Hollywood’s Up And Comers Dish Out Advice At AFI’s Young Hollywood Roundtable

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The AFI Film Festival has a lot to offer in the way of gala films and seasoned actors, but while the big event on Friday was the premiere of “August Osage County” at the Chinese Theater, other more fun things were happening in the theater next door. Hollywood’s up-and-coming actors gathered to discuss success, their craft, and Internet stalking for AFI’s Young Hollywood Roundtable.

The panel brought Brie Larson (“Short Term 12″), Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”), Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”), Dane DeHaan (“Kill Your Darlings”), and Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”) together, with Los Angeles Times’ entertainment reporter Amy Kaufman moderating, to discuss a number of topics that ranged from inspirational, to awkward, to just plain hilarious. Check out the highlights:

On their first big Hollywood moment:

Kaufman started off the night by asking the group when they experienced their first Hollywood moment. Dane DeHaan, who co-starred in the 2012 film “Lawless” before landing roles in “Kill Your Darlings” and “The Place Beyond the Pines,” said he first felt like he had made it when his agent bought him a plane ticket to Cannes for the film’s premiere.

“When Lawless was going to Cannes, they were going to take everyone except for me because everyone else was a lot more famous than I was,” DeHann said. “So my agent bought me a plane ticket and the first night I was there I slept on a line producer’s futon, but I had this really cool tux and then I did the red carpet. That night [after the premiere] Jessica Chastain had to go back to finish shooting “Zero Dark Thirty” so she gave me her hotel room for the night and it was like… um… palatial and that was my first big Hollywood moment.”

Brie Larson said she had her first Hollywood moment at the tender age of seven. “My first job… I was seven years old and I was doing a fake Barbie commercial for Jay Leno,” Larson said. “It was Malibu Mudslide Barbie –this is real– and I was so excited about the opportunity to work, and they put your name on the door and it was my first time ever seeing Brie Larson– because that’s not my real name– so it was like this fake name on the door in Los Angeles. And they had like wardrobe which was like – a t-shirt—and it was really exciting and I remember thinking ‘I made it.’ And I had no idea I wasn’t even close.”

On using/resisting social media:

All three men on the panel use Twitter, but both Gerwig and Larson have decided to opt out. Gerwig described herself as a bit of a social media stalker. “I’m like an old woman,” she said. “I read people’s Twitters, but I don’t get their feeds. I just read all of them. I like that. I like Jessica Chastain’s Facebook page very much. She’s so nice, and she’s so happy. I stalk people all the time via their things, but I feel like maybe if I was on it then they would know. I just want to be behind a shield.”

On the difference between acting in independent films and blockbusters:

Every actor on the panel has experienced working on both indie films and big blockbusters and they said there are some noticeable differences between them.

DeHaan, who will appear in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ this coming May, said the biggest difference to him is time. “I think that’s the main difference [with big budget films]. It buys you time. You have six months to make a movie instead of 24 days so you can spend an entire day working on two pages. You can explore everything, rather than having to do it two or three times and then move on, hoping that you got it.”

Teller, who just finished shooting the highly anticipated “Divergent” with “The Spectacular Now” co-star Shailene Woodley, said he likes how much say he gets as an actor in independent films. “[Shooting smaller films], to me, it feels more like a student film. Obviously I’m not trying to take away from the quality of work they’re doing. The directors that I’ve worked with on smaller films are much more collaborative from my experience. You really feel like a big part of it. On the bigger films that I’ve worked on, for certain things it’s more of a visual presentation. I like staying active. I like being on the go. I think it builds an energy to it…I like the feeling that you and everybody else are making this thing together.”

 On auditioning for roles:

When talking about auditions, Teller recalled talking to his agent about why he wasn’t getting work. “I remember when I was first auditioning for stuff, I wasn’t booking anything and my agent said, ‘Well, you gotta start working out. Or you gotta start doing your hair.'”

After giggling over the idea of someone telling Teller to “do his hair,” Larson recalled receiving similar feedback from casting directors. “For so many auditions, I get, ‘It’s great. It’s really great, but could you come back in a mini skirt… Could you come back in a jean mini skirt?”

Then she said to Gerwig, “Do you get that?”

“No,” Gerwig deadpanned. “They don’t want to see me in a mini skirt. I always get like after an audition – so are you funny?”

 On disastrous auditions:

Though the panel wasn’t really willing to discuss their worst auditions Gerwig did seem upset over never booking a role on Law & Order. “I’m like the only actor in New York who’s never ever been on any Law & Order and I’ve auditioned for so many of them. And the sad thing is I love Law & Order. I love it, I see it all the time, I’m into all the detectives and all the different iterations. I’m really obsessed with it. And they always say to me, ‘like you seem like you’re making fun of the material’ … and I’m like I take this shit so seriously.”

 On watching themselves on screen:

“Miles doesn’t watch his own movies ever,” Jordan said to break a lull in the conversation. While he wasn’t totally serious, Teller did say watching himself on screen is odd. “I mean you watch it, it’s just you don’t see the movie, at least I don’t see the movie at all. You work on a movie for however long, you have all these memories associated with it and then for that to be condensed down to like an hour and half or two hours is just so weird,” Teller said. “And I hate it, I think I’m terrible, and I think everyone else is fantastic.”

Jordan agreed for the most part. He said he’s seen “Fruitvale Station” four times to date, but he found himself thinking “that’s annoying” when he first saw it.

Gerwig recounted a job where she sat naked in a bathtub playing a trumpet, “I just remember the last shot of the movie in the bathtub … and it was sort of like, well, kill your vanity now. But like you really understand why Orson Welles ate so much because it’s so traumatic. Like after you see yourself you sort of want to go eat a whole roast by yourself.”


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