Michael Cera, Making The Perfect 'Playlist'

Michael Cera and Kat Dennings at a bar i i

Michael Cera and Kat Dennings star as Nick and Norah, respectively, in Peter Sollet's romantic comedy. Sony Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Sony Pictures
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings at a bar

Michael Cera and Kat Dennings star as Nick and Norah, respectively, in Peter Sollet's romantic comedy.

Sony Pictures

Once known mostly for his sweetly tentative portrayal of awkward, sexually anxious teenager George-Michael Bluth on the cult TV hit Arrested Development, Michael Cera became a bona fide movie star in 2007 with his winningly geeky performances in the hit comedies Juno and Superbad.

As an actor, Time magazine's Richard Corliss notes this week, Cera "has the gift of appearing both wise beyond his years and not at all happy about it ... as if he'd received a vision of what life has in store for him, and it worries him sick."

Next up for Cera: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a music-fueled teen love story shot largely in the Manhattan clubland where its band geeks and It girls posture and play. He plays Nick, a teenage bass player nursing a broken heart after his pretty but shallow girlfriend dumps him.

Cera talks to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his latest project, about the singularly idiosyncratic playlist that is his career so far, and about the "new movie phenomenon" of the regular-guy leading man.

Among the anecdotes: making his Arrested Development audition tape in his mom's bedroom, in front of a bedsheet.

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