Michael Cera
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Michael Cera

Michael Cera
Michael Cera 2012 (Cropped).jpg
Cera in 2012
Born
Michael Austin Cera

(1988-06-07) June 7, 1988 (age 32)
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Occupation
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • producer
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active1999-present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • keyboard
  • bass
  • drums
  • percussion
Websitemichaelceramusic.bandcamp.com

Michael Austin Cera (; Italian: ['t?e:ra]; born June 7, 1988)[1] is a Canadian actor, comedian, producer, singer, and songwriter. He started his career as a child actor, portraying a young Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002). He is known for his role as George Michael Bluth on the sitcom Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013, 2018-2019) and for his film roles as Evan in Superbad (2007), Paulie Bleeker in Juno (2007), Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), and a fictional version of himself in This Is the End (2013), as well as the voices of Dick Grayson / Robin in The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Barry (a deformed sausage) in Sausage Party (2016), and Sal Viscuso, the voice behind the announcements in Childrens Hospital.

Cera made his Broadway debut in the 2014 production of Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth. For his performance in the 2018 production of Lonergan's Lobby Hero, Cera was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. Cera most recently starred in the revival of Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery.

In addition to acting, Cera is a musician, having released his debut album True That in 2014. Previously, Cera has also acted as the touring bassist for indie rock supergroup Mister Heavenly.

Early life

Cera was born in Brampton, Ontario. He is the son of Linda (née Cockman) and Luigi Cera, a technician. His father is Sicilian,[2] and his mother has Irish, Dutch, Scottish, and English ancestry.[3][4] His parents both worked for Xerox.[5] Cera has an elder sister, Jordan, and a younger sister, Molly. He became interested in acting after viewing Ghostbusters repeatedly when sick with the chicken pox at the age of three.[6] He memorized all the dialogue and idolized Bill Murray.[7] He enrolled in The Second City, Toronto, and took improvisation classes.[7]

Cera attended Conestoga Public School, Robert H. Lagerquist Senior Public School and Heart Lake Secondary School until grade nine, but then completed school online through grade 12.[8][9]

Career

1999-2008: Child acting and breakthrough

His first role was an unpaid appearance in a Tim Hortons summer camp commercial.[8][9][10] That appearance eventually landed him a position in a Pillsbury commercial in which he poked the Pillsbury Doughboy, his first role with lines.[11] He found not being cast in commercials after auditioning "really disheartening" but, in 1999, Cera was cast as Larrabe Hicks in the Canadian children's show I Was a Sixth Grade Alien, which ran for two seasons.[12] That year, he also appeared in the television films What Katy Did and Switching Goals starring the Olsen twins.[13] Cera then made his theatrical film debut in the science fiction film Frequency (2000) as the son of Noah Emmerich's character.[13] Cera also appeared in the films Steal This Movie! and Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream in 2000, the latter of which featured Cera in his first leading role and was presented in IMAX theaters.[14][15] Cera appeared in several television films in 2001 including My Louisiana Sky and The Familiar Stranger and also began voicing Josh Spitz in the animated series Braceface, continuing to do so until 2004.[13] In 2002, Cera played the young Chuck Barris (played by Sam Rockwell) in the George Clooney-directed film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.[16] He provided the voice for Brother Bear - an anthropomorphic bear - in the 2003 The Berenstain Bears animated series, which aired for three seasons.[15]

"Arrested Development never felt safe. Even the first season, we did thirteen episodes, and we thought we'd never do a back nine. So I never thought in a million years we'd get to make three seasons. I was happy we got that far. I thought it was really good, and I'm really proud of it. I don't think we made a bad episode."

--Michael Cera, Esquire (2009)[11]

Following a role in the critically panned unaired Fox pilot The Grubbs in 2002,[17][18] Cera successfully auditioned for a part in another Fox sitcom, Arrested Development, which began airing in November 2003.[18] The show follows the formerly wealthy and dysfunctional Bluth family, with Cera playing George Michael Bluth, the teenage son of Jason Bateman's character Michael Bluth.[19] After three seasons, Fox canceled the series in 2006 due to low viewership despite critical acclaim.[20] In 2006, he created and starred in a parody of Impossible is Nothing, a video résumé created by Aleksey Vayner.[21] Cera and his Arrested Development co-star Alia Shawkat guest starred as a pair of college students in the teen noir drama Veronica Mars in the episode "The Rapes of Graff" in 2006.[22] Along with best friend Clark Duke, Cera wrote and starred in a series of short videos released on their website.[18] The idea came from Duke, who was enrolled at Loyola Marymount University and did it for his film school studies.[23] In 2007, they signed a deal with CBS Television to write, produce, direct, and act in a short-form comedy series entitled Clark and Michael. The show featured guest stars such as David Cross, Andy Richter and Patton Oswalt, and was distributed via CBS's internet channel, CBS Innertube.[24]

