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From the Premiere of "The Girl Next Door"

Paul Dano (‘Klitz’) and Chris Marquette (‘Eli’) play Emile Hirsch’s best friends in the R-rated coming-of-age comedy, “The Girl Next Door.” Catching up with the two at the movie’s World Premiere, I had the chance to find out about life on the set and how “The Girl Next Door” compares to other teen comedies of the past.


Paul, you’ve worked in another movie with Emile Hirsch. Did that make it easier to play best friends onscreen?
PAUL DANO – Emile and I are really good buddies and actually Chris and I worked together when we were like 12 on Broadway. He used to do a lot of theater and that’s how I got started in New York.

Did that help you two play good friends?
PAUL DANO – We haven’t seen each other in so long.

CHRIS MARQUETTE – We’re still good friends. The three of us are pretty good friends.

Did the three of you do anything off the set to help you bond?
CHRIS MARQUETTE – We went to the YMCA gym.

PAUL DANO – (Laughing) Oh God! The first thing Emile wanted to do was go work out. We went to the YMCA and I just sat there.

CHRIS MARQUETTE – We kind of tried to do something for about a second - lift some weights - but there were these really buff guys sitting around.

PAUL DANO– But we all got along so well together it wasn’t like we had to get to know each other.

What was the point of working out at the gym?
CHRIS MARQUETTE – I don’t know (laughing). You have to ask Emile that.

PAUL DANO – Yeah, ask Emile. It’s not explainable (laughing).

You get the script and it’s about a porn star and there are scenes that take place at a porn convention. What did you see in the script that sold you on the movie?
PAUL DANO – It’s a good part in a good movie. It’s a funny movie and I think people are going to like it – and the porn element is great. And kids are going to love it and all my college buddies are going to love it.

CHRIS MARQUETTE – The 12 year olds are going to love it (laughing).

But it’s rated R.
CHRIS MARQUETTE – No, no 12 year olds. It has to be rated R.

PAUL DANO – But it by no means pushes a huge limit on raunchiness. I don’t think anyone is going to get offended or disgusted. It’s not things that haven’t been said before, to an extent, but it is really new and innovative.

Chris, your character is totally obsessed with sex. Could you relate to that?
CHRIS MARQUETTE – Not really… No, I could. What I did was I borrowed Paul’s porn collection and sort of got into the spirit of getting to know Jenna Jamison and getting to know…

PAUL DANO – Are you ever going to give that back?

CHRIS MARQUETTE – See, everything part I go on, I sort of take a little of that person with me so I’ve got to keep them. Sorry.

This movie has been compared a lot to “Risky Business.” Is that a fair comparison?
PAUL DANO – Yeah, I think it is.

CHRIS MARQUETTE – I think with the idea in mind that it’s a 90’s version. It’s not a direct remake or a direct spin-off. Really only the basic premise to “Risky Business” that is similar is that he falls in love with a call girl. Tom Cruise did, and Emile falls in love with a porn star. That’s pretty much the big thing, the romantic/funny story. It’s got those characters and Paul and I kind of play like the Curtis Armstrong type of character.

PAUL DANO – All you can do is compare the two movies and that’s good. “Risky Business” was a great movie to be compared to.

Will they be talking about this movie in 20 years, like we still talk about “Risky Business?”
CHRIS MARQUETTE – My own personal opinion, I would love it if they did but I just think this is going to be one of those comedies that people are going to buy, that everybody is going to get a DVD of and keep watching it. That would be great, but I don’t know.

Are we going to see a lot of extra scenes on the DVD?

PAUL DANO – There should be some good bonus stuff on there – all the outtakes and stuff. That should be fun.

While promoting his role in the sexy comedy "The Girl Next Door," Paul Dano provided a little insight into one of his upcoming movies, "Rose and the Snake." Written and directed by Rebecca Miller, "Rose and the Snake" marks the first time Miller has worked with her husband, critically acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

You recently finished filming “Rose and the Snake." Can you describe your experience working with Daniel-Day Lewis?
It was incredible. I mean, Daniel Day-Lewis and I were enemies in the movie. I’m the ‘snake’ and his daughter Rose is the ‘rose.’ You couldn’t get any more opposite from the character I play in ["The Girl Next Door"] than the one I play in that. I’m the villain, the snake, sleazy and like this sexual creature. There were days when we wouldn’t even look at each other until the end of the day because we were intense. I got into that; it was great. It would help me, too. You know, I look up to him. Before I even auditioned for the movie I did so it was incredible.

Is it hard to put that character aside?
Yes. Actually I found I’ve never gotten into a character that much because I don’t think I’ve ever played not like me that much. My friends would tell me when I talked to them that I sounded different. I really do think the character invaded me a lot more than anything I have before. I think it was good, I think it’s great for the movie. You know I got my hair cut for the film – my hair was real long – and all of a sudden I saw myself in the mirror and I was like, “Holy shit.”

Is that a little scary?
Oh yeah, it is scary. I’m sure my girlfriend didn’t appreciate it when I was away filming with this different character inside my head the whole time. Honestly, you want to do such a great job with those people, you are always thinking about it - and that’s another thing of why it was always in my head. And the costume was very not comfortable, real tight shirts that were cut off and tight jeans and white boots. While I was on set, that was me. I wasn’t self-conscious at all. I let all my scrawniness [out].

I was in to it. It was a really great experience.

What film would you compare it to?
Oh wow. You know, I really don’t know what I’d compare it to. I just really think it’s going to be a great drama. I think there’s some really great acting in it. I think the best thing for me, after a movie like [“The Girl Next Door”] comes out, not only is the character an exact polar opposite, it’s an exact opposite type of movie, too – and has a different audience, and difference press, and different everything. With a couple of other things that I’ve done recently – “Taking Lives” is coming up and I’ve got a small part in that – and a couple of “Sopranos” episodes, one from last season and one this season, I’ve just kind of covered myself so that I can play all different types of characters.

This is my first time in a comedy and I’m not a comedic-type of actor. My first film was a drama and that’s what I’m used to. This is the first film a lot of people will see me in so they’re going to think I’m this kind of actor. Hopefully they’ll like the other films.

Is there anything you want to progress to at this point? Any genre that really interests you?
Yeah, I want the keep growing and keep doing interesting, different characters. I don’t think I’ll probably do another movie like this any time soon – at least for a while.

Because you might get typecast in teen comedies?
You do. Luckily I’ve got other stuff now that I’ve done. I’m doing more independent films. I really love the independent scene. That’s how I got started. I did “L.I.E.” and it went so great for me, I won the Independent Spirit Award and it won several other awards. It blew my mind and opened up [opportunities]. I didn’t even know about independent films before that. It just opened up the whole world of it to me. You also do have to make a living at some point. But I don’t really care, I’m only 19 and I don’t really care about making a shitload of money yet.