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Mann appeared in teen-party feature Project X and YA film Beautiful Creatures, but it's his lead role in the Sundance cancer drama Me & Earl & the Dying Girl that could be his big break. The Dallas-raised actor also has a slew of upcoming projects, including Barely Lethal with Hailee Steinfeld, Blood Father with Mel Gibson and Amityville: The Awakening. Mann is doing double duty at Sundance, also starring in The Stanford Prison Experiment with Ezra Miller and Tye Sheridan.
Role model: "I really like Paul Dano's career. He's had a nice little arc and I can't wait to see what he does next because now he's sort of transitioning into older roles. And he's able to be a star in some smaller indie movie and then also have a supporting role in a bigger movie, and I just like actors who can do anything and he seems like one of those people."
Worst audition: "It was for the Maze Runner. Sometimes you just don't get enough time to prepare. Maybe I was just tired or not on top of my game, but I go in there and I finish the scene and the director goes, 'OK, how do you think that went?' And I just thought, 'Oh no, did I just phone it in and not even try?' That's a terrible thing to say to somebody. But you can't beat yourself up about it. I audition all the time. You go through it enough and you're bound to have a bad day or two."
Favorite "Hollywood" moment: "About a year after I shot Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, I was having dinner with the cast of Beautiful Creatures at the Chateau Marmont, and I saw Jeremy Renner outside. I just decided to say hi and we just chatted for a bit. I thought, 'Wow, I must look so cool sitting here with Jeremy Renner outside the Chateau Marmont.' I don't know why that moment sticks out to me; I think because my friends pointed it out to me."
Anyone you'd get starstruck around? "If I met [Martin] Scorsese or Paul Thomas Anderson, I wouldn't know what to say. I don't think anything I would say would ever be interesting enough to them. But also I'd like to work with them, so I'll have to get over that. Anyone I really respect as an artist that I'd think it would be challenging to talk to would make me nervous."
If I weren't an actor: "I would probably end up doing something in film. I just love movies. I thought about going to film school before acting started panning out for me. I'd like to try directing down the road."
When I'm not working: "I love music, and there's so much live music in L.A. so I do that. And I have a good group of friends here. We're always making stuff like short films. And I go camping a lot."
Career goals: "I have a lot of stuff I'd like to do. It all depends on the script. Something that doesn't take place in high school, preferably. I feel like you'll read a lot of the same type of scripts for people my age, so I'm looking for something that will challenge me — something more grown up or something weird."