A Q&A with the cast of Jonah Hill's 'Mid90s'

Arts and culture reporter Brandon King asks the cast about their experiences working on the film

Jonah Hill's directorial debut "Mid90s" is in theaters now, and the tale of a group of southern California skate kids is receiving a generally warm reception from audiences. Recently, I had a chance to be a part of a conference call hosted by A24 with other journalists and got to interview some of the film's cast, including Sunny Suljic, Olan Prenatt and Ryder McLaughlin. Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

Read More: SP Review: 'Mid90s' shows promise and emotion in the midst of nostalgia

"I grew up in Orange County in the late 90s and early 2000s and our family were huge skate nerds at the time, so that aspect of the film really resonated with me. In the same sense, I'm wondering what films and TV shows resonated with you guys growing up in the same way?"

Ryder McLaughlin: "I don't think there was anything that I could relate to, I guess. I don't know, one thing I thought was tight was "(The Suite Life of) Zack and Cody" growing up, so I don't think that was really a great answer."

Olan Prenatt: "Yeah, I never pictured myself acting or anything. But I remember when I was younger, I used to always go to school and recite stand-up shows or lines from "Martin" and his tone and the way that he spoke. That was all stuff that I used to know, but I never really pictured myself doing something with that."

"What kinds of things do you think the movie will accomplish?"

Olan Prenatt: "I feel like that's a question like 'What does the movie give off' and I feel like this is a movie about life and life has so many lessons that are to be learned. One thing is understanding humans and some angles of our understanding are misunderstood. There's so many lessons and every lesson is bigger than the other."

"For someone about to see the movie, how do you want people to experience the movie, or what is the best way to watch the movie?"

Ryder McLaughlin: "I don't know, I think there's a lot of language and situations that people might think the movie is glorifying, or people walking in not wanting to like something. I think you just have to see it from a realistic point-of-view, where it's literally a movie showing how that culture was and how kids were, especially in the 90s, showing that for what it is, not making it PG. You have to be going in with an open mind and hopefully you take something away. I'm not gonna say what you should take away, but hopefully you take away something good or if you take away something bad, you learn from it."

"By the end of the film, it becomes clear that your characters have learned a lot. What did you guys learn during the productions of "Mid90s" about yourselves, filmmaking or your futures?"

Sunny Suljic: "I want someone to answer that first."

Ryder McLaughlin: "I think, from just from, working on it, I think you got to take opportunities if they're handed to you. If somebody ... if you have an opportunity, you have to take it, especially if someone offers you a movie and it's something you care about. I think there's a lot of messages in this movie that people should see and learn about this culture and learn about being a kid growing up."

Sunny Suljic: "Well, I think that's why we ride a piece of wood. Like, what that does to somebody's spirit is just crazy."

Olan Prenatt: "I feel like I've learned a lot of things from this experience. It sounds outrageous, but through this whole filming process and learning storytelling and all of that, I've learned perspectives on life that I didn't know before. I've learned perspectives of life through this process. Also, I've learned some of the lessons that I think people, when they cringe during the movie, some people don't understand and aren't open to what that means. This movie taught me a lot about sensitivity and respect for everybody and their understandings." 

 Reach the reporter at brandon.D.King@asu.edu or follow @TheMovieKing45 on Twitter.

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