After the film, the UCSD Guardian met with some of the stars of “Mid90s.” Upon meeting the cast, it was evident that the actors aren’t very different from their characters off the screen. Though Ne-Kal Smith couldn’t be there, the four other members of the group were present. The first, Sunny Suljic, was accurately named, as he was absolutely a ray of sunshine, possessing a youthful charm and genuine enthusiasm for everything happening around him. Even off-screen, he was able to seamlessly mesh with the older cast members. Gio Galicia had a naturally flirty personality; he seemed authentically friendly and happy with where he is in life. Olan Prenatt was considerably more motivated than his character, but he carried himself with the same swagger and joviality. The fourth member, Ryder McLaughlin, mostly kept to himself, coming off as a little timid, and was genuinely humble about his talents. After the screening, the Guardian asked the cast a few questions about their experience working on “Mid90s.”
Guardian: The journey of self-discovery is a pretty universal experience. Were you able to relate to your character’s experiences or specific traits?
Sunny Suljic: I didn’t really relate to my character except that he was motivated and had the drive to just keep skating, and get back up when he falls.
Ryder McLaughlin: I related to every character; I feel like at every point in my life I’ve been in one of their shoes.
Guardian: Is there a specific experience or trait?
McLaughlin: Probably just trying to get in, like hanging out with older people, even though they weren’t drinking and all that other stuff, but they were a lot older than me…
Olan Prenatt: I feel like that was one of the challenges of me acting and portraying my character. Trying really hard because that’s my only approach at acting since it’s my first acting experience — trying really hard to be somebody who is supposed to come off as somebody who doesn’t try hard at anything, and doesn’t have any drive or passion or anything about moving toward their goals. Yeah, so it’s like a contradiction.
Gio Galicia: Not with my character at least; I don’t relate to him. He’s like a little a——, but I feel like Sunny’s character, trying to find my friend group, and trying to, not ‘fit in,’ but see who I relate to the most … and it happened with skating. I don’t know; it’s good.
Guardian: In what ways do you feel you are different from your character?
Galicia: Every way really. Like I said, he’s rude and he’s an a——.
Prenatt: I think I kind of answered that question in the first answer. I’m sorry. I say that I’m a very motivated and passionate person.
(Ryder to Sunny: Which way do you dot connect?)
Suljic: In a lot of ways. Starting off, I’m kinda shy. I’m also supposed to be a good listener — that’s not true… and drinking and all that. So, I don’t really relate to my character at all, really, except the skating part.
Guardian: Working with someone as influential as Jonah Hill has certainly put you in the spotlight. How do you think being in the public eye at such a young age is affecting your self-image?
Suljic: It’s so cool. It’s so rewarding: you make a film, and I don’t speak for everybody, but I haven’t experienced any interactions with people screaming when I’m on the street. I mean, taking photos or even like doing signatures is cool. I mean, so there’s more to come. People tell me I’m gonna love it at first and then it’s gonna get a bit tiring, but I think this is cool and I definitely want to keep acting.
McLaughlin: Nothing has changed for me, at least.
Prenatt: I definitely want to continue acting after learning this new art and falling in love with it.
Galicia: It’s cool, I mean like, (laughs) this happened to me a couple times, where I was just with some friends at a movie theatre and like three people noticed me. It was just, I dont know, it’s so cool cause like I never thought that would happen and then it just happened. It was just crazy to know people like, know who I am.
Suljic: I love that man [Jonah Hill] — it’s fantastic, thank you. Oh, I just went over about how cool it is, but yeah.
Guardian: Your characters find relief from their teenage troubles through skating. How do you find relief in your own lives?
Suljic: My dog. Everytime I see my dog or my cat — I have a Sphynx cat and a French bulldog. When I was on tour for like two weeks, I was just a little bit tired, and then I see my dog and my cat and — I don’t know [smiles to himself]. Yeah, probably my dog and my cat and then my sister, I guess. But yeah, skating is a therapy almost, you literally forget about everything. I didn’t have such a great birthday one time and I just went skating and I completely forgot about everything.
Galicia: Recently, I just started seeing my sister again and she just had a baby … Whenever I’m down, I hang out with my sister and we go eat, and it’s nice to see her baby too.
Prenatt: Jogging, that’s fun. That helps. It centers my mind, like jogging on a treadmill, hiking, but skateboarding is the ultimate “everything” for me.
Suljic: That’s a fire question though. I feel like I don’t even have the best response because I just feel like we always get the most generic questions, but that’s a good question. I got caught off guard, so props.
McLaughlin: I don’t do anything. I sit in my room and I watch YouTube videos.
Suljic: Ryder draws!
Galicia: Yeah, Ryder can make music and draw!
Suljic: Ryder makes music! Literally every single second I’m in Ryder’s room, he’s making music.
Galicia: He doesn’t like talking about it, but he’s a really good artist; he makes really good music.
Suljic: He’s too humble.
After the interview, I got to walk alongside the cast on our way out of the theater and talk to them off-the-record like normal people. It was such a cool opportunity to meet and interview these young actors with incredibly bright futures ahead of them. They were all amazing in “Mid90s.” I was left so impressed with their effortless portrayals of their characters despite their not completely relating to them. Though they all seem to lead relatively normal lives, they were similar to their characters in the way they talked and interacted with one another. It’s clear to me that being a part of this film brought these up-and-coming actors together and gave them a friendship that will last for a long time.
Image courtesy of IMDb