RT Interview: Kat Dennings on Charlie Bartlett, Nick and Norah and Death
The young actress on teen comedies, superhero movies, and morbidity.
KD: I know, well we have the same agent so I'm going to see if I can bribe him into letting me go... I'm going to wear a custom suit of armour with Robert's face on it or something!
Can you see yourself in a superhero movie?
KD: Oh God, yeah, I'd flip out. There aren't as many girl superheroes, but there are cool ones. Banshee, for instance.
I guess the ultimate is Wonder Woman.
KD: I suppose. I'm a bit short, though. [laughs] Wonder Woman's supposed to kind-of Amazonian and I'm 5'3 and a half...
That's what CGI is for, obviously.
KD: [laughs] Right! Just CG in some more shin. Upward angles and all that!
Have you had much experience working with effects and stunts and stuff?
KD: A tiny bit. It's really fun, and I'm -- OK, this is hilariously embarrassing, but I'm completely near-sighted and I can't see anything. It's really, really bad. So when it comes to working with other actors and they're further away than they usually are I might as well be working with a tennis ball! I can't see anything! I don't think CGI would be a problem for me -- if they were just waving a tennis ball around against a green sheet it'd feel the same!
Aside from superhero movies, is there a genre of movies you really love that you haven't had the opportunity to do so far?
KD: I would love to do a period movie. I've always wanted to wear the corset, you know. It's a girl thing! We'll see...
And I've always wanted to die in a movie. I never have but I've always wanted to.
How would you imagine your death scene? Rain of gunfire or something slow and terminal maybe?
KD: I think something dramatic, you know. Perhaps some slow-mo with some fluttering in the wind... Maybe a slow-mo stab or something like that. Perhaps a single bullet. I don't mind, I just want to die in a movie!
I guess it's probably the ultimate challenge for an actor because that's the only thing you absolutely can't experience.
KD: That's true. I have put my hand through a glass window and thought I was going to die, so I know the feeling -- you can't feel anything because of the shock; your brain just shuts off for a moment and you're just like, "What happened?" You wait to see whether you're going to die. It's pretty cool. I mean, it sucks, but it's pretty cool.
We'll see -- we'll wait until someone kills me in a movie and you can tell me how it is!
Absolutely; Kat, I promise you, I'm hoping and praying that someone kills you in a movie.
KD: [laughs] Thank you so much! We'll see what poor soul I can wrangle into doing that!
I guess that's a bit of a spoiler for the stuff you've already shot then because now I know that your character survives in everything...
KD: [laughs] I don't die in anything! That's true, and you know what, none of the stuff upcoming I'll be dying in either!
So no last minute revision to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist then?
How has it been to work with Michael Cera?
KD: Oh God, he's the cutest thing in the universe. We're about to go do some reshoots and I'm so excited I feel like I'm going to Disneyland. When we shot the film it all takes place at night so it was all night shoots. We'd get up at 3 in the afternoon, go to set and by the time we got out of the make-up trailer it was dusk and we'd work through until the sun started to rise.
It was like the most fun camp ever. You're with your friends and you're having so much fun and you're just roaming New York. It was amazing and I made some really good friends there. Ari Graynor, this girl who plays my best friend Caroline in the movie, has become one of my very best friends in the world so we get to go back and play best friends again except this time we are best friends! It's going to be so much fun, I can't wait.
For those unfamiliar can you tell us what it's all about?
KD: It's based on a book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and it's been embraced by all sorts of people, not just teenagers. It's not overtly teenager-y. Teenagers don't say 'like' a lot -- well, I do, but most don't, and they don't talk in quips and aren't typically dumb. The male author wrote the Nick's chapters and the female author wrote the Norah's chapters.
Every chapter alternates between their points of view and it's their takes on the same scenes. It was really an interesting thing to shoot and I think it really turned out well. I haven't seen the whole thing yet, but bits I have seen have made me want to see it when it's finished!
How does that work in the film, the way it alternates between the two?
KD: We tried it with narration from me and Michael and I don't know whether that'll stay in the final film, but the creators and the authors are very involved in this so it's going to do it justice. They're trying to figure out the best way, in terms of making it comprehensible to the audience; how best to tell this between the two of them. I think it's going to be visual, I don't know if they're going to use the voiceovers, so I think you're going to see the scenes from Norah's point of view and then from Nick's or visa-versa.