Entering Kieran Culkin’s dressing room backstage at New York’s Cort Theatre, where he’s currently starring on Broadway in This is Our Youth, is essentially a VIP invite into his own private man cave, complete with a sweet Nintendo 64 set up and an array of soon-to-be vintage games. But instead of beer cans, the room is littered with boxes of tea and honey—he and costars Michael Cera and Tavi Gevinson must project in front of a live audience (no do-overs) for eight shows a week, after all.
In the new October/November 2014 issue of NYLON Guys, during one of their rare breaks, Culkin and Cera take turns waxing poetic about the play, WWE, and Mario Kart while chowing down on sandwiches, talking with their mouths full, and then apologizing for doing so. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:
Kieran, you’re like a super fan of This is Our Youth, considering this is the fourth time you’ve starred in the play.
Kieran: I am a super fan! For some reason, I felt like I had to do it, and as often as possible, as much as possible.
Michael: I’m not really into it. Not my cup of tea (both laugh).
Kieran: I did it 12 years ago in London, and Michael and I did it for two weeks in Australia in 2012, then we did it in Chicago right before this, and now New York. I actually played Warren (now Michael’s character) in London, and then I switched to Dennis. Eventually, I’ll play Jessica, Tavi’s part—a 19-year-old girl. That’s the ultimate goal.
And how has it been having Tavi come into the fold?
Kieran: It’s exciting. Michael: It’s a three-person cast, so it’s such an intimate experience that having a new person really changes the dynamic in a huge way. When you’re playing a character that’s so full of anxieties, neurosis, insecurities, and desires, you bring a lot of that from your real life. So how those things manifest really changes from person to person.
How’d you three bond?
Kieran: Over a lot of Nintendo! Mario Kart 64 is the group fave. Can you believe Tavi never played a video game before?
Michael: That’s bananas!
Kieran: What’s even crazier is that she’s as old as this system. I couldn’t believe it when I realized I was working with an adult as old as my Nintendo 64.
Michael, you just released a digital album, True That, which people are describing as low-fi folk.
Michael: Calling it an album makes it sound more official than I think it is. It’s nice that people call it an album. It’s nice that people even consider it music (laughs).
Kieran: Did you do it all by yourself?
Michael: Yeah, I just did it on my computer using Garage Band. It’s a collection of songs that I had for a long time and just decided to put them up on Band Camp one day.
[Michael drops a chip on the floor, and proceeds to pick it up and eat it.]
Kieran: I bled all over the floor right there.
Michael: In here? In this room? Is that true?
Kieran: Uh-huh. I cried.
Michael: When was that?
Kieran: I don’t want to talk about it (laughs).
Michael: I got severely burned the other night. Maybe severely isn’t the right word.
Kieran: Well, it did melt part of your skin off, and a crinkled piece of skin was pushed off to the side and gooey and milky.
Michael: I hit my hand on a light bulb when I was leaving the stage when it was pitch black.
Kieran: I saw how dark it was, and said to him, “Good luck finding the door.” A few seconds later I hear, “Boom! Ugh!”
For more of our interview, pick up the new issue of NYLON Guys, with Liam Hemsworth on the cover.
TEXT BY PATTY ADAMS