When Michael Cera became famous as a teenager, he didn’t know how to handle it — and almost walked away from Hollywood entirely.
After starring in Superbad and Juno in 2007, Michael admits he got really overwhelmed by the immediate amount of attention from the public.
“That was sort of overwhelming. I didn’t know how to handle walking down the street,” he recently told the Guardian.
He continued, “Fame makes you very uncomfortable in your own skin, and makes you paranoid and weird. There were lots of great things about it, and I met a lot of amazing people, but there’s a lot of bad energies, too, ones that I was not equipped to handle.”
Michael says the attention on him was so immediate, that he even had a tough time being in public the very first weekend Superbad hit theaters.
Looking back, Michael says he went out to a bar with friends and quickly realized “it was a mistake.”
“You know, if people are drunk, and they recognize you, and they’re very enthusiastic, but it can be kind of toxic, too,” he said.
Michael continued, “When you’re a kid, people also feel they can kind of grab you — they’re not that respectful of you or your physical space. I didn’t know how to respectfully establish my own boundaries.”
“It was like a burning feeling the whole time, just like everybody was so aware of me,” he said of that night out.
Eventually, Michael says he began to believe acting wasn’t for him and decided he wanted to step away from anything that would make him more famous — even turning down Saturday Night Live.
“There was a point where I wanted to stop taking jobs that would make me more famous,” he shared. “I was kind of having a bit of a crisis… I was really not enjoying the level of heat.”
Michael added that he “really didn’t know” if he was “going to keep being an actor.”
But as he was contemplating his future as an actor, he filmed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which changed his mind about walking away.
“I was already committed to it, and went and did it, and obviously feel so grateful that that happened,” he said.
From there, Michael says he’s been able to create the career he’s wanted — being a working actor who can also “enjoy his day-to-day life.”