Scene Stealer Jake Ryan Just Tried to Be Himself in ‘Eighth Grade’

Variety | 1/4/2019 | Susan Young
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“Eighth Grade”

Former YouTube star and actor Bo Burnham makes his feature film writing/directing debut in “Eighth Grade,” a realistic take on coming of age in the era of social media. In the film, Kayla’s (Elsie Fisher) confidence-building YouTube self-help videos starkly contrast with her own life as an awkward 13-year-old in her final weeks of middle school. Determined to put herself out there, Kayla’s attempt to take her own advice results in some painful growth experiences. But while plenty of accolades justifiably have been poured on Golden Globe nominee Fisher’s breakout performance, it’s Jake Ryan as fellow fumbler Gabe who steals the memorable chicken nugget date-night scene that includes touching on splintered families through the lens of a “Rick and Morty” episode.

Ryan - Scene - Something - Elsie - Improv

Ryan: “The ‘Rick-and-Morty’ scene was something Elsie talked about when we first [approached it] and we decided to do a little improv in the chemistry read. When we went to shoot that [date night] scene, Bo said, ‘Is it OK if you do more “Rick and Morty?” ’ and I said, ‘Oh my God, yes!’ It’s easy to feed off the energy that Elsie brings, so [our scenes] flowed naturally from the beginning.

Bo Burnham, Elsie Fisher Talk Bringing Anxiety to Life in 'Eighth Grade'

Bo - Vibe - People - Talk - Today

“Bo has a cool vibe and when I first met him he was really funny and he listens to people. He was trying to re-create what kids talk about today. He was always asking, ‘Is this what kids would do?’ He would tell us the script didn’t matter, although we tightly kept to the script. However, in certain cases he would let us improvise just a little bit. That gave us a sense of freedom to be the character.

“[My character] Gabe is a bit of an awkward fellow, but he doesn’t care. He still tries to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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