Cera in 2007

In May 2007, Cera appeared in a staged comedy video that shows him being fired from the lead role of the film Knocked Up after belittling and arguing with its director Judd Apatow, in a scene that mocks the David O. Russell blow up on the set of I Heart Huckabees.[18] Cera then starred in the Apatow-produced teen comedy Superbad alongside Jonah Hill. Their characters in the film - two virgin teenagers about to graduate from high school whose party plans go awry - were based on its writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.[25]Superbad was released in cinemas in August 2007, topping the US box office for two weeks in a row.[26] Cera's performance was met with critical acclaim, with The Atlantic opining that the film "belongs to Michael Cera" for capturing "teenage sexual abashment as indelibly as he did in the role of George Michael",[27] while The New York Times felt he was "excellent" and CNN praised Cera and Hill for playing "off each other beautifully".[28][29]

In November 2007, Cera hosted an untelevised live staged version of Saturday Night Live, not broadcast due to the then-ongoing 2007 Writers Guild of America Strike.[30][31] In his second film of 2007, Cera co-starred in Juno as Paulie Bleeker, a teenager who impregnates his long-time school friend Juno (played by Ellen Page).[32] For Superbad and Juno, Cera won Breakthrough Artist in the Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2007 and was included in Entertainment Weekly's 30 Under 30 list in February 2008.[33][34] Cera starred alongside Kat Dennings in the romantic comedy-drama Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), in which they played two strangers who bond over their shared love of a band and try to find their secret show.[35] He then starred in the comedy Extreme Movie (2008), which was composed of vignettes focusing on teen sex.[36] Cera held a recurring role on the comedy series Childrens Hospital from 2008 to 2016 as Sal Viscuso, a hospital staffer who is only ever heard through an intercom.[37]

2009-2013: Varied success and stage debut

Cera dressed as Captain America to promote Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con

Cera played a fictionalized version of himself in the independent romantic comedy Paper Heart (2009), which followed the fictional relationship between Cera and the film's writer Charlyne Yi, also playing herself. Cera and Yi composed the film's score together.[38] Cera then starred opposite Jack Black in the comedy Year One, set during the Stone Age. The film, directed by Harold Ramis, was poorly received, although Time magazine critic Mary Pols felt Cera's performance saved the film from being a "catastrophe".[39] In his final film of 2009, Cera starred in Youth in Revolt, an adaptation of the eponymous novel. He played a shy teenager named Nick Twisp who creates a destructive alter ego, François Dillinger, after becoming smitten with a girl, who is played by Portia Doubleday.[18][40] Cera's first published short story, "Pinecone", appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly thirtieth issue.[41] Cera was cast as Scott Pilgrim in the film adaptation of the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley after the film's director Edgar Wright had seen Arrested Development and needed an actor "audiences will still follow even when the character is being a bit of an ass".[42] The film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, follows Pilgrim, a musician who must battle the seven evil exes of his girlfriend Ramona (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). It was released in cinemas in August 2010, whereupon it became a box office bomb after just grossing $47.7 million against a production budget of $85-90 million.[43][44]

Cera made a guest appearance in "The Daughter Also Rises", a 2012 episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons as the voice of Nick, a love interest to Lisa Simpson.[45] Cera made his theater debut in a production of Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth in a two-week run during March 2012 at the Sydney Opera House. The play also featured his Scott Pilgrim co-star Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson.[46] A Broadway production at the Cort Theater opened in September 2014 and closed in January 2015. The New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley praised Cera for achieving "something remarkable": "the sense of an amorphous being assuming and losing shape in the course of roughly 12 hours".[47] Also in 2012, Cera played a supporting role in the drama The End of Love and appeared in the short film The Immigrant.[48][49]Arrested Development was revived for a fourth season in 2012 by Netflix, with Cera reprising his role as George Michael. Cera worked in the writer's room and served as a consulting producer during its production.[50] The season was released in May 2013.[51]

Cera collaborated with Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva on two films in 2013 - Magic Magic and Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus - both of which were filmed in Chile and premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.[52] He spent "five hours a day learning Spanish" for Magic Magic.[53] Cera was featured most prominently in Crystal Fairy, in which he starred as a self-absorbed man travelling Chile with a woman named "Crystal Fairy" (played by Gaby Hoffmann) while bearing a cactus.[52] Along with Reggie Watts, Tim & Eric, and Sarah Silverman, Cera created the web-based comedy YouTube channel Jash in March 2013, where he has posted short films which he directs and/or stars in.[54][55] These films include the comedy-drama Gregory Go Boom (2013), in which Cera played a paraplegic man, and his directorial debut Brazzaville Teen-Ager (2013), co-starring Charles Grodin as his sick father.[56][57] He played an exaggerated version of himself in the apocalyptic comedy film This Is the End, which was released in summer of 2013 and featured his Superbad co-stars Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen.[58] Throughout 2013, Cera also appeared on Burning Love, a web spoof of reality dating competition shows,[59] and on an episode of Drunk History as John Endecott. Cera had previously played Alexander Hamilton in a comedic retelling of Hamilton's duel with Aaron Burr on the show's first episode as a web series in 2008 before it was adapted into a television show.[60]

