Actress Kaitlyn Dever talks ‘The Spectacular Now’

Actress Kaitlyn Dever, who is best known for her role as Eve Baxter alongside Tim Allen on television’s “Last Man Standing,” recently spoke with “Breakthrough Entertainment” about her role in A24’s new coming-of-age dramedy “The Spectacular Now.”

In “The Spectacular Now,” which opens Friday, Aug. 9 exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5, Miles Teller plays a high school senior who unexpectedly falls in love with a young woman (Shailene Woodley). What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth – one that doesn’t look for tidy truths.

Question: Tell me about your character. Who is Krystal and what about her appealed to you as an actress?

Answer: Krystal is very annoying and sort of controlling – but in a funny way. She is very protective of Shailene Woodley’s character. She was a really fun character to play because I felt like it was sort of a comedic character. And I love going back and forth from drama to comedy so I really loved the opportunity to play her. That is pretty much why I wanted to do the film. I really liked the character. And also the script in and of itself was awesome.

Q: Tell me more of your thoughts about the script and other elements that drew you to the project. What did you think of screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber and director James Ponsoldt?

A: The script on page by itself was so good. And I thought [screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber] would be really cool but when I met them they were way cooler than I even expected. They were awesome and were the nicest guys. And when I met with director James Ponsoldt, it was one of the coolest auditions ever. He is completely down-to-earth and laid-back. I immediately fell in love with James as a director.

Q: What kind of director was James? In other words, how did he approach his role as director? And is that an approach that you prefer?

A: I love both types of directors. There is the one type, who will come to you with a lot of ideas and have you do different takes different ways. Then there is the other type, who kind of lets you try to find the character on your own. That is the way that James worked with me. And I really appreciated that because he was so down-to-earth. I felt like I was talking to just a regular guy who was very passionate about a movie he was directing. He had a perfect vision. I feel like he really knew what he wanted and he got it.

Q: Finally, if moviegoers were to come away from “The Spectacular Now” with only one theme or lesson about life, what do you hope that would be?

A: I think that the main thing that you can learn from watching “The Spectacular Now” is just learning about growing up and moving on. Miles Teller plays a high school senior and coming-of-age stories are usually about 14- to 16-year-olds but I feel like this is still a coming-of-age film because he is worrying about what he wants to do with the rest of his life. And Shailene Woodley’s character is also worrying about what she wants to do with her life. She is going to move on to college while [Miles’s character] is living in the now. So I feel like what you learn from it is basically to just follow your instincts. That is the one thing that I took away from it. And when I saw the finished product at Sundance, I really did learn a lot. It was just amazing.

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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