It's hard to imagine having more incredible on-screen parents than Nick Offerman and Connie Britton. They've proven their parental prowess separately on screen: Offerman as Parks & Recreation's no nonsense dad Ron Swanson, and Britton as Friday Night Light's compassionate and fierce Tami Taylor. But in 2015's Sundance darling Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, these two forces will unite as the collective parents of the narrative's lucky protagonist Greg (played by Thomas Mann). "The amount that Connie can do with a close-up is so impressive," says Mann. "These great actors came in to do this movie with us, it's not really about them but they never acted like they were doing us a favor."
The film surrounds high school senior Greg, who is forced to befriend the terminally ill Rachel against his wishes. His mother (Britton) forces him into the friendship that will ultimately impact both of the teens' lives. Newcomer RJ Cyler plays Earl, Greg's friend and "coworker" whom he makes elaborate home videos with.
"I was learning all these crazy words from Nick [Offerman], aka The Walking Encyclopedia," Cyler says. "Nick is one very smart — super smart — person. It almost intimidates you at first, but he's such a sweet, fun person that it's killed right away." According to Cyler, he received more than he bargained for on set, wherein Offerman would teach him "a lot of huge words. Fecund. Dilatory. Feckless," he explains. "Like, 'This land is fecund with life or great soil,' I'm just repeating the sentence that Nick used it in."
And Britton, taking after her Friday Night Lights persona, is as nurturing offset as fans of the show would expect. "Connie has a very motherly tone. Every time I talk to Connie I just wanna be like 'Mama..., I mean Connie...'" Cyler says. "They are just really fun people. The entire cast of this movie is somewhere on my Netflix instant cue."
Rachel, played by Bates Motel's Olivia Cooke, had a special SNL veteran as a parent in the film. "Molly Shannon is the funniest person, and so so curios about you," Cooke says. "She's ready to give advice if you so need it, which I definitely do from such an amazing actress. Right before rolling she'd be like 'Oh my god, really? That's so interesting, he did that? What an asshole, I wouldn't stand for that.' Then they'd be like 'Action!' and she'd just get right into it. It was amazing how quickly she could switch on her emotions," Cooke explains.
See Me and Earl and The Dying Girl in theaters Friday, June 12. Watch the trailer below:
Images: Fox Searchlight