Top marks for class of 2015
Since their little movie made a big splash at Sundance back in January, the young stars of Me
and Earl and the Dying Girl have been on the ride of their lives.
Now Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke and RJ Cyler are realising it’s time for the “gruesome threesome” (as Cooke calls them) to go make other films, with other people.
“Honestly, it’s going to be
depressing,” says Mann, the Texan who, at almost 24, is the eldest of the three. “I won’t know how to function.”
It’s easy not only to see how the Me and Earl and the Dying
Girl trio became so attached to each other, but how viewers became attached to their film.
The “Me” of the title is Greg (Mann), an aimless kid who has deliberately avoided slotting into any high school clique.
Greg hangs out at lunchtime watching arthouse movies with his “co-worker” Earl (Cyler). The pair spend the rest of their days crafting shonky remakes of movie classics, like Senior
Citizen Kane and Eyes Wide Butt.
They boys are forced out of their bubble — and into some serious growing up — when Greg’s mum makes him go talk to Rachel (Cooke), a classmate diagnosed with leukaemia.
It’s a quirky, funny tearjerker; as much a one-off as
Juno or Napoleon Dynamite. Mann, whose films include
Project X and Fun Size, says it’s his “most mature role”, even though he plays a teenager.
“A lot of people still feel inadequate or worry about where they fit in the world. It’s not like I had to remember what it felt like to be a teenager.”
Cooke, 21, from Manchester, says it’s the only high-school movie she ever need make.
“You get so many s--- highschool scripts, then we got one that was a diamond. It was so perfect that to do another highschool movie would be a disservice to your career.”
As for Cyler, 20, well, he doesn’t have a lot to compare it to. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was his first acting job. “Thomas and Olivia have made me way pickier with projects,” Cyler says about his career going forward. “It can’t have any flaws, it has to be the perfect Mona Lisa painting.”
The trio will go their separate ways knowing they’ve made something special.
Says Mann: “It’s completely ruined any other experience for me because it’s been so positive. Everything now is like: before and after Me and Earl.”