SXSW Interview: Alan Tudyk and Cast share their ‘Premature’ stories

SXSW Interview: Alan Tudyk and Cast share their ‘Premature’ stories

SXSW Interview: Alan Tudyk and Cast share their ‘Premature’ stories
March 14
13:26 2014

Preston Barta // Film Critic

If you’re desiring to end your movie-going experience at South by Southwest on a high note, run with “Premature,” which is holding its final screening tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. at Alamo Ritz 2 in Austin.

The film’s focus is on a high school student who gets the chance to relive losing his virginity over and over until he makes it in good order.

The North Texas Daily sat down with its actors Alan Tudyk (“Serenity,” 2005), John Karna (“Bindlestiffs,” 2012) Carlson Young (“True Blood”) and writer-director Dan Beers (“FCU: Fact Checkers Unit”) at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. We talked about their film, the movies that taught them about sex and what classes they would teach to UNT students.

I feel like “Premature” is a great film for high school kids of this generation to understand and get word about sex. What was the film that you saw growing up that taught you about sex?

IMG_9247Alan Tudyk: “Wow. The movie that taught me about sex— ‘Risky Business,’ I guess, but it wasn’t much of a comedy. Well, I guess it kind of was a comedy. But yeah, I would say ‘Risky Business.’”

Dan Beers: “’Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’”

Tudyk: “Ah, yes! ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ is much better. Thank you. Yes! That movie was the best. Sean Penn before he got all serious, liberal and crazy.”

Beers: “Yeah! ‘Fast Times’ was a movie that I watched a lot when I was a teenager. I taped it off of HBO. There was one summer where I feel like I watched it every night. Our film is a little soft in comparison, but ‘Fast Times’ was one of the most honest depicted movies about sex. You have the character who gets pregnant and has an abortion and the guy who’s afraid he won’t go all the way. You know, it’s funny because you watch a movie like that today and you’re like that movie would not get made in today’s marketplace.”

Carlson Young: “‘The Girl Next Door!’ There’s not a doubt in my mind. That was the easiest question you could have asked me. When I first read the script for ‘Premature’ I thought, ‘this has such a coming-of-age feel.’ Yeah, the context is raunchy, but when you watch the movie itself it is so light. It’s nothing but innocent fun, and it has that sentimental, growing into yourself feel that I got with ‘The Girl Next Door.’”

John Karna: “Man, I don’t know. When I was in middle school, I heard about sex just from my friends telling me all sorts of crazy things. I think parents these days are beaten to the punch by all the misinformation on television. So there wasn’t a particular movie. I think it was just all the experience.”

The story is about John’s character reliving losing his virginity over and over again until he gets it right. Is there anything in your life that you wish you could relive in order to get it right?

IMG_9244Karna: “I would do high school again. I mean, who wouldn’t though, right? You look back and you’re like, ‘I was an idiot!’ Everyone’s an idiot in high school. Things are so important to us that aren’t important to us in the real world. And things that you don’t really care about just fly by. Yeah, I would do high school over again and enjoy it more.”

Young: “I would also redo my whole high school experience. I had a really good time in high school. I went to Ft. Worth Country Day and had amazing friends and teachers, but I wish I could go back, shake myself and be like ‘this does not matter in any shape or form. Live it up because you’re never going to be 18 and applying to college again. So have fun with it.’ I wish I could go back and tell myself to take myself less seriously.”

Obviously, your sexual awakening is a big deal. Alan, of all the great characters you’ve played, whom are you most curious to see how they dealt with their sexual awakening and losing their virginity?

Tudyk: “I would like to watch— boy, so many of them.”

Steve the Pirate from “Dodgeball?”

Tudyk: “Steve the Pirate [Laughs]. Ah, man. I wouldn’t want to watch that. That had to be painful for him. Something happened to that guy, but who knows what happened to him there.”

Wash from “Firefly?”

Tudyk: “Wash would be great. He would be fun.”

Perhaps, we should call up Joss Whedon right now. I think he’d totally drop ‘The Avengers 2’ to do it.

Tudyk: “Yeah and come in and do Wash’s flowering: ‘The Sexual Awakening of Wash’ [Laughs]. But there was also a character that I played in ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ that I’d like to see. I don’t think I would like to play the character as he’s going through his sexual awakening, but it would be funny to watch.”