2014-present

Cera appeared with his Arrested Development co-star David Cross' 2014 film Hits, playing a marijuana dealer.[61] He also co-starred alongside John Hawkes and Sally Hawkins in Charlie Kaufman's television pilot How & Why, which was rejected by FX.[62] After a brief, "menacing" appearance in the drama Entertainment (2015),[63] Cera appeared in the prequel to the 2001 comedy film Wet Hot American Summer, the comedy series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and in the Christmas musical comedy film A Very Murray Christmas as Bill Murray's fictional talent agent.[64] Cera then voiced a hot dog trying to escape his fate in a supermarket in the animated comedy Sausage Party (2016).[65]

In 2015, Cera made a cameo on Louis C.K.'s Louie on FX, in the season five episode "Sleepover" alongside Glenn Close, John Lithgow, and Matthew Broderick.[66]

Cera had five film releases in 2017, the first of which was the animated superhero comedy The Lego Batman Movie, which featured Cera as the voice of the Batman's sidekick Robin.[65] He then played a supporting role as a sleazy car salesman in the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover and co-starred in the comedy-drama Lemon as an actor with a "wedge of hair that makes him look like Frédéric Chopin crossed with Eraserhead", as described by Variety critic Owen Gleiberman.[67][68] Cera starred opposite Abbi Jacobson in the drama Person to Person, focusing on the struggles of different people over the course of one day in New York City and featured Cera and Jacobson as a pair of crime reporters investigating a possible murder.[69] In his final film of the year, Aaron Sorkin's crime drama Molly's Game, Cera played a celebrity known only as Player X who participates in a high-stakes underground poker empire run by Molly Bloom (played by Jessica Chastain). Cera's fictional character in the film was a composite character of real-life celebrity poker players Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck.[70]

A "giant fan" of director David Lynch,[65] Cera made a guest appearance in the 2017 revival of Lynch and Mark Frost's television show Twin Peaks in the show's fourth episode, as Wally "Brando" Brennan, the son of Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan and Lucy Brennan.[71] The appearance contained several references to the work of actor Marlon Brando as Wally shares the same birthday and is nicknamed after Brando.[71]

Cera returned to the stage in March 2018, starring in a second Kenneth Lonergan production, Lobby Hero, at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway. The play also stars Chris Evans, Brian Tyree Henry and Bel Powley.[72] Cera and Henry are both nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play at the 72nd Tony Awards.[73]

Cera appeared onstage again in October 2018, starring in the third Kenneth Lonergan production, this time a revival of The Waverly Gallery at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway. The play also starred Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, and Joan Allen.[74]

Cera co-starred in the 2018 drama Gloria Bell, with Julianne Moore as the title character.[75] Cera's upcoming projects include the animated comedy Blazing Samurai about a dog who wishes to become a samurai.[76] Cera returned to his role as George Michael in the fifth season of Arrested Development in 2018.[77]

Music

Cera performing in 2011

In 2010, Cera contributed mandolin and backing vocals to the Weezer song "Hang On" from their album Hurley.[78] Cera has also established himself as the touring bass player in Mister Heavenly, an indie rock band originating in the American northwest,[79] and is a member of the band The Long Goodbye, along with Clark Duke.[80] Cera also played bass and sang back up during songs in both Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. He released his full-length debut album True That on August 8, 2014, through his official Bandcamp page.[81][82] The album features 19 original tracks, a cover of Roderick Falconer's "Play It Again" as well as a cover of Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons."[83]

