Everything, Everything's Amandla Stenberg & Nick Robinson Clicked Right Away (JJJ Interview)

Everything, Everything's Amandla Stenberg & Nick Robinson Clicked Right Away (JJJ Interview)

It’s really no surprise how much chemistry Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson have on screen.

After speaking with them about their new film Everything, Everything – which we loved – it’s clear they have that natural connection that plays perfectly to a couple falling in love.

We caught up with Amandla and Nick to talk about making the film, what their auditions were like, their thoughts on texting culture, and more. Check it:

And be sure to check out Everything, Everything now in theaters!

JJJ: First, tell us about your auditions! Anything you remember from your chemistry read together?

Amandla: We didn’t have a chemistry read. We just showed up to set and it was all guns blazing (laughs). I had an audition while I was actually in Paris. I went on a trip after I graduated high school to kind of see the world a little bit. And that’s when I received the script. So it was a frantic situation to figure out how I could do the audition while I was in Paris. I ended up going to this casting agency down some beautiful Parisian street. Yeah, that was it for me. I read with Stella [Meghie], the director, over Skype. I heard she had me in mind for the role, so it all worked out perfectly. And then yeah, I didn’t meet Nick until we grabbed a coffee together in L.A.

Nick: That was one or two weeks before we left [to go film]. That was great. I knew right away and it was a sigh of relief that we were on the same page. And it was funny too, because I happened to be in Europe in the same time as Amandla. We didn’t know.

Amandla: We were there for the same purpose too. The first thing we said to each other was, “Yeah, I just came back from Europe where I was trying to find myself.”

Nick: That’s not what I said! I think I said…I was doing the same thing Amandla was except I hadn’t just graduated high school. I had never done a Euro trip.

Amandla: We were there to be beautiful humans exploring…so realizing we both had come from doing that, we must have a lot in common.

Click inside to read the rest of our interview with Amandla and Nick…

JJJ: What was your first big scene that you filmed together? Did you shoot in sequence?

Amandla: One of our first scenes actually was the scene in the diner where we’re flirting over text. Of course, in the movie, we have these vignettes of magical realism so it takes place in the diner. It’s a very flirtatious scene so I think it worked well as our first scene, as we were getting to know each other.

JJJ: Did you guy bond a lot off screen when you we’re filming?

Nick: We kept it pretty professh (laughs).

Amandla: (laughs) No, we hung out a lot. We drove around Vancouver listening to [music]. I had a baller ass time, honestly.

Nick: Mhm. The same.

Amandla: There was a park and we walked by the river and stuff. The river? Or the ocean? (laughs)

Nick: Ocean, I think ocean.

JJJ: Much of the film is about texting culture and the way teens communicate. What to do make of the idea of finding love online?

Nick: Uh, don’t get Catfished. No, it’s becoming more and more normal to…

Amandla: A cultural phenomenon…

Nick: Yeah, it’s becoming more and more culturally acceptable to meet your spouse online or on an app. So hopefully the takeaway from the film is, while that communication is great, it only goes so far. You actually have to meet in order to have a relationship. I feel like that can be overlooked nowadays. It’s almost not even a requirement to meet in person, to have a relationship.

Amandla: If I have one particular feeling about it, it’s that it’s a really nuanced thing. If anything, the movie just accurately reflects how teenagers communicate with each other now. That’s something that I think is done very sweetly. It shows the discrepancy between the person you can be when you’re existing in a virtual space versus the person you are in real life. Oftentimes when you meet people in real life, you’re awkward, uncomfortable, don’t really know what to say. It’s very easy to hide behind that facade through the Internet. I think it’s an important tool and it’s amazing how it can connect people, but we do have to remember, the people we create through technology aren’t necessarily accurate to who we are.

JJJ: The dialogue in the film was very natural. Did you guys improvise a lot or?

Nick: Most of it was in the script. We did do some improvisation.

Amandla: We did a little bit, but honestly we worked really hard to make the dialogue feel natural. A lot of times it’s not written naturally because it’s this magical kind of story. The way the characters interact is based in reality but they’re also kind of fantastical. We consciously worked on making sure we had that element of feeling grounded and naturalistic with our lines, and what we were saying.

Nick: Stella actually did some revisions on the script, which I definitely think helped make it feel like two people actually having a conversation than a scripted dialogue.

JJJ: It’s 2017, but there are still so few interracial couples on screen. Do you think Hollywood is headed in the right direction? Have you seen a shift in what kinds of stories are being told and/or who is being cast in lead roles?

Nick: I think that usually when you have a film with an interracial couple, that is the story. That is what the film is highlighting. What I think is so great about this is that’s not explicit in the film. It’s actually barely brought up, which I think is just as powerful.

Amandla: I think that there’s a major shift in diversity in media right now because there has to be. We’re demanding it. That’s what so special and important about this story. I think there’s a fresh wave of diversity in media and I think fortunately for Nick and I. we get to ride that first wave in this more mainstream pop material, which is exciting.

JJJ: Was there a particular scene that you found especially difficult or were nervous about shooting?

Nick: The scene where Maddy comes outside and asks Olly to run away with her. It takes place over the course of one page, so we wanted to make sure it felt…

Amandla: As real as we could possibly make it (laughs). It was a little challenging to do.

Nick: But also, realizing that the film has a very fantasy-like, dream-like state…so sort of walking the line between reality and fantasy in the film.

Amandla: For me it was a similar thing, but with the twist, which we won’t reveal. But the twist itself is pretty fantastical, but also real at the same time. It was balancing that. How do you play that as an actor? The thing is, in life, when we experience emotions, we can try to suppress them. So just trying to figure that out and how to create a natural portrayal of these heavy things in their life was challenging.

JJJ: Are there any talks of a sequel? Would you guys be interested?

Nick: It’s called Anything, Anything (laughs). I don’t know. We’ll see.

Amandla: Yeah, there hasn’t been any talk of it, but I know Nicola Yoon has other books that she wants adapted into films, but I’m not sure if we’ll be involved in those.

JJJ: And finally – did you get to take anything home from set?

Nick: I got a pretty gnarly sunburn.

Amandla: I got to take home that little astronaut.

Nick: I took home a copy of Flowers For Algernon that was on set.

- Reporting by Sharon Tharp (@sharontharp)

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Photos: Warner Bros. Pictures
Posted to: Amandla Stenberg, Everything Everything, Exclusive, Interview, Movies, Nick Robinson
  • Bojaws Dubois

    I saw this movie last night. Amandla was unbelievably breathtakingly beautiful in this. She’s move beautiful than Zendaya. I mean her beauty is a mature Helen of Troy beauty worthy of admiration by millions of men and women worldwide. I’m not even exaggerating.