Ah, That Awkward Moment, the movie in which Zac Efron gets naked and planks on a toilet during the trailer. It's pretty memorable to say the least.
While the promos might be heavy on the bro jokes and shirtless shots, the flick actually boasts a fearless female or two. Mackenzie Davis plays Chelsea, a refreshingly sarcastic and witty counterpoint to the starring trio's macho antics. She may play the overconfident gal pal turned girlfriend on screen, but in real life, she's a theater-school graduate who's just on the cusp of making it big. In addition to That Awkward Moment, her résumé also boasts an upcoming movie with Daniel Radcliffe and a drama on AMC.
We talked her into giving us the scoop on working with big-name A-listers and filming nude scenes — yes, we asked about the infamous toilet clip. Read on for some good laughs, because we could all use a little bit of awkward in our lives.
How did you get involved with this movie and what was the audition process like?
"The audition process was pretty straightforward. I think the director was out of town so I made a tape, he saw it, and we had a Skype interview and got along really well and just were laughing a lot. I ended up getting the part really last minute. I flew out that night to New York and then the next day started work."
Had you met any of the guys in the movie before you started?
"I think I was doing a fitting and I saw them doing a scene so I went over and introduced myself. But, that's it; we sort of jumped in."
What has it been like breaking into the business? With last year's Breathe In at Sundance and now your movies coming out this spring, it's happened pretty fast.
"It's been just wonderful. I'm working, which is the best thing in the world. All I wanna do is work so I'm just so happy about that. Nothing's really come out yet so this will be the first movie, and it will be a new chapter in this experience. But, I'm so happy to work and I keep managing to find cool projects that either make me laugh or are really engaging."
Your first big break was very indie and now That Awkward Moment is more of a commercial endeavor — what differences did you notice between them?
"Well, to be honest, this was also pretty indie, but it's just being released in a bigger way. So, it felt the same — sort of intimate. It wasn't an enormous project; it just felt like a bunch of really cool people getting together and laughing a lot at work. It didn't have the pressure of being this crazy multimillion dollar movie — instead it was very pleasant and lovely and funny. It just is a little less stressful than doing a big movie."
There's a lot of back and forth in the storyline of this movie. Who did you find yourself sympathizing with?
"I guess me and Miles [Teller]. I was kind of programmed to sympathize with that storyline since I was invested in it so heavily. I think also because they were starting out as very close friends, and you could just see the history in the way that they talked to each other and the way that they teased each other. I loved the relationship between Danielle and Chelsea; it was just the way you want to be with your boyfriend or girlfriend — very comfortable."
Do you have any of your own dos and don'ts for dating?
"No [laughs]. I don't know. I'm not a sensei in that way. I'm pretty much just fumbling through my life like anyone else."
Was there anything awkward from your own life that helped you relate to your character?
"You know, Chelsea really isn't that awkward. I think I'm much more awkward and uncomfortable in my own life than she is. She can just sort of sit back and comment on everyone around her handling their sh*t a little bit worse than she is. So, I really related to her sense of humor. And, her relationship with the guys is very similar to a lot of relationships I've had in my own life — just very close friendships that feel very platonic."
What was it like for you filming in New York?
"I live there, but it was the first time that I'd shot outside in the actual city before. It was great. I went to theater school in New York and used to watch people shooting on New York streets all the time and feel very jealous and try to sneak my way onto the sets and then get ejected. So, it was really nice to be an actor working in New York, on a New York street. It felt very special."
Since you were working alongside Zac Efron, did you have any paparazzi or crazed fans following you?
"I mean, God, that boy is just hounded by paparazzi — it's insane. They're everywhere. It was weird to have some sort of insight into that world of opening up your trailer and having a swarm of paparazzi outside. Not because they were interested in me at all, but because they wanted anything related to Zac Efron. Anything close to him becomes more interesting; it's crazy."
A lot of wacky stuff goes on in this movie — how did you keep a straight face?
"Luckily, I was allowed to laugh with a lot of the improv. I mean, there were times when we were riffing when it was in the moment of being allowed to be funny. I also think, in the world of the movie, the guys found themselves a lot funnier than anyone else did, so Chelsea's able to kind of step in and say, 'You guys think you're so hilarious and you're just such losers.'"
She kind of puts them in their place.
"Yah, exactly. I was able to have kind of a disdainful point of view for a lot of the movie."
Michael [B. Jordan], Miles, and Zac [Efron] seemed to have formed this crazy bro bond during filming, almost like a Three Musketeers gang. Did it feel like a little boys' club, or did you form your own bonds on set?
"It's lovely seeing that all these guys just love each other so much, and they were lovely to be around. But, I ended up becoming really good friends with Imogen [Poots], who plays Zac's girlfriend. We met at the wrap party; for some reason we were never scheduled to work together during filming, and our scenes never overlapped, but then at the wrap party, we were sitting at dinner together and just got on like a house on fire. So, that was a very nice result to end a movie with a very good friend."
Were you able to witness the filming of the infamous Viagra toilet scene?
"I was not. I saw that in the script and I saw that in the movie but I didn't get to be there on that fateful day. It looks like it turned out pretty well, though."
Did you have any scenes of your own that you felt like were uncomfortable? You had your share of sex scenes.
"That was fine. I don't find sex scenes that awkward. It's usually pretty fun to make out with someone so I don't mind. I think the scene where we're having sex in the shower and then Miles has his bare bum exposed with a towel over his um…his penis…that was a funny scene. Watching him walk over toward Mike, who's sitting on the toilet, and just witnessing him putting his crotch in his face; I loved watching that from behind the scenes."
Next up you have The F Word with Daniel Radcliffe. Is there anything you can divulge?
"It was great — a really smart romantic comedy that's well written. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan play two friends that for circumstantial reasons are constantly in the friend zone. I hate that expression, but that's what it is. They never get their relationship to the next level, and it's all about the tension between them. I play, with Adam Driver, the sort of couple who is just crazy passionate about each other. They meet at the top of the movie and make out and just really accelerate their relationship — basically the exact opposite of how Zoe and Daniel's relationship is. It's a really sweet and funny movie. I think it's coming out in early spring or summer."
You've hit the jackpot so far with getting really awesome yet seemingly down-to-earth costars, yet they just so happen to be huge A-listers. Do you find yourself getting starstruck at all?
"You know, I don't. I got really lucky in that the first movie I did out of theater school was called Breathe In and I was playing Guy Pearce's daughter. As a coping mechanism, I just couldn't pay attention to what an abrupt shift it was from my life of not having a job or prospects. I think from that point on, I just decided that I would not care at all, and I think if I think about it once in awhile I'm like, 'Oh, this is crazy, you're in a movie with this person and this person. Who would have thought that would happen?' If you fixate on it, it's really hard to get work done."
Do you have any goals of where you want your career to go from here?
"I've found that the more I work, the more I get an idea of what I want to be doing. I'm really proud of the show that I'm shooting for AMC right now: Halt & Catch Fire. Just doing roles like that, complicated women with severe emotional problems, is interesting."
You had such awesome comedic chops in That Awkward Moment, but is that something you want to get away from?
"You know, I love comedies. Going to work every day and just laughing is the bomb, but going back and forth between the two is ideal. I think after shooting the show for five months I'll probably be yearning for a break with some comedy. It's very taxing, but for the moment I feel like it's good."