‘That Awkward Moment,’ When We Interviewed Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, and Zac Efron
Image by Karen Roe
Nicole Rivelli / FilmDistrict
To a large majority of the female population, a couple of weeks ago I lived the ultimate dream: I was in a deluxe hotel room in Manhattan with Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller, to talk about their new romantic comedy “That Awkward Moment.”
These are about the hottest young guys in the world right now, and I’m not just referring to the insane amount of attractiveness floating around that room, with each one of them about to embark in some really crazy, potentially world conquering projects — Jordan is set to star in the “Rocky” spin-off “Creed,” where he’ll play Apollo Creed’s son who gets trained by Rocky Balboa; Teller is set to appear in “Divergent,” based on the best-selling young adult series; and Efron will co-star with Seth Rogen in “Neighbors,” a movie whose trailer seemed to single-handedly break the Internet.
Not that being in a room with these guys, who in “That Awkward Moment” play three best friends who vow to stay single until the formerly married member of the group (Jordan) has time to heal from his divorce, wasn’t a little intimidating. But once Teller asked if I wanted coffee or eggs or anything and then began yelling to the small room adjacent to where we were chatting (where all the publicists, handlers, and posse were crammed) “Ethel!?!? Ethel!?!?! Can we get some eggs in here?” my worried soul was set at ease.
There’s this great sense of friendship that you can really feel in the movie but I’m assuming you guys didn’t know each other that well. How did you establish that?
Miles Teller: They went on a trip…
Zac Efron: Well, we had met a few times.
Michael B. Jordan: Yeah, we have some mutual friends back in LA but we had never hung out or had any bonding moments.
Efron: There’s that thing that you get when you know somebody and instantly connect. We got along from the day we met. The wildcard was Miles…
Teller: That’s actually my nickname.
Efron: …We were so nervous to meet him. Remember we went to drink a bunch of tequila?
Jordan: Yeah, we went to this Mexican place. And we had never met him.
Efron: And it was the day before filming! And instantly, instantly, we became best friends.
Jordan: Well, actually we started to talk sh*t. Because it was one of those things where you hear so many good things about somebody. Like, when somebody tells you, “Ah, it’s the best movie ever!”
And you say, “That movie’s not that good.” Everyone was telling me such great things about this guy that when I met him, I just said, “I don’t like you… But I do now.” But it was perfect.
Efron: And we had a couple of good nights out.
Jordan: Yeah, sometimes it just takes a really good night.
Teller: It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had filming a movie.
Did any of your own personal romantic philosophies made it into the movie, and just how alike are you to your characters?
Jordan: I try to make things work. I am a good guy. I don’t like to entertain too many women at one time. So… I leave that to… [starts laughing]
Efron: Let me just get this out of the way because I’ve finally figured out how to answer it. Jason is a bit more of a player than I am. I am not as cavalier or as suave. I am not so much of a smooth player. But I know that guy. I know that guy really well. And I have had moments where I have dipped into him in real life and wake up from that and say, “Wow, that was a different guy.” I’ve had moments like Jason, and kind of made that character out of those experiences and people I knew and made him. I think the most similar thing about us is what happens at the end — that he learns that being there for your friends when it’s most important is what makes a friend.
Teller: I’ll just say that the preproduction for this movie was just me going out and having a good time. It fit this role.
Did you guys hang out a lot during shooting, or did you part ways when filming was done?
Teller: Yeah, we would get dinner together. We were on the set for the most part at the same time. But other than that we’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, and Mike would play video games and I’d kill him. He’d lose his per diem to me! In “NBA2K”!
Jordan: I lost a week’s worth of per diems. Yes.
Teller [to Jordan]: I remember you got pissed off at me because I was talking trash, and you were like “Seriously, stop. Stop.”
Jordan: You’d lose friends over it.
Teller: Mike will.
Efron: I’m getting into it now, too. So get ready. “NBA2K14.”
What are your favorite romantic comedies? Because, shooting in New York, it obviously draws a lot of parallels to Woody Allen movies…
Teller: I’ve never seen a Woody Allen film. I’ve watched so little film, and it embarrasses me when I talk to people because I do love actors and I do love filmmakers but I’ve never seen a Woody Allen film. I do love the movie where Patrick Dempsey is riding a lawn mower…
“Can’t Buy Me Love“!
Teller: “Can’t Buy Me Love.” I love that movie.
Jordan: “Coming to America,” best romantic comedy ever.
Teller: “Lars and the Real Girl“? Well, I guess that’s more of a drama… because that movie’s awesome. [To Jordan] Have you seen that?
Efron: I like a lot of Judd Apatow’s comedies.
I want to ask about everyone’s upcoming projects — what’s going on with “Neighbors”?
Efron: “Neighbors” is going to be insane. I have seen a rough cut and I’ve never really seen a movie like it. I don’t really know what to say. It’s just crazy.
Teller: Tell that story with Seth. When he said, “I hated you.”
Efron: Yeah, so, years ago, when I had just done “High School Musical,” I had always looked up to Seth and gotten his sense of humor. And I was at Sunset Tower — there was some party that I had been invited to — and he walked by and I just stopped him and shook his hand and said, “Hey, I just have to meet you, man. My name’s Zac. I’m an actor.” He said, “Yeah, I know who you are.” So I said, “I would forever regret this moment if I didn’t tell you what a huge fan I was and I love and respect your work.” And he goes, “Really?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he goes, “I kind of hate everything about you. I wasn’t really expecting you to be cool.” I said, “No, I mean it, from the bottom of my heart.” He said, “I’m confused. Thank you. Thanks a lot.” I said, “I’d love to work with you.” And he goes, “Yeah… uh, me too… sure, why not?”
But he was surprised that I was actually genuine. This was 5, 6 years ago. So cut to when we started making this movie; it was a dream come true. And he still has no idea how much I look up to him. The way that the movie started and the way that it ended up was largely different and something that was pretty cool. Everybody’s stoked on it. We just had a day of additional photography and it was so fun to get back to those guys. It’s going to be really cool.
What’s going on with “Creed”?
Jordan: “Creed” is a project that’s in the process. Ryan is still writing the script. So we’re waiting for the script to come in and where in 2014 we’re going to get it done. But Sly is on board, ready to do it, coming back as Rocky Balboa. It’s f*cking awesome. I can’t f*cking wait. I am really ready to get in there and start training.
Teller: It’s going to be crazy when you’re calling Sylvester Stallone “Rocky.”
So Rocky is training your character?
Jordan: I can’t really talk about the nuances of it. But he’s going to be there, in the ring. It’s going to be good.
And what about “Divergent.” That’s going to be huge.
Teller: You can’t predict box office or anything. As many films that try to be in that “Hunger Games” or that “Twilight” mold there are a ton of films that didn’t really do the business they thought. But I was more than happy to work with Shailene [Woodley] and Kate Winslet and Neil Burger and do something that plays in Europe, because I haven’t had something they call “international value” attached to my name. But if that first one does well I’ll be shooting the sequel this summer.
“That Awkward Moment” hits theaters Friday, January 31.
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