You just turned 24! Any sign of a quarter-life crisis? “Every day. Every day I am on the verge of a mid-life crisis. [Laughs] No, I had a great birthday. I chilled with my wife [actress Melissa Benoist]. We went and saw a movie, saw some friends, had a good breakfast.”
You play Hailee Steinfeld’s teenage brother in your new movie [The Edge of Seventeen, a quirky coming-of-age story about how two siblings cope after the sudden death of their father]. Is it weird playing a high-school kid at this age? “I was in a rush to grow up when I was younger: I was holding down a job, I was saving money to move out and I graduated a year early from high school because I just wanted to be an adult already. I moved to L.A. from Miami. Looking back, I think I would have liked to be more involved with drama or paid more attention in English when we were reading Pygmalion or something. I would have valued those moments more, so it’s kind of cool to play with it a bit.”
Your character, Darian, is a jocky, popular guy. Was that your own experience?
“I was by no means ‘the man’ in high school. I wrestled for a bit, but I was mostly a theatre nerd.”
You played a similar character on Glee. How do you bring something new to this guy? “I do a stream-of-consciousness exer-cise every time I have a job. So, I was on my computer and venting to myself as the character, digging into his memories—like being at that soccer game, thinking my dad is going to be there and remembering, and when everyone’s getting orange slices, I’m in the bathroom having a moment. It helps me get into a character and figure out how he’s different.”
Do you keep those exercises? “I do. You can’t read them!”
You should publish them, like a collection of short stories. “I never thought of that. Thank you!”
We’ll take 10 percent. Finally, we have to ask…are you related to those Jenners? “No! [Laughs] My dad is Rick Jenner, and he hasn’t told me that we’re related to them. Two things have happened to me since I was a kid. Either they’d say ‘Jennifer Blake’ during roll call and I was like ‘No, it’s Blake Jenner’ and then
everybody would laugh, or they would ask the Bruce Jenner question. I didn’t know who he was. When I was like six years old and I thought he could be an uncle, I was like, ‘I’ll go home and ask.’”
The Edge of Seventeen is in theatres on November 18.
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