Edgar Wright (left) and Michael Cera
Meeting Michael Cera on a press tour feels like walking through a wooded glen and encountering a faun. His presence discourages loud noises or sudden movement. He has never seen The Sopranos
, but is making his way through Battlestar Galactica
by watching one episode before bed every night. "You really burn through them that way," he says.
Last week, Cera alighted in a conference room of the Liberty Hotel to promote his new film, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. He's wide-eyed with long, delicate limbs, a soft crown of wheat-colored hair and a hesitant bearing that belies his status. He seemed surprised when he learned of the success of the film's Boston screenings, an emotion he registered by making his eyes even larger.
Less ethereal were his comrades on the junket, director Edgar Wright and Jason Schwartzman. Conspicuously absent was Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Pilgrim's love interest, the Juno-like Ramona Flowers. In her place was the startlingly petite Anna Kendrick — Pilgrim's gossipy younger sister in the film — who has made a career playing exasperated busybodies with hearts of gold.
The cadre had just returned from a drop-in at Newbury Comics. "We were just standing around by the poster, hoping to be recognized," Wright deadpanned, his self-deprecation enhanced by an English accent. "It was fun for me to go in there because I buy a lot of stuff online from them," Schwartzman said, dispelling any doubts about his fealty to indie record shops. Had he kept silent, his mutton chops and the dozen Scott Pilgrim buttons dotting the lapel of his military shirt could have done the work for him.
Schwartzman, Wright, and Cera look like the kind of people who might criticize a movie for not adhering to the series of comics on which it's based. Kendrick, a veteran of all three Twilight films, was resigned to the fact that some people won't like Pilgrim. "People decide whether they like an adaptation before they go and see it," she said.
As it turns out, there will be little opportunity for Pilgrim to be anything but faithful to its source material — cartoonist Brian Lee O'Malley wrote volumes two through six after Wright started developing the film script. "Bryan Lee O'Malley actually took . . . lines that were making their way into the script and put them in the books," Schwartzman explained. "It's strange and great." So it's like a James Patterson novel? "Exactly."