Michael Cera Nearly Quit Acting Because Of His Two Best Movies

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

Michael Cera in Superbad

Being famous has a lot of downsides. The lack of privacy, the unending public scrutiny, and the difficulty leading a normal life can all take their toll on actors, singers, and other public figures who get recognized everywhere they go. According to The Guardian, it was these sorts of downsides that led Michael Cera to consider quitting acting after the success of Superbad and Juno made him a household name.

Michael Cera rocketed to fame following Superbad and Juno but it was too much, too soon, and he almost left acting forever.

The pair of 2007 coming-of-age comedies were both massive successes at the time of their release, with high box-office returns and widespread critical acclaim. Juno was even nominated for four Acadamy Awards and took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. For 19-year-old Michael Cera, getting shoved into the national spotlight made him regret his choice to become an actor.

According to Michael Cera, while there were a lot of positive sides to being famous, it also made him anxious and paranoid. He says he wasn’t mentally equipped to deal with some of the “bad energies” that he’d run across. One example he gave was drunk fans who would enthusiastically grab him when they saw him.

The negative side to fame made Michael Cera consciously avoid roles that would make him more famous. He turned down a chance to host Saturday Night Live, and he considered quitting acting entirely.

The films Michael Cera took on after Juno and Superbad reflect his shift towards lower profile rows. He was already involved in filming Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist before Juno came out.

“There was a point where I wanted to stop taking jobs that would make me more famous.”

Michael Cera

Still, afterward, he appeared in two little-known films: the straight-to-DVD sex comedy Extreme Movie and the independently-created Paper Heart.

According to Michael Cera, the only reason he took on the starring role in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the fact that he’d already signed on to the film before he had become disenchanted with fame. His commitment to the film, he says, is what kept him from quitting acting entirely. 

scott pilgrim
Michael Cera

Looking back, Michael Cera is thankful that he kept on acting. While Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a box office flop, it was an overall positive experience — and it led to him taking on some projects that he otherwise would not have even considered.

He joined the indie band The Long Goodbye, created a YouTube comedy channel, and starred in the Kenneth Lonergan plays This is Our Youth and Lobby Hero. He also worked on two films with Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva: Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and Magic Magic.

Michael Cera now only takes parts that interest him, acting on his own terms, and at peace with being famous.

Cera said that this period in his life helped him figure out what he really wanted to do — and it seems that he’s succeeded. He still acts, but more on his terms, often alongside heroes that he’s always wanted to meet. He’s also now married with a two-year-old kid.

Michael Cera’s latest project is the upcoming Barbie film, in which he plays the almost-forgotten Barbie character Allan. Cera jumped at the chance to be involved in the project, and it seems he was right to do so — the film has had an enthusiastic reception from audiences and critics so far, and is expected to be a box-office success.