A nerd redux in Superbad

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      LOS ANGELES—Michael Cera may always be known for a TV character he stopped playing before he turned 18. So although he is going into his first feature film as “the nice kid from Arrested Development”, by the end of this summer the 19-year-old Canadian will probably be known as “the nice kid from Superbad”.

      Cera’s character in the film, which opens next Friday (August 17), was written by ex-Vancouverites Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. Loosely based on Goldberg himself, Evan is polite, a loyal friend, an outstanding student, respectful of women, and concerned that his louder and more aggressive friend Seth (Jonah Hill) may be too concerned about getting women drunk and taking advantage of them.

      In a Los Angeles hotel room, Cera says that despite the similarity in the names, he never assumed that either he or Hill should be doing an impression. “I wasn’t trying to be him,” he says. “There would be no point to that since no one knows what they [Rogen and Goldberg] are really like. I don’t think they ever wanted the characters to be like them. We [Cera and Hill] did hang around with them and the dynamic between them in the movie is close to real life, but they were much more concerned about us making it real for the audience than becoming them.”

      Cera probably owes his casting in the film to his three-year stint as George-Michael Bluth on Arrested Development. He was 15 when the show made its debut in 2003, and he says he always expected that the show would catch on and have a long run.

      “I remember it being a lot of fun and admiring everyone on it and trying to listen to everything that [actors] Will Arnett and Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross would tell me. I took all that in and learned a lot about acting from them. But it was really apparent that the ratings weren’t going to go way up. I think that we finally figured it out when they [Fox Broadcasting] put us on after American Idol one night to see if we could retain the audience. Our numbers were exactly the same that night as they had been the rest of the year, so it was obvious we were not going to attract any more people. I think we were all just happy that it lasted three years.”

      Cera’s ability to play likable nerds may come naturally. He says that one of the highlights of his involvement with the marketing of Superbad came when he attended the comic book and film convention Comic-Con and met one of his idols.

      “I met [Ghostbusters’] Ernie Hudson and got a signed headshot. It cost 20 bucks, but then I lost it. I still have it [the evidence] on tape that I got the autograph. He was really friendly, and he hasn’t aged a bit. The photo was from Ghostbusters, and it said: ”˜To Michael, who are you gonna call?’ ”