Tavi Gevinson Wonders: Am I Good Enough for Kenneth Lonergan?

THR_ThisisOurYouth_MAIN - H 2014
Miller Mobley

THR_ThisisOurYouth_MAIN - H 2014

"It's hard on me because it's like, you got this part and you're inexperienced," says Gevinson, who is starring in Lonergan's 'This Is Our Youth' alongside Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin. "Can you show something for yourself?"

This story first appeared in the Oct. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Lounging near their dressing rooms, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson and Kieran Culkin, the cast of Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, indulge in a round of the clapping game "Miss Mary Mack" during a break in their photo shoot. "Michael and I, we've had a friendship for years," says Culkin, 32, who has performed in the play off and on for more than a decade. "I think that makes the whole thing a lot more alive."

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Set in New York during the early '80s, Youth premiered off-Broadway in 1996 with Mark Ruffalo in Cera's role. It follows three teenagers over 48 hours as they try to find sex, drugs and meaning in life. Of his play's long road to Broadway, Lonergan, 51, says simply, "I didn't want to do a revival in New York without a cast that was great, and that took a while." Youth also has been a showcase on London's West End for such stars as Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck.

Along with his Broadway debut, Lonergan is marking a return to Hollywood: He wrote and will direct Manchester-by-the-Sea, with Damon set to star and shooting to begin in early 2015. It's Lonergan's first film since the famously troubled Margaret, which limped into theaters in 2011 after years of budgetary and legal purgatory.

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Sailing has been smoother for the critically acclaimed Youth, the first major theater experience for Cera, 26, and Gevinson, 18. "It's hard on me because it's like, you got this part and you're inexperienced," says Gevinson, who made her name with a buzzy fashion blog she launched as a tween. "Can you show something for yourself?" Cera, 26, takes the rigors of the stage in stride: "We have a pretty intense weekend where we do five shows, but for the most part we get enough rest and just kind of click into it. The story hits my heart."