Michael Cera struggled so much with his newfound fame after the release of his films Superbad and Juno that he debated giving up acting for good.
The 35-year-old actor — who recently admitted that he almost married his then-girlfriend Aubrey Plaza during the same period — told The Guardian that he found his quick rise to fame ‘overwhelming.’
He was around 19 after he had starred in both hit films, but he found it difficult to navigate his newfound celebrity and the hordes of fans he had accumulated in such a short period.
‘That was sort of overwhelming,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know how to handle walking down the street. Fame makes you very uncomfortable in your own skin, and makes you paranoid and weird.’
He continued, ‘There were lots of great things about it, and I met a lot of amazing people, but there’s a lot of bad energies, too, ones that I was not equipped to handle.’
Too much: Michael Cera, 35, admitted he almost quit acting because he struggled to deal with the fame and overzealous fans, according to a new interview with The Guardian; seen in June in LA
Hard to handle: ‘That was sort of overwhelming,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know how to handle walking down the street. Fame makes you very uncomfortable in your own skin, and makes you paranoid and weird’; seen in Superbad with Jonah Hill
Michael — who’s Superbad costar and friend Jonah Hill was accused earlier in July of being a ‘misogynist’ and ’emotionally abusive’ by an ex-girlfriend — explained that he struggled to handle ‘drunk people’ who would get up in his personal space after enjoying his performance in Superbad.
‘You know, if people are drunk, and they recognize you, and they’re very enthusiastic, but it can be kind of toxic too,’ he said.
He explained that intoxicated people would often want to touch him, even when he didn’t want that.
‘When you’re a kid, people also feel they can kind of grab you — they’re not that respectful of you or your physical space,’ the Barbie actor explained.
‘I didn’t know how to respectfully establish my own boundaries,’ he said of his 19-year-old self.
He recounted feeling like he had made a terrible ‘mistake’ when he went out to a bar to celebrate Superbad’s opening weekend.
‘It was like a burning feeling the whole time, just like everybody was so aware of me,’ he recalled.
Part of his initial recalibration involved auditioning for smaller films and independent productions, though he certainly hasn’t given up big-budget fare for good, as evidenced by his role in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie film.
‘There was a point where I wanted to stop taking jobs that would make me more famous,’ he admitted.
The Arrested Development actor even turned down an offer to host Saturday Night Live, which he said was unwelcome news for his agents.
‘I was kind of having a bit of a crisis … I was really not enjoying the level of heat,’ he said.
Michael admitted, ‘I really didn’t know if I was going to keep being an actor.’
However, three years after Superbad made him a star, he played the title character in Edgar Wright’s action-comedy Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which he credits with helping him adjust to his fame.
Too close: One of his biggest issues was drunk people accosting him. ‘When you’re a kid, people also feel they can kind of grab you — they’re not that respectful of you or your physical space,’ the Barbie actor explained; still from Superbad
Healthy balance: He focused on smaller projects and plays, but Cera has now found a balance with bigger-budget fare like Barbie, which hits theaters on July 21; seen July 9 in LA
‘I was already committed to it, and went and did it, and obviously feel so grateful that that happened,’ he said.
Cera still got a taste of smaller projects when he and his Scott Pilgrim costar (and future Succession star ) Kieran Culkin starred together with Tavi Gevinson in a Broadway revival of the Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea) play This Is Our Youth, which was a hit with critics.
Adapting to a mix of large and small projects was about finding a way that he could ‘enjoy my day-to-day life, and the world that I’ve created for myself.’
Michael’s fans can see him on screen again when the Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling–starring film Barbie hits theaters on July 21.