not awkward. He isn't mumblecore, a manic pixie dream boy, or whimsical. Sure, he plays those characters and morphs into being a shoe-gazing dreamer, but he actually isn't awkward at all. In fact, he's quite charming, and when he speaks to you, he holds your gaze. He doesn't slouch, which is commendable because he is actually quite tall.

Despite his recent efforts to convince you that he's a party boy off-screen, he's almost off-puttingly polite. When he stays in Brooklyn, he tells us that he rents using Airbnb. Last time we spoke with him, he recommended a book by Charles Portis, taking our iPhone and typing in the name so we remembered. (We read it. It was a great book.)

So for his newest movie, Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus, which is about a road trip and the "magical cactus" in question happens to be mescaline, so we felt comfortable asking Cera straight up: Did he do the drug? He did, but it didn't work very well. "Maybe it was just a body high," he confesses. The drug usage in this movie may, in theory, parallel the self-parody Cera played in This Is The End (both films depict Cera as a coke-loving partier with a lack for decorum), but the meaning behind the narcotics is vastly different. In This Is The End, Cera snorts for laughs, while in Crystal Fairy, his pursuit of drugs becomes an escapist obsession. Cera plays a character we've seen before, but one with a sense of maturity that suggests his "awkward" days are long gone.

Can you recommend any more books by Charles Portis?
“I’ve read True Grit — it’s really fun, and really fast, but I think Masters of Atlantis is better. You should read anything and everything by John Fante, he’s my favorite, he’s my guy.”

Michael, after seeing This Is The End, we're wondering if drugs in movies are your thing now?
“No!”

It’s funny that both of these films are coming out around the same time.
“It’s strange, yeah. We shot this is 2011, so it’s a strange coincidence that it’s coming out at the same time as another thing I’ve made.”

Well, now you’ve got a reputation as being a crazy drug fiend. We loved your appearance on Letterman. What kind of affection did he have for you?
“Avuncular. Yeah, those things are always nerve-racking. But, I'm glad you liked it. It was a lot of fun for me actually.”

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films