Dan, something that has always fascinated me as a lover of film is why directors make certain films at a certain point in their lives. How do you think this movie would have played if you had made it earlier in your career?

IMG_9240Beers: “That’s a good question. It may not have been as sweet. I’m 39 now and I wrote this two years ago. I’ve always had affection for teen films. I like John Hughes movies. I loved growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The thing about his films that I always loved is that he was definitely one for the comedy and treated teenagers like people, as they ideally would be. If I had made this earlier in my life, I would probably go for more of the joke and a little bit less for the honesty and characters. I think now that I am older, I go into a script falling in love with all the characters. The thing that I was very conscious of, making this movie, is wanting it to go one way and thinking it’s going to be a certain kind of movie, but in the end there’s so much heart in it that you didn’t expect. But hopefully it will work for you and pay off for you.”

Did you go to college?

Tudyk: “I sure did. I went to Juilliard in New York for three years, but I left before my fourth year because that place was crazy. I learned a lot there and the school is so great and it’s cranking out so many amazing, amazing actors. I feel like the school is a lot better and stronger now.

But the reason why I left my fourth year was because you only performed your fourth year. There was no more learning or training. So I thought I’d rather go work. However, yeah, today, there are so many great people that come out of there. You have the Jessica Chastains of the world— I can’t even name them all because there were so many.”

Young: “I’m from SMU originally. Now, I am at USC part time. I study creative writing. But I didn’t do college the orthodox way— I deferred a year and I’ve been working high school. So it was kind of like now or never with acting.

I couldn’t necessarily take four years off the normal way. So I moved to Los Angeles and I started working pretty consistently right away and then transferred to USC part time. I mean, it’s really awesome because I take two or three classes a semester and able to wholeheartedly enjoy my classes. I’m not a stressed out college student. I take full advantage of my professors and my curriculum, and I love it. But as far as finding yourself in college, that statement couldn’t be anymore accurate.”

If you could teach a college class, what would you teach?

IMG_9238Young: “Coming from a creative writing major, it would unquestionably have to be something about composition. My high school was very big on writing and it stuck with me. It really contributed to me wanting to be an English major in general.

I would like to teach a class about appropriate writing on social media, because the stuff that people post on Facebook and Twitter— I mean, if you made your concessions and statements a little more cohesive, you’d probably sound way smarter. No matter how outrageous it is, you can put it more poetically.”

Beers: “I was a film major and what they teach you is how to make movies, which is amazing. But what I wasn’t prepared for when I stepped out into the real world was how there are not a lot of film jobs. I wish there had been a course about preparing you for way to make money and earn a living while trying to achieve your dream. It would be a class that would prepare your mindset for that because there was that moment when I got out of school and it took me about a year and a half to find that first job, where I thought, ‘why didn’t anybody tell me this?’ If I had any knowledge of that, it would have been a different story.”

Karna: “I would teach film appreciation. I think that would be pretty great. I don’t think I am well versed in anything to teach a college course, but if I could be knowledgeable enough, I would teach that. I think it is a brilliant thing to learn about. I think movies are the coolest thing in the world, so I would teach that.”

Tudyk: “Ooh, the only thing I could probably teach – that I have any knowledge of – is a class about creating your own thing. Even though I am not known for creating my own thing, I have watched a lot of people do it. Seeing the benefits of framing yourself as an artist versus waiting for someone to discover you, or waiting for the right project to come along that hits you in the right way— I mean, it’s just so time consuming. The odds of you pulling it off are really rare. But people, who make things, continue to make things. Even bad things— there is a place for them. People need what everybody calls content. There’s a lot of need for content on all of the channels and places to see stuff. So I would craft a class that would help identify student’s individual voice and how to produce something from that perspective.”

“Premature” will have its final screening tomorrow at SXSW at 4 p.m. at Alamo Ritz 2, and will open during the summer.

IMG_9243

Feature Photo: John Karna and Carlson Young star in “Premature.” Photo courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment.
Headshot 1: Alan Tudyk at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Photo by Preston Barta.
Headshot 2: John Karna at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Photo by Preston Barta.
Headshot 3: Director Dan Beers at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Photo by Preston Barta.
Headshot 4: Carlson Young at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Photo by Preston Barta.
Bottom Photo: Alan Tudyk, Dan Beers, Carlson Young, John Karna and Adam Riegler at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Photo by Preston Barta.

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