Paul Rustwill soon win over moviegoers as the nerdy and lovestruck Dennis Cooverman,opposite Hayden Panettiere in the upcoming movie I Love You Beth Cooper.
This teen comedy starts out with avery pivotal and riveting scene with Dennis Cooverman (Rust) delivering hisvaledictory address that ends in utter chaos. Dennis has been harboring a secret for six years, achronic case of l'amour fou for Beth (Panettiere), one of the mostpopular girls in school, who sat in the desk just in front of him in multipleclasses. Thenerd's shocking confession enrages Beth's boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts). Seethingwith fury and indignation, Kevin tells Dennis to stay away fromthe lovely Beth Cooper or he will be sorry.
Paul Rust, the writer, improvisational artist and first-time lead actor,shares in the following Q&A what it's like filming I Love You BethCooper.
Q: Have you ever idolized a girl fromafar?
A: "My problem wasn't so much that I lovedsomebody from afar, it was that I loved someone and then made it very obviousin the same way that Dennis does. It just didn't take me six years to profess mylove, it only took three minutes.I told her and then regretted itinstantly."
Q: What was it like working with Hayden?
A: "Hayden's awesome; she's really theconsummate professional. She has been doing this I think for her whole life andit shows. Hayden comes in prepared, brings a lot of interesting choices to thescenes, supportive and she's really great to work with."
Q: How hard was the physical comedy?
A: "There was a lot of physical comedy. Iwas jumping off roofs and getting champagne corks shot in my eye and it waspretty great. For me, physical comedyis the same as any type of comedy in that the more honest you try to make it,the funnier it is. So when he's hittingme, I think it's funnier the more real it looks."
Q: What do the characters learn in thismovie?
A: "On an emotional level, Dennis learnsthat being scared and being fearful of new experiences can keep you from havinga more satisfying life. He has always been scared and he grows up because ofthis one night. Then as far as Beth's character is concerned, Dennis gets her tosee herself as a more worthy person than she was giving herself creditfor. The characters influence eachother that way."
Q: Do you identify with Dennis at all? Were you ever nerdy?
A: "Well it's weird because I wasvaledictorian of my class, like Dennis Cooverman is, which I think is atypically nerdy thing. I don't think there are many cool people who arevaledictorians (top of their class at school).
Q: Were you popular with girls as well?
A: "No, I had one girlfriend in high schooland she broke my heart. And then in mysenior year during my valedictorian address, I used it as anopportunity put her down in a veiled way, in the same way Dennis uses hisspeech. I'd gone to so many valedictorian speeches to hear students say:‘Cherish what you just experienced because high school years were the bestyears of your life.' And I said ‘Thatis B.S. That's not true.' I wassarcastic and I listed all the awful things about high school. Six months later, my friend had a tape ofthe speech and sent it off to a radio station. I was incredibly embarrassed andregretted everything I said."
Q: Did you ever imagine you'd end up as aleading man?
A: "Never. I had no expectations of havinga lead role in a movie. When I moved out to Los Angeles, my hope was just toget to do my comedy, to be the funny guy in an ensemble. This is new and it'sweird because it wasn't anything I had planned. But it is great."
Q: Did you dream of being in movies as akid? You wrote a screenplay at 11.
A: "I did. When I was a kid, I lovedmovies and I wanted to be a filmmaker really, more than an actor. The screenplayI wrote was called The Five Dumb Men. I sent it in to the head of WarnerBros. at the time and he did a really cool thing. He wrote me a letter back andsaid ‘I was very impressed with your treatmentfor The Five Dumb Men. Then at the end, he said, ‘I want to encourage you to keep working andI'm sure some day you're going to be a big success.' It was a really awesome thing for him to do. Writing is a goal of mine and a passion butI'm enjoying acting a lot. "