If you're the type who longs to see a hoodie-wearing Michael Cera driving a Yugo, make sure to check out Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. The Before Sunrise--y romantic dramedy finds the 20-year-old Canadian behind the wheel of an orange turd of a vehicle, on a quest through New York City to find a secret show being put on by his favorite indie-rock band. While on a promotional stop in Philadelphia, Cera called to discuss the film in the same halting delivery that made him stand out in cultish crowd-pleasers Arrested Development, Superbad and Juno.
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Time Out New York: At 20 years and four months old, you are the third-youngest "Hot Seat" subject ever. Congratulations.
Oh, cool. Pretty cool. Great!
TONY: You rank just behind Oksana Baiul, whom we interviewed back in 1998. And she's a gold medalist.
Michael Cera: Yeah, but not a gold medalist at being young. Only silver. Anyway, I'm sure sometime soon there'll be someone younger, and I'll be fourth.
TONY: I'll try to hold off on Dakota Fanning for a while. So, have you been mauled by any Hollywood cougars lately?
Michael Cera: No, I haven't.
TONY: Really? Cougars aren't after you yet? But you're a hot commodity!
Michael Cera: Is cougars something that's happening right now? That's a new thing?
TONY: I believe it is.
Michael Cera: No, I heard that term a long time ago. Cougars have been around for a while.
TONY: Okay. Still, they're ready to pounce. You need to be prepared.
Michael Cera: All right. Thanks.
TONY: Speaking of old rides, you drive a Yugo in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Was the car as crappy as you'd expect?
Michael Cera: It was a bit of a nightmare because it was pretty old and it would stall out a lot. And I didn't really drive a stick. But I wouldn't put it down too much. I mean, it got me from A to B.
TONY: What was your first car?
Michael Cera: Me and my mom were driving a 1991 Honda Civic for a long time—the kind where you close the door and the seat belt automatically buckles up, which you forget about when you try and get out, and you open the door and it hits your chin.
TONY: Are you a speed demon?
Michael Cera: I got in an accident in 2007, and since then I've driven completely differently. Not that I ever drove recklessly or anything.
TONY: Did you pull a Morgan Freeman?
Michael Cera: No. What does that mean?
TONY: Just that he got in a crazy accident recently and lived to tell the tale.
Michael Cera: Oh, right. No, no, I never did that. I thought that was just a bizarre reference to one of his movies that I hadn't seen.
TONY: So, what happened?
Michael Cera: It was raining and traffic had come to a complete stop. I saw in my rearview mirror that there was a bus that was not able to stop. It hit an SUV behind me and then they both came into me and my back windshield exploded. But nobody was hurt, so it's good.
TONY: But your poor window!
Michael Cera: Yeah. But it was fine. I got it fixed up.
TONY: You know, there ought to be an acting term called the Michael Cera to describe your on-camera awkwardness.
Michael Cera: That's funny.
TONY: But you're actually using the Cera in this interview. Admit it: It's all a carefully executed plan, isn't it?
Michael Cera: No, definitely not. It's not a conscious thing. That would be exhausting. I guess this is the only way I can do it.
TONY: Fair enough. Your character stays up all night to track down a band called Fluffy. Are there any bands you'd go to great lengths to see?
Michael Cera: No, not really. That's kind of a lame answer, but...
TONY: So what kind of music do you like?
Michael Cera: Uh, you know, all sorts of stuff. All kinds. Whatever. Whatever's good.
TONY: Like what?
Michael Cera: I just like good music. I try to specifically listen to good stuff.
TONY: That can apply to so many bands.
Michael Cera: Well, no—only to the kinds that I would like.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist opens Fri 3.
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