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But for writer-director Tom Gormican, who set out to make a romantic comedy from a male perspective, the film is also a personal story based on his and his friends’ experiences in their 20s.
“I think there’s a little bit of myself in each of these guys and different scenarios that I dealt with in my life, but they were also sort of based on the collective of people that I got out of college with and moved to the city with, and we grew up navigating our personal and professional lives, usually to disastrous effect. The situations are sort of culled and put into this story,” Gormican told The Hollywood Reporter at Wednesday night’s New York screening.
Telling those tales also required setting the movie in New York, Gormican said, adding that the ability to create instant connections also makes the city important to the story.
“Facebook and these social networks enhance our ability to connect with different people and [they] provide [a lot] more choice and when you log on there you can reach out to a ton of different people. I think New York City is sort of the physical manifestation of that idea. You walk out of your apartment and you’re in the middle of a million people and the ability to meet people and see people very quickly and all at once is unparalleled,” he explained.
Efron, Jordan and Teller’s characters have some risque adventures, including a scene in which a naked Efron and semi-nude Teller are lying across toilets in different bathrooms, talking to each other on their cellphones.
But Teller said he wasn’t reluctant to do anything his character does.
“I think as soon as you sign on to a movie, then you’re kind of committing to your character’s arc. So I was game for anything,” Teller told THR. “This movie was not as uncomfortable as some other stuff I’ve done.”
Teller sounded less committed to the role in the upcoming John Belushi biopic that star Emile Hirsch told Sundance Teller would be playing.
The actor said he “might be” doing the film, saying that he’s just met with the director and writer Steve Conrad and he’s interested in making the movie and working with his pal Hirsch, but he has to see whether it fits in his schedule.
“We all think it would be cool for me to do it; I just have to kind of figure out scheduling-wise if it works out,” he said.
Teller was at Sundance with opening night movie Whiplash, will next appear in Divergent and has at least two other projects lined up.
Meanwhile, Jordan, who’s best known for more dramatic roles in Fruitvale Station and The Wire, made his first foray into a comedy movie with That Awkward Moment, saying he was surprised by the pace and timing.
“You’ve always heard about comedic timing and that it’s so important but you don’t really understand what that is until you’re first-hand in it,” he explained.
When THR asked Jordan, who’s been attached to and rumored to be involved with various high-profile films, what he’s working on next, he sort of clammed up and said the only project he could talk about is Creed, the Rocky spinoff set to be directed by his Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler. Jordan will play Apollo Creed’s grandson in the film, which he said should start shooting in 2014.
Efron and Imogen Poots were also on hand for the screening as was cast member Josh Pais, who has a memorable role as Efron and Teller’s socially awkward boss, inclined to say greet them in person by saying, “Hey, it’s Fred,” as if he’s talking to them on the phone.
Pais says that joke was in the script, but “it grew into something much bigger than what was just on the page.”
In fact, he even joked that his character inspired the film to change its name from its original title of Are We Officially Dating? to That Awkward Moment.
“My character was completely based in awkwardness and uncomfortableness, so I think they really changed the title based on my character,” he said.
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