Three questions for Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, stars of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
In wise, funny and touching teen drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (opening June 12), high school outsider Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann, 23) and his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler, 20) spend their spare time making hilarious parodies of classic films. Greg’s life changes when his mom insists he start spending time with a classmate he barely knows, Rachel (Olivia Cooke, 21), who has been diagnosed with cancer.
We asked the film’s stars, who were recently in Toronto, the same three questions:
1. The movie shows the power of platonic love. Have you had that kind of relationship?
2. Who would you rather have in your life? Hip high school history teacher Mr. McCarthy (Jon Bernthal) or Greg’s offbeat, movie-scholar father Victor Gaines (Nick Offerman)?
3. Which of the parody movies in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was your favourite fake film?
1. Oh my God, yeah, growing up all my best friends were guys. I’m obsessed with men, I love their energy, I love being around their sense of humour. I’ve also got really great girlfriends, but it’s funny how you never really see it depicted in Hollywood movies because it’s all about you’re only doing this thing because you want to get laid and that’s not the case (with this movie). It’s lovely.
2. A dad like Greg Gaines’ dad. Not that I don’t love my dad, but it seems like he’s so involved in Greg’s life in showing him these amazing movies. He’s really inspired him. My parents divorced when I was an early age . . . and my mom had to be both parents.
3. Burden of Screams (Burden of Dreams). Anytime that Thomas imitates Werner Herzog it’s just the funniest thing.
I have added 1 scan from Vanity Fair July 2015 issue with a new beautiful picture of the cast of Me And Earl and The Dying Girl
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has garnered a reputation as the anti The Fault in Our Stars, even though the two stories’ inceptions came about at the same time.
Based on a novel by Jesse Andrews (who is also the screenwriter), the movie follows Greg Gaines, the invisible social butterfly in high school—accepted in every clique, yet easily forgettable. When he is forced by his mother to befriend Rachel Kushner, a girl with cancer, his life is turned upside down.
The actors knew this project would be different from anything they’ve done before when they first read the script. Thomas Mann (Greg) knew immediately that it was a project he wanted to be a part of.
“The script was so honest and realistic. It reminded me of the teenager that I was and the teenagers I know now. They’re much more complex… they’re insecure but really confident too and sort of snarky and self-absorbed. I liked that the movie owned up to it. I knew it was going to be different and deeper.”
Thomas could connect with Greg’s frankness and according to him, Greg does not see his friendship with Rachel as a beautiful poignant time in his life, but rather an awkward and uncomfortable time.
“It was the way I might have dealt with the situation when I was a teenager. You don’t say the right thing and just kind of the clumsiness of the character is what I really responded to. I saw so much of myself in Greg. It was just about being honest and owning up to those parts of yourself.”
Similarly, for Olivia Cooke (Rachel), tapping into her character was not difficult at all.
“I really identified with her. She’s a girl that’s not written with any overwhelming self-deprecating qualities. She’s not riddled with insecurities. She’s just a girl who likes herself and is quietly confident. She doesn’t want to put too much of herself out there and she wants to keep some things to herself. I think that’s how I am. I think it’s very important to keep a bit to yourself, be a bit mysterious so you can share that with people you love. That’s what she finds with Greg. They both want to open up and they both learn to connect with another person.”
Olivia had to shave her head, which she described as the best thing she could have done for the role. However, in normal life, it was a challenge for her to overcome.
“It was awful. Everyone said it would be so liberating and free but they’ve never bloody shaved their heads! I felt very invisible. I didn’t feel feminine anymore. I didn’t realize how much I relied on the looks I got from people to feel attractive… then it got to a place where I felt comfortable with myself and who I am. If people want to put so much importance on looks and beauty, they can, but I think that they’re missing out on a whole lot.”
The ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ star was once in a One Direction video and yearning for the bathroom.
I’ve added 14 high quality pictures of Olivia arriving at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood on june 3, 2015