Exclusive Interview: 'Nick and Norah' Star Kat Dennings
The star of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist chats with Premiere about the hazards of filming in NYC at 4 in the morning, mismatched pajamas, and that treacherous Vanity Fair photo shoot.
Kat Dennings made her first screen appearance in 2000 in an episode of Sex and the City appropriately titled "Hot Child in the City." Eight years later, the 22-year-old is ready to make her own New York City-sized splash with this fall's romantic comedy Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, starring Michael Cera as the Nick to her Norah. And in her interview with Vanity Fair for this summer's Young Hollywood issue, Dennings name checks Cronenberg, Viggo Mortensen, and AC/DC in the space of one paragraph. With several projects in the hopper, a blog and YouTube channel chock full of silliness, and a whip smart, charmingly self-deprecating way about her, this bright young thing is one to watch.
The House Bunny just came out and that looks like that was a lot of fun to film, especially with Anna Faris and the costumes. How was that?
It was amazing... our costume designer Mona May did Clueless, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. I was just asking her questions about Clueless every ten seconds. She was really sweet and answered my questions.
Was the after-party really at Hef's house?
It was at the Playboy Mansion, yes it was. I didn't stay that long [laughs] but I know there were a lot of guys there [who] had fun. Not really my scene, you know?
Your character Norah in Nick and Norah is really interesting and cool, but she's also awkward in a really real way, like when Nick and Norah are in the car together and trying to make conversation and Norah's like, "Oh, forget it." Do you relate to her at all?
Yes, I think I relate to her the most of anyone I've ever played, and I wanted to make sure she was really fleshed out, you know, really a complete person with her weird little tics and her insecurities. She's very insecure and vulnerable, and she tries not to be that way because she knows it's pathetic but she can't really get out of it. So she sometimes puts her foot in her mouth, especially around Nick.
Everyone wants to know what it was like working with Michael Cera.
The best. The best. It's so laid back with Michael. We would both just hang out and talk, and we would seamlessly start shooting a scene, or we'd be singing between takes or something. He's just, you know, sweet and smart and funny and nice. He's just a really, really nice person, and it makes a movie where you're in every scene together essentially so fun and easy.
I read on your blog that New Yorkers yelled at you and kind of bugged you guys a little bit while filming. What was that like?
You know, New York at 4 in the morning is really kind of tempestuous. When we were filming, we were doing all night shoots, which means you get up at like 3 pm and then shoot through the night 'til morning, basically, so New Yorkers on the Lower East Side at 4 in the morning are all, they're all soft or they're in a good mood or, you know, [looking] for some mischief and two teenagers in a Yugo is fun for them to make fun of. I don't blame them [laughs]. Oh wait, I wasn't a teenager when we made that. I still think of myself as a teenager; it's sad... People would throw fruit at us, people would call us names, people would scream at us. Yeah, it was a little scary but kind of amazing.
I don't want to spoil anything for our readers but at the end there's a really sweet love scene, and it's really not one that I've seen a lot, especially in movies for teenagers. Tell me about that a little bit.
We definitely wanted it to be obvious that they have fallen in love and that it's innocent, you know? And they weren't all like tearing each other's clothes off or anything. It's a little bit awkward and sweet. It's just real. It is what would happen to these two people because they've just sort of had their first time to be alone and talk for real, not when they're looking for [Norah's friend] Caroline or, you know, something crazy's happening... They're just having a discussion and it's just very sweet, and it shows just where they're at and how much they love each other and how much promise there is for them as a couple.