I’m not quite sure how it happened, but while talking to Michael Cera and Sebastian Silva on June 7, 2013, the seeds of a movie project were born. Specifically, having John Hawkes play Charles Manson in a film produces by Cera and possibly directed by Silva. It started when I told Cera that if he were to play him in a movie, there was something about Cera’s boyish quality that would make Manson, if not sympathetic, at least oddly likable. Then we moved on to CRYSTAL FAIRY & THE MAGICAL CACTUS & 2012, the delightfully anarchic film the two made in 12 days while waiting to work on another project (MAGIC MAGIC), it’s improvised, but with a road map, literally and figuratively. As the San Francisco Cable Car bells provided the occassionally background atmosphere, we went on to discuss the Kismet-like way that the two first met, why letting the audience use its imagination is so smart, and how co-star Gaby Hoffman fit into the male-bonding found on road trips.
CRYSTAL FAIRY & The MAGICAL CACTUS & 2012 is a road film about altered states, altered perceptions, and cactus-napping. Cera plays Jamie, an enthusiastically annoying tourist in Chile anxious to sample the best of what the country offers in mind-altering substances. Events beyond his control, or perhaps its fate making a plaything of him, finds him traveling with the eponymous woman as he searches for the titular vegetation in the eponymous year on a road trip through Chile’s urban and rural landscapes. The journey is at once meandering and life-changing as Jamie bemuses his Chilean hosts and Crystal Fairy, played by Gaby Hoffman, gives new meaning to the expression expect the unexpected. The film was directed by Silva from his own script, and is peopled by non-professional actors and several of Silva’s relatives in key roles. Silva’s previous work includes being lead singer of the hip hop bands “Yaia”, and “Los Monos”, as well as writing and directing 2009’s THE MAID, and this year’s MAGIC MAGIC. Crystal Fairy received the Directing Award (World Cinema Dramatic) at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Cera’s previous work includes poking the Pillsbury Dough Boy, the web series Clark and Michael, the father of the eponymous character’s baby in JUNO, the target of evil exes in SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, and, of course, as George Michael Bluth in the funniest sitcom ever, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. He also plays mandolin and bass