Me and Earl and the Dying Girl hits theaters today, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Starring Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, and Olivia Cooke as Greg, Earl, and Rachel (a.k.a. the dying girl), it's funny, sweet, charming — and completely devastating. Here are a few things you should know about the film.
1. It's based on a book of the same name, written in 2012 by Jesse Andrews. He also wrote the screenplay — it was his first!
"I had no experience working with a camera or anything like that," he said during a recent press junket, "So it was much more important to me to convey the tone and the emotional dynamics of a scene than to legislate the movement of the camera."
2. Greg's house in the film is the same house Andrews' grew up in as a child.
"Greg's bedroom is the one that's pretty different from the one that I had," said Andrews, "just because my room was decorated by me, a 15-year-old slobby kid with no aesthetic sense at all, and Greg's room was decorated by Jerry Sullivan, a professional production designer."
3. There are a number of short films that Greg and Earl have made over the years, sort of homages to movies they grew up watching.
Some of their titles include:
Rosemary's Baby Carrots
Eyes Wide Butt
A Sockwork Orange
2:48 PM Cowboy
They didn't all make it into the film, but we can most likely expect them on the DVD's extra features.
4. All the exotic food Cyler (here in his first feature film role) and (to a lesser extent) Mann had to eat in the film was real.
"I thought my tongue was just gonna hop out my mouth, walk off, take a break, get him some exercise," said Cyler, adding that the pâté ended up being the worst for him. "And Alfonso's like, he loves to get shots from this angle and that angle, you know, and he wants it real each time, so I had to eat it over and over."
Talk about a warm welcome to the world of filmmaking...
Mann, meanwhile, had an... interesting experience with some pig's feet.
"One take I actually took a bite of it, just to see what it was like, and this like, pus, sort of came out of it," he said. "That was the end of that."
5. This is Olivia Cooke's first major film that doesn't fall into the horror or thriller genre — and the first she's had to make a drastic change to her appearance for.
"It's bizarre how much you realize how important it is when it's gone," she said of her hair, which she opted to shave off rather than sport a bald cap, adding with a laugh that she "only cried once."