After building a career â€“ and a devoted fan base â€“ playing nerdy/nice boys in films like Superbad and Juno, Michael Cera is taking on a much more energetic role in his new film, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. He’s still nerdy and nice, but this time, he’s also kicking a lot of ass.
â€œIt was hard, but wonderful,â€ Cera said in an interview of the training he went through to prepare for the role of a young musician who has to battle seven of his new girlfriend’s ex’s. â€œI had to go a long way to learn what do to. In the very beginning when we were rehearsing in LA just facing a mirror and throwing punches toward my reflection I couldn’t believe how bad I looked. Just to make a (simple blocking) move look dynamic I had to do it over and over again.â€
Cera and the people he battles in the movie – including Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans and Brandon Routh – spent a lot of time getting shape before the movie even started filming, taking gymnastic and strength classes every morning.
â€œWe focused on building up enough stamina to not only do the fights, but to last through the filming,â€ Cera said. â€œOne of those sequences can take all night to film and it gets really tiring doing take after take. It really takes a lot out of you, but you have to stay focused. If you get tired and only go fifty percent there’s a chance that you could screw up and get hurt or hurt somebody else.â€
Getting in great physical shape was only half the battle for preparing for his first action movie, Cera said. He said that working with the stunt coordinators, which was made up of the fight teams that work with Jackie Chan and Jet Li combined, was â€œmentally exhaustingâ€, too.
â€œYou not only have to learn your choreography but you have to learn the other guy’s choreography, too,â€ he said. â€œAfter every take the fight team would critique what you did and fine tune it or add something else. It’s a lot to think about, like making sure you focus where your left hand is even when you’re swinging with your right because you can’t just let it float there. It would look weird.â€