Interview: Zack Pearlman

9/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Zack Pearlman, far left
Interview: Zack Pearlman

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

Zack Pearlman, star of the new comedy "The Virginity Hit,” is by no stretch of the imagination “Hollywood.” In fact, he's the polar opposite – the type of dude you could just hang out with. And if Zack were in your circle of friends, there's no doubt that he would be “the funny one.”

He's less of a GQ guy and more of an embarrass-yourself-on-YouTube kind of guy. In fact, a video he sent in to the website Funny or Die helped him to land his breakout role in "The Virginity Hit.”

While filming the movie, his first and only role thus far, the actor maintained his job at an Ann Arbor, Mich. comic shop called Get Your Game On while continuing to play “Magic: The Gathering.”

Without any hint of an ego, the Ann Arbor native is living and working in Los Angeles, continuing to work alongside his friend and “Virginity Hit” co-star Matt Bennett.

Zack took some time out recently for a phone interview with to talk about his role in "The Virginity Hit," working with producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, and his brief stint as a professional video gamer.

Joel Crabtree: So, you’re in "The Virginity Hit" and you play a character named Zack.  How much of yourself did you bring to that character?

Zack Pearlman: Uh, you know, a lot. I think I was cast -- one of the reasons I was cast -- was because I am so similar to that character. I have a huge love for my friends and family, but one thing that does separate me from the character is that, at the end of the day, I was acting. So, I had to be an exaggerated version of myself. And, also, I would never say some of the things or do some of the things that I do in the movie.

JC: So a lot of your success as an actor kind of stems from YouTube videos, and the Funny or Die [video] I watched earlier, where you show that you’re not afraid to embarrass yourself or others around you.

ZP: Yeah (laughs).

JC: Can audiences expect a similar brand of humor from "The Virginity Hit"?

ZP: Absolutely. I think that’s one of the reasons they cast me in it, was because I kind of spot-on did what they were looking for without them asking. And that’s a very common, recurring theme in "The Virginity Hit." You do get a lot of embarrassing, embarrassing things happening to all the characters.

JC: Speaking of YouTube videos, I also recently watched one -- and correct me if I’m wrong -- where I think it was you dancing to some sort of song ... “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada” ...

ZP: Yeah, “Everytime We Touch,” yeah ...

JC: Did you get to show off any of your moves in the movie?

ZP: No, I was pretty upset.  You know, there was a scene where I was drunk, dancing, but you know I wasn’t actually drunk, just dancing. It didn’t make the final cut. But that video ... we were at a garage sale, my friends and I, in Michigan. And this guy had one of those old booths that you’d find in theaters and like, malls, where it’s like “Make your own music video.” So, we bought it for $15, went to my house, detached the camera, built a green screen and did that (laughs).

JC: Well, I think it’s hilarious, so I’m glad you did it. Maybe your drunk dancing scene will get onto the DVD somehow.

ZP: Hopefully.

JC: So, I also heard that while you were filming you had to keep the movie pretty well under wraps.  What was that like?

ZP: You know, I was an unknown while we were filming, I was an unknown before we were filming, so it wasn’t very hard for me. I just kept my job at a local comic shop called Get Your Game On, I continued playing “Magic: The Gathering” like a huge nerd. And, you know, that’s about it. That’s all I did was play “Magic” and read comics for a year until I moved to L.A. and then stuff started being released.

JC: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are producers on the film.  Did they have a lot of input and give you a lot of guidance while filming?

ZP: Absolutely. I mean, Adam came on set and Will invited me to go out to see his Broadway performance of his George Bush show.  He invited me personally. They have a huge influence on, I think, how everyone does comedy, let alone us.

JC: How does "The Virginity Hit" separate itself from other comedies in its genre.

ZP: It’s a new take on the teen sex comedy. You do get some of the crude humor, but you also get a lot of heart that isn’t seen in a lot of those movies. Also, Matt [Bennett] and I are best friends in real life, and it really shows in the movie. There was about a year before we started filming where Matt and I would just talk every day. I went out to New York, he came out to Michigan and we ended up becoming best friends. Day one of filming, we had already had a year of just hanging around and being friends.  That really shows on screen.

JC: Did you get a lot of opportunities to improvise in the film?

ZP: I would say 95 percent of the movie is improvised. You know, we always had the story to go off of, or plot, but we never really ... we did have a script but we threw it away because we realized that honest reaction is the best interaction. Andrew [Gurland] and Huck [Botko], the directors and writers, totally grasped onto that and told us to do that.  Improvising has now become such a big part of my life because we were allowed to do it so much in the film.

JC: Now that you have your breakout role here, what’s next for you?

ZP: I just wrote a pilot with Matt that we both starred in and [I] directed. And then, Matt and I are actually writing a movie right now for both of us. Living in L.A. it’s kind of hard, just because like, it’s so much different ... I don’t say hard because of like, business-wise ... I mean hard because it’s like so much different from where I’m from. I’m from the Midwest, where everybody’s like, “How do you do!?” So, it’s been kind of an adjustment and I needed a life adjustment before I could do the career adjustment. Now that I’ve started getting the ball rolling, I’ve written a screenplay and I’m writing this new one with Matt, so it’s exciting.

JC: I read somewhere that you played video games professionally for six months.  How did you land that gig?

ZP: (Laughs) I was a big fat nerd who had really good reaction time on a 20-inch computer screen. I mean, I was huge, I was like 220 when I played, and now I’m like 180. So, I mean, I was big. But the way I landed it was that I just started playing with friends from Michigan, and then I got recognized at a LAN tournament -- which is a local area network -- where people bring their computers and they play against each other. And I won a MVP prize.  It was kind of this weird progression.  A professional team [asked if I wanted to play with them], and I was like, “Sure.”

JC: How many hours did you put in a day?

ZP: Oh, jeez man, like eight to 10. It was bad.

You can follow Zack on Twitter, and watch his videos at and “The Virginity Hit” is playing now in select theaters. Below is the trailer--what are your thoughts?

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