In early 2015, Canadian musician Alden Penner released "Meditate", a track from his upcoming EP Canada in Space, which features Cera. Penner subsequently announced that the EP would be released on June 29, 2015 on City Slang records, as well as a European tour of the UK, Netherlands, France, and Germany, which featured Cera as both co-headliner and member of Penner's backing band.[84][85] The song "Best I Can" from the film Dina, written and performed by Cera and featuring Sharon Van Etten, was unsuccessfully nominated for Best Song In A Documentary at the 2017 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.[86]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Frequency Gordy Hersch Jr. (Age 10)
Steal This Movie! America Hoffman (Age 7-8)
Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream Young Zac
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Chuck Barris (Age 8-11)
2007 Superbad Evan
Juno Paulie Bleeker
2008 Extreme Movie Fred
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Nick O'Leary
2009 Paper Heart Himself
Year One Oh
Youth in Revolt Nick Twisp / François Dillinger
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation Scott Pilgrim (voice) Short film
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Scott Pilgrim
2012 The End of Love Michael
The Immigrant Michael Short film
2013 Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus Jamie
Magic Magic Brink Also executive producer
Brazzaville Teen-Ager Gunther Short film; also director and writer
Failure Man Short film; also director and writer
This Is the End Himself
Gregory Go Boom Gregory Short film
Bitch Himself Short film; also director and writer
2014 Hits Bennie
2015 Entertainment Tommy
That Dog Tim Short film
A Very Murray Christmas Jackie the Talent Agent
2016 Sausage Party Barry (voice)
Man Rots from the Head Sydney Ward Short film
2017 Person to Person Phil
Lemon Alex
The Lego Batman Movie Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin (voice)
How to Be a Latin Lover Remy
Cooking with Afred Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin (voice) Short film
Molly's Game Player X
2018 Tyrel Alan
Spivak Robby LeBeau
Gloria Bell Peter
2021 Blazing Samurai Hank (voice) Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Twice in a Lifetime Skateboarder #2 Episode: "The Blame Game"
1999-2001 I Was a Sixth Grade Alien Larrabe Hicks 44 episodes
1999 Noddy Butch Episode: "Big Bullies"
Switching Goals Taylor Television film
What Katy Did Dorry Television film
2000 La Femme Nikita Jerome Episode: "He Came from Four"
2001 George Shrinks Cadwell Boy Episode: "Speed Shrinks"
2000 Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series Benjamin Episode: "The Best Partner"
2001-2004 Braceface Josh Spitz Voice; 40 episodes
2001 Doc Max 2 episodes
The Ripping Friends Boy Boy/Young Boy Voice; 2 episodes
Stolen Miracle Brandon McKinley Television film
My Louisiana Sky Jesse Wade Thompson Television film
The Familiar Stranger Young Ted Welsh Television film
Walter and Henry Crying Kid Television film
2003-2004 The Berenstain Bears Brother Bear Voice; 40 episodes
2003 Rolie Polie Olie Little Gizmo Voice; 4 episodes
Pecola Robbie Rabbit Voice; 26 episodes
2003-2006
2013
2018-2019
Arrested Development George Michael Bluth 80 episodes
Producer (season 4 & 5)
2005 Wayside Todd Voice; Episode: "Pilot"
2006 Veronica Mars Dean Rudolph Episode: "The Rapes of Graff"
Tom Goes to the Mayor Scrotch Voice; Episode: "Undercover"
2007 Clark and Michael Mikey Cera Also co-creator, director, writer and producer
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Jamie Stevens Episode: "Cats"
2008-2016 Childrens Hospital Sal Viscuso Voice; 63 episodes
2012 The Simpsons Nick Voice; Episode: "The Daughter Also Rises"
2012, 2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself 2 episodes
2013 Arcade Fire in Here Comes the Night Time Spanish Bartender Television special
Burning Love Wally 6 episodes
2013-2016 Drunk History Various roles 3 episodes
2014 Saturday Night Live Surrogate Episode: "Jonah Hill/Bastille"
How and Why Mendelsohn Pilot
2015 Louie Young Man Episode: "Sleepover"
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Jim Stansel 3 episodes
2017 Twin Peaks Wally Brando Episode: "Part 4"
2018 The Shivering Truth Delmer Voice; Episode: "Chaos Beknownst"
2019 Weird City Tawny Episode: "A Family"

Stage

Discography

Studio albums

Soundtrack

Bibliography

  • Cera, Michael (November 25, 2013). "My man Jeremy". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. 89 (38): 62-67.

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
2002 My Louisiana Sky Young Artist Award Supporting Young Actor - Television Nominated
2004 Arrested Development TV Land Award TV Land Future Classic Award Won
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2006 Nominated
2007 Juno Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Performer Won
Austin Film Critics Association Breakthrough Artist Award Won
Superbad Won
2008 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Young Performer Nominated
Juno Nominated
Best Acting Ensamble Nominated
Superbad Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Performance Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Juno Best Kiss Nominated
Best Male Performance Nominated
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Satellite Awards Best Actor: Comedy or Musical Nominated
Superbad Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout: Male Nominated
Juno Best Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout: Male Nominated
Himself Choice Comedian Nominated
2009 BAFTA Rising Star Award Nominated
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Music/Dance Nominated
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Satellite Awards Best Actor: Comedy or Musical Won
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action Nominated
2014 Arrested Development Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2018 Lobby Hero Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominated

See also

References

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