Exclusive Interview With Nick Kroll And Bobby Cannavale On Adult Beginners


With the world’s ever-changing landscape, society is finding itself in completely new situations brought upon by technology, personal ambition, and an independence that is leading to new, foreign lifestyles to older generations. People are getting married later, sacrificing everything for personal goals, and facing new problems – which is translating into fresh lands for movies to explore.

Adult Beginners is a new film from the mind of Nick Kroll that explores man’s ability to start over again in dire times, directed by Oscar nominee Ross Katz. It’s a sweet story that reminds us about the strength of familial bonds and the resiliency of the human spirit, as long as you don’t get sucked into the dangers of today’s suffocating distractions. The movie is a fine escape that newer generations can certainly relate to, which I touch upon in my South by Southwest review, and should help comfort those of us who are well into our adult careers without any sort of finite plan.

Stars Nick Kroll and Bobby Cannavale attended South by Southwest to promote their new film and while there, I had the chance to spend some time with the jokesters. Read on to hear about their own Adult Beginners experiences, how they both escape from the hustle of reality, and what the definition of a five-fecta is.

WGTC: So how has South by Southwest been treating you guys so far?

Nick Kroll: Well, the water has been great [referring to the vast array of bottled waters available in the hotel]. I got in last night, drank too much tequila, and then woke up to do this press stuff – so I’m ready to go. I love Austin. It’s one of my favorite cities to come to. Such a great cross-section between a real city with small, intimate, artistic elements that I really vibe.

Bobby Cannavale: Ditto, except we went to a really good restaurant last night, and it was one of those weird things where we had so much food, and I woke up still full.

WGTC: Well I’m glad you’ve been enjoying your stay, but let’s get to the movie now. Have you ever had your own Adult Beginners moment?

Nick Kroll: Shit, I feel like I’m constantly having Adult Beginner moments. It still shocks me that I bought a house a couple years ago, or that I can go to an airport, get a ticket, and then get on a plane. Or get my oil changed. Whatever the elements are that are part of being an adult. I think, at least for me, we’re so different from our parent’s generation. At my age, right now, my dad had four kids and had built a company, whereas I’m barely able to put on matching socks. I constantly feel that way, and I think that’s what caused me to build this story, and hopefully that’s what’ll be interesting to people our age.

Bobby Cannavale: It usually happens to me when I’m around my kid. My son is nineteen, and whenever I go to visit him at college, up in Boston, I take the train up there, get a hotel room, and we always plan a dinner. I’m like, “You can invite six friends,” so he shows up with six friends and they all eat steak because they’ve eaten nothing but ramen. They all eat really fast, and that’s when it starts to dawn on me. I always go in thinking “I’m going to hang out with all these nineteen-year-olds tonight. We’re going to have a blast, do some shots.” Then they’re all eating really fast, because they just want to get done so they can ditch me. [Laughs] I always have that moment when I try and extend the night, get some dessert or something, but they’re done. I go back to the room, I don’t get out of my clothes for a while, and I keep the phone on just in case. Just in case I get a text telling me to come back out. That sucks. That’s when I really feel old. [Laughing]

Nick Kroll: Well that’s fuckin’ sweet. [Laughing]

WGTC: So then what are your vices. In the film, each character has an escape of sorts – what are your little escapes during the day?

Nick Kroll: Besides pot, booze, food, and my phone? [Laughing] Besides those four things? Jack-off and go to sleep. That’s a five-spot right there! The five-fecta! But I feel pretty buried in my phone a lot, and it’s a real bummer. Weirdly, to me, it really ties to Adult Beginners because my character is an entrepreneur, a tech guy, and at the beginning he’s very shallow and removed. What I like is that he moves in with his sister and brother-in-law, and he’s stripped of everything. Especially, without always using his phone, he’s reminded, “Oh right, I have to connect with human beings.” That, at the end of the day, it’s what’s fulfilling, and also challenging.

Bobby Cannavale: I’m pretty much the same way, but then also crossword puzzles and books. After the pot and jerking off, it’s a good crossword.