Nerd Culture

Geek Beat: Screw Love! Q&A with the Star of Paper Heart

Every time Valentine's Day rolls around, there's one dissenter in the bunch. Maybe he's bitter over being dumped for a jock. Maybe she's done with love after a series of cheating asshole boyfriends. Or, maybe they just plain old don't believe in love. Not familial love or that "I love you, man" kind of friendship, but true love. Can't live without you love. Written in the stars love. Romeo and Juliet (minus the tragic double suicide part) love. Ugh. Feel that lunchtime burrito coming up a little yet?

Comedienne/writer/actress Charlyne Yi of Knocked Up and The Doo-Doo Show didn't believe in that mushy "true love" stuff either. So she did what any self-respecting Hollywood type would do: she pitched a documentary about love. The idea blossomed into an entirely new breed of film, Paper Heart, which combines documentary, scripted rom-com and improv. Paper Heart is adorably cute, funny and smart -- much like Ms. Yi. And...wait for it, wait for it... features "Geeky Dreamboat" Michael Cera as Yi's love interest.

We caught up with Yi and director Nick Jasenovec at the CrackerJax amusement park this week, promoting Paper Heart in advance of the August 7 release date. Yi was as adorable in real life as she is on the big screen, with the same quirky, self-deprecating humor and nervous ear-to-ear grin. Only in real life, this self-proclaimed tomboy was wearing a dress. 

"I heard it was hot here and I told my friend, 'You're so lucky you're a girl. You can wear a dress,'" quips Yi. "She said, 'you're a girl too.' Oh, wait. I am!" 

Don't miss more of Charlyne and Nick's funny business! Full interview after the jump...   

Is it just romantic love that you don't understand, or is it all love -- even with family and friends?

Charlyne Yi: It's just romantic love. With strangers. How do you go from meeting a stranger to liking them to loving them actually to the point like your family, where despite all their bad qualities you still want to be around them? I don't get that.

Are you dating Michael Cera in real life?

Charlyne: I'm not sure myself! I'm still trying to figure that out. If you find out, let me know.

Nick Jasenovec: It felt like you were when we were shooting, but no. We're all friends.

So, Michael Cera wasn't chosen because you were already dating him? Everyone we saw the movie with was convinced you two were together.

Charlyne: No, we cast him, We thought of other people but he was our top choice.

Nick: He just has this quality that was perfect for the movie. A lot of people his age don't have that. Otherwise, it would've been Charlyne Yi and Zack Efron! 

If you could've had a huge budget for Paper Heart, would you have preferred that?

Nick: It would've been nice to have more money. We had to stay in bad hotels, with blood on the floor and underwear underneath one of the beds...When we asked "is there food around here," the hotel clerk at one place said "I wouldn't leave your room if I were you." 

But I don't know. It was such a great movie because everyone was pouring everything they had into it.

Have the hotels gotten better now?

Charlyne: Yeah, this one is crazy! There's a golf course!

Nick: And the view from my balcony is insane!

Paper Heart Writer/Director Nick Jasenovec and Writer/Star Charlyne Yi.

Do you have any geeky hobbies?


Nick: I play a lot of video games. I'm a big Nintendo fan, but I also play XBox. I take it too seriously.

Charlyne: I heard him cussing one time when I was coming up the stairs and I thought he was fighting with someone. He was playing a game!

Wow. What game?

Nick: Call of Duty. I get too emotional. It's like really going to war! It really and death!

What about you, Charlyne? Any geeky hobbies?

Charlyne: I'm like an old man. I like taking naps. I like going on walks. I want to look at a waterfall and just think about my life.

You must like movies. What are your favorites?

Charlyne: Peggy Sue Got Married, Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind], Far and Away, It Happened One Night. I like Little Mermaid a lot. 

Courtesy of Overture Films
Charlyne gets roped into trying on wedding dresses after interviewing the minister at a Vegas wedding chapel.

A lot of actors don't like to watch themselves on camera. Charlyne, have you seen the final film?

Charlyne: I was there the whole time we edited, so I've seen the movie over 150 times.

Nick: We're not allowed to watch it anymore because we hate it so much now!

Charlyne: I hate watching myself...I hate myself.

Nick: That's the first step, admitting that! Then you can love yourself. Once you love yourself, then you can love someone else!

That's very wise! Speaking of self-love and self-loathing, tell us a little about the infamous wedding dress scene.

Nick: That whole day was kind of a blur.

Charlyne: I remember I was interviewing the woman in the convertible who ran the chapel and she said "you want to try on wedding dresses?"

Nick: Then you were in the changing room and the woman still had her microphone on and she was yelling, "take off your bra. Take off your bra!"

Charlyne: And my armpits were like super hairy, like 3 inches long!!

Nick: That's the one time when we were making the movie I felt like we really invaded your personal space.