Michael Angarano on ‘Homework’ and ‘Red State’

A talk with Michael Angarano about his two films at SXSW.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Michael Angarano on 'Homework' and 'Red State'

Kevin Smith is taking Red State on tour in the bold new strategy he announced at Sundance. I actually got to interview one of his stars for a different movie. Homework set up interviews with Michael Angarano, because of course Red State wasn’t doing any press. Angarano was happy to talk about both films though. In Homework he plays an artist mentoring a high school senior. In Red State he plays a teen trapped by religious killer Abin Cooper.


CraveOnline: How different is the Sundance experience for each film? 

Michael Angarano: It’s really exciting to be at Sundance and have the movie that you’re in be the movie that people are buzzing about. Then after that crazy experience, I found out that Homework was bought by Fox Searchlight which is like hitting a home run in the World Series or something because it’s such a big deal to have your movie at Sundance and then for the movie to be good and then for the movie to get bought that day. You hear things like that and that’s kind of the best case scenario so for it to actually happen to this little movie that we just really enjoyed working on and loved collaborating with, it was very, very exciting. I don’t think you could expect anything better than that.


CraveOnline: Is Homework your first post-grad role? 

Michael Angarano: Yeah, I guess you could say that. I did a movie called Ceremony that was at Toronto that I play a 23-year-old guy but Homework was the first time that I got to play somebody in his mid-20s. It’s a much more mature role and that’s definitely what intrigued me about it this time reading it. I actually read it years ago when I was circling around the industry I guess you could say and I read it for Freddie’s role.


CraveOnline: He ends up being the romantic competition, but was it important he not be the typical Hollywood D-bag? 

Michael Angarano: It’s such a good script because it’s the duality of both that, in general he could be perceived as somebody who’s a douche bag or you truly understand his motives and where he’s coming from. He’s somebody who’s obviously going through something that Freddie went through at his age.


CraveOnline: Kevin announced his plan as a new forum for filmmakers, but if it works, will it be good for actors too? 

Michael Angarano: I think it could be, yeah. I think it could potentially mean that a lot more movies could be seen, not only can get made. That’s the difference now. A lot of movies are made but because they come to film festivals and your movie doesn’t get bought by a studio or a distributor, your movie doesn’t get seen. I guess in that sense it could have the potential, the small movie that you’re in that cost little or no money could possibly be seen by more people.


CraveOnline: I feel like I’m witnessing the next generation of the film industry. 

Michael Angarano: Yeah, I do too. It’s bound to happen. He’s very well adjusted and I don’t mean in psychological human brain development. I mean he’s kept up with the times and he’s kind of one step ahead of it.


CraveOnline: In Red State your character makes jokes with his friends, calling each other gay slurs. Is it important to show that homophobia exists in different forms and even the “harmless” could actually be harmful? 

Michael Angarano: Of course it could and that’s a huge misconception that people are very careless with how they speak. But I think that’s kind of also one of the more subtle messages in the film that how these guys speak to each other when they first speak to each other, when you first hear them how they’re laughing and joking with each other, there’s definitely some kind of cultural I guess acknowledgement that that’s how people talk to each other.


CraveOnline: What does it mean that there are at least two films with homophobic religious antagonists here (Red State and The Ledge)? 

Michael Angarano: I just think it’s prevalent in the news today.