Palo Alto is now playing in select theaters in NY and LA you can find if playing near you here! Since the release I have added some Palo Alto related photos below! Some new stills and alternate posters plus on set photos! The film is featured in the latest V magazine with photo spread by James Franco, click “read rest of this entry” for the article, which James interviews Emma. Check out new clips here from the film! Emma plus Evan Peters were spotted at LAX on May 9th headed to New York for the X-men premiere today, which photos will be added in another update soon…
James Franco I’d love to hear about what your actual high school experiences were like. When I ask about high school, what jumps out at you? Or did you even go to high school?
Emma Roberts I was homeschooled, which was definitely not like a regular high school experience. But I kept in touch with my childhood friends who were all obviously in high school. So I’d basically tag along to their proms and football games, and people would always be like, “Do you go here?” And I’d be like, “No, I’m homeschooled.” And they’d be like, “Why are you always at our football games? You don’t go to this school.”
JF What school was that?
ER Brentwood and Archer, in L.A. So I did get to do all the high school stuff, I did go to prom and all that stuff.
JF Who did you go to prom with?
ER I was that person who went with the boyfriend’s friend. I had a really bad spray tan, ’cause I used to get made fun of for being pale. I thought, I’m gonna get a spray tan and be really glamorous, but I looked like I rolled in mud. So, um, that was really fun.
JF Right. And why were you homeschooled?
ER Well, my last year of regular school was seventh grade. Basically I got a TV show on Nickelodeon when I was 12. It was a three-year thing, and the school that I went to counted attendance for half the grade. So even if I got A’s they wouldn’t give me a good attendance score. My mom was like, “We’re just going to homeschool you.” And I ended up working pretty much the whole time. I was on set, traveling, and going to lots of different places, I got to experience life, so that was cool. But sometimes I’d fantasize what it would be like if I went to high school and was a cheerleader or something.
JF And so you were acting from a very young age?
ER Yes. I went on my first audition at nine, and I actually got the part. It was for the movie Blow, with Johnny Depp. And then from that, I was like, “Oh my God, I got the part, Mom, can I keep auditioning?” And she said okay. I didn’t get anything for a really long time, but I was like, “This is so fun!” My mom just thought I was the weirdest child, because what nine-year-old likes to go to auditions and memorize lines?
JF Speaking of being wise beyond one’s age, tell me about working with Gia [Coppola]. I imagine she was one of the youngest directors you’ve ever had. How was it?
ER I really loved working with her. I’d known her for a while, just in passing. I’d see her at events. But we just got along really well, and I remember I heard she was doing Palo Alto, and I read your book, like literally the day it came out. I did. Cover to cover. And I was like, “Oh my God, I love that book, I have to be in the movie!” I really wanted to work with her, so I was excited to get the part. It was fun. She’s so calm. A lot of directors are very scattered and very, like, you know, screaming things, or not really 100 percent there, because they have to think about a hundred things, but she’s just so present and calm, and she has a very unsuspecting sense of humor. She’s very serious and then she’ll saying something very inappropriate and you’re like, “What did you just say?” She’s fun to work with, and it made the shoot go by quick. I wouldn’t have been able to do the performance I did without her. She really made me feel comfortable.
JF So obviously I had most of my scenes with you.
ER Lucky you!
JF I was lucky, and it was a weird experience for me for two reasons: it was a movie based on the book that I wrote, which was a piece of fiction, but it was loosely based on things that had happened to me or other people that I knew. No matter what role I played, it would’ve been weird just to act out things that were based on my life. But then it was even stranger because I was playing essentially the villain of the piece, and when I was writing about it, I identified with the young people. I identified with the teenagers, you know, I’m on their side. So that was a little weird for me, but I felt like Gia asked me to do it, and I was happy to do it, to help the movie. I also felt that the way to play it was to try to play him as non-creepy as possible, and that maybe that would be even creepier. I tried to play it like he is this nice guy and you can see why maybe people do like him. And try to cut down on any of the lecherous behavior and let the actions kind of reveal how creepy and wrong he is. What is your take on it? ’Cause it is creepy. How old were you when we did the movie?
JF Okay, so on another level, if it was just you and me, we could legally date. It was based on a guy who went to jail. What’s your take on your character?
ER I mean, I can’t really fathom that in real life. I have a little sister, so that really disturbs me, but as far as in the movie, I felt like it was interesting and it was something that isn’t overdone. It shows what a confusing time my character, April, is having. And you kind of meet her in the middle; you see the beginning of the relationship and the end, and you see how much she changes in that time. I think there’s something interesting in that, because as a teenager you go through things and they shape the rest of your life and some of them are weird. I thought it was cool that you weren’t afraid to show that. It happens. It felt honest. And I think Gia did a really good job of not going too far with any of it.
JF She’s good. Well, there’s a lot I can say about Gia. I’m really happy about the way she presented it. The movie goes to some dark places, and the characters go through some dark things, but for your character, and Jack’s character, Teddy, it feels like there’s hope.
ER I totally agree with you. That’s what I liked about it. Even when we were shooting it, there is a bit of sweetness, even when they’re going through those things. Gia cast the movie so well that no one was that unlikable, even when they should’ve been. I think that it’s really important in a movie like this to not make them so horrible that you don’t want to watch them. You’re curious about what happens to them down the line. You’re like, “I wonder if they end up together, I wonder where she is?” I think that’s really cool.