The hot young stars of Beware the Gonzo talk about their advice for teens, the advance of technology, and how everyone just needs to ‘calm down.’
Beware the Gonzo, directed by Bryan Goluboff, is an indie throwback to ’80s and early ’90s high school touchstones like Heathers and Pump Up the Volume, as well as John Hughes films like The Breakfast Club. Gonzo has a high-tech twist as the teens find that information spreads faster than ever, and revenge can come back at you online worse than gossip in the girls’ bathroom.
Plenty of high schoolers feel bullied, ignored, and just plain screwed over by The Man. Not many take it into their own hands to print an underground ‘zine revealing the icky underbelly of high school, from the meanest wedgie-givers to a nasty cafeteria. Eddie “Gonzo” Gilman (Ezra Miller) is just that guy, and with help from his fellow outcasts, the newspaper Beware the Gonzo (the movie and the ‘zine) is born. Evie (Zöe Kravitz) is a sweet-faced girl with a bad reputation and revenge on her mind, and with her Internet savy, Gonzo even goes online. The repercussions are more than they could have anticipated, though.
Tribeca sat down with Kravitz (X-Men: First Class) and Miller (City Island, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) about Gonzo and the questions it raises about teens and technology, film festivals, and the endless scrutiny the pair are under, both online and off.
Tribeca: Gonzo is a diehard print guy, and Evie gets him to put his ‘zine online. Which do you prefer in real life?
Ezra Miller: The great thing about our generation is we don’t have to choose. Everybody’s arguing about whether we should be reverting to an analog world or whether we should be embracing this highly… digital world. We don’t have to choose.
Zöe Kravitz: It’s about the decision to continue because people are really stopping even putting things on paper… so it’s kind of about keeping the consciousness around the importance of having something in your hand.
Tribeca: One thing that I really liked about Evie is that she says she was getting letters from other girls and wanted to help them. If you guys had your own gonzo website or newspaper, what kind of advice would you give teens, specifically?
Zöe Kravitz: The advice I would give teens [is that] they don’t really need advice. They’re fine, and they should march to [their] own beat… Run away from this thing that’s trying to tell everyone what to do on the Internet and celebrity, and the this and the that, and trying to follow these trends…
Ezra Miller: Run so far away.
Zöe Kravitz: Bolt… It’s great to be inspired by each other, but don’t try and just be told what to do, and don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do.
Ezra Miller: More than anything, just hang on for dear life. Dear life. Because it’s just—there are so many whirlwind emotional states within adolescence, and it’s so hard to remain grounded in any version of the truth in such a whirlwind… I’ve met a lot of kids who are just not okay and who don’t think they can make it through, but this is what we’re bound to do. We’re bound to get through this time and really feel all the things we need to feel in this time so that we can happily proceed through the rest of our lives.
Ezra Miller: Both and neither.
Zöe Kravitz: That’s exactly it. I mean, that was a big reference for the film, so I think we saw that and ran with it a bit… I had one really bad year of high school, because I went to this really awful private school in Florida where I did experience the whole kind of clique-y, high school jock-y kind of thing where I was a total freak, and then got really lucky and went to a great art school in New York… and didn’t have to deal with that so much. I mostly drew from that one year where I was just like, “Get me the *@&% out of here!” [It made me] definitely be able to relate to these kids.
Tribeca: Beware the Gonzo is premiering on demand first, and I know a lot of people my age are into on-demand movies. Do you think it will reach the target teen audience?
Ezra Miller: It is perfect. I mean, like, the generation after ours is—
Zöe Kravitz: Everything’s immediate.
Ezra Miller: Pure digital. Pure immediately. They’ve grown up entirely with the Internet. We’re the last to have time in our lives where there wasn’t the Internet.
Zöe Kravitz: I feel like now when people go to a film, it’s usually something that you specifically want to have the experience of seeing on a large screen, going and having popcorn, things like that.
Ezra Miller: I think releasing it initially on demand, it also just fits into all of the hilarious motifs of the movie, which is like, yeah, we just release it to everyone first and then people can find their way to the select theaters or whatever later.
Tribeca: I feel like you guys are film festival experts. What is the coolest thing about film festivals?
Zöe Kravitz: The best thing about festivals is the chaos that it creates, this creative chaos. Having all of these creative people in one space is always like the scariest, most fun thing in the world.
Ezra Miller: And then out of chaos comes the best type of order, which is an actual growing system and infrastructure of international independent film: production and presentation and distribution… I feel like [it's] one of the most exciting things happening right now… It’s these massive conglomerations of people [who are] just entirely art-centric. Which is kind of what we need and want as communities, I think.
Tribeca: Especially as young actors, you guys are under so much scrutiny… [A lengthy discussion about Tumblr ensues.]
Zöe Kravitz: It’s totally bizarre and scary, and it doesn’t make any sense.
Ezra Miller: I’d like to encourage people to calm down.
Zöe Kravitz: The whole thing is that most of the things that people even think about us are not even correct. The kind of things that we believe in and want to support—I don’t want to support girls wanting to be like me because girls should want to be like themselves, and that’s what I want to [support]. It kind of freaks me out.
Watch the trailer:
Rate this Article