The two sides of ‘Revolt’s’ Michael Cera 

Rumors of Michael Cera’s retirement, once spread by the Brampton, Ontario, native himself, have been greatly exaggerated.

Contrary to a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he suggested his infatuation with acting had cooled to the point of ambivalence, Cera —  who stars in the coming-of-age comedy “Youth in Revolt” opening Friday —  won’t be turning out the lights on one of Hollywood’s brightest young careers.

“I’m not sure what I was thinking,” says Cera, 21, seemingly as befuddled as his characters tend to be. “I guess I was feeling that way at the time, but not now. I love working, and I’d like to keep doing it.”

In “Revolt,” director Miguel Arteta’s adaptation of the popular C. D. Payne novel, Cera plays Nick Twisp, a sex-obsessed teenager eager to shed his saintly reputation and, in a perfect world, his virginity.

The girl of his dreams, played by newcomer Portia Doubleday, wants a bad boy. Nick, taking cues from his devilish alter ego Francois (also Cera), molds himself into the rebel she craves.

Was Cera, who usually plays shy, sensitive types, the right choice to play a character so gleefully delinquent? Payne thinks so.

“Michael has wanted to play Nick for at least five years, and I always thought he’d be terrific,” says the author, 60. “This is a movie that took forever to make, and he stuck with it. Both the principals are great — he’s very funny, and Portia embodies her character perfectly.”

According to Cera, playing Nick came naturally because his story has universal appeal, especially to a fellow teenager. But he’s equally fond of Francois, who allowed the actor to embrace his baser instincts.

“I  was around the age of the main character when I read the book,” he says. “Anyone who was ever a teenager could relate to Nick, especially if you had a romantic interest that somehow drove you crazy.

“With Francois, it was fun to say really gross things and smoke. That was different for me. But I really like both characters because I felt a connection with them.”

Next on the agenda for Cera: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” a fantastical comedy from “Shaun of the Dead” director Edgar Wright, tentatively slated for summer release. After that, your guess is as good as his.

“I know there’s a script for an ‘Arrested Development’ movie, but beyond that I have no idea what’s going on,” Cera says, referring to his departed Fox comedy series. “I just know I’ll be doing it, and that’s exciting enough.”

Youth in Revolt

Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Justin Long
Written by Gustin Nash
Directed by Miguel Arteta
Rated R
Running time 1 hour 30 minutes

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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