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When undercover cops Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return to high school to expose a drug ring in "21 Jump Street," it is Brie Larson (as a fetching high school student) who distracts Hill from the mission at hand. The 22-year-old actress also sang and acted as one of Scott Pilgrim's exes in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and played Toni Collette's rebellious daughter on three seasons of "United States of Tara."
We sat down with Larson in anticipation of the DVD and Blu-ray release of "21 Jump Street" and put the affable actress on the spot about whether Hill is funnier than Tatum, her favorite scene in the movie and her awkward encounter with Johnny Depp.
Your "21 Jump Street" character, Molly, has a budding romance with Schmidt, played by Jonah Hill. Did you two get to know each other before filming to build some kind of chemistry?
We had kind of known each other a little bit before. I ran into him at a table read for another movie and we started talking. We had both gone through breakups, and we laughed at the silly things you do to get past it that ultimately leads to not feeling any better. We sparked a friendship from there, and it made the whole audition process more fun. Instead of feeling like I had to go into a room and impress a bunch of suits, it felt like I was with friends. We got to go to New Orleans a week or two before we started filming and had some barbeques and hung out, so we got to know each other by running around the city.
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You're 22. Had you ever watched the original "21 Jump Street" with Johnny Depp?
I had seen it before. It came out the year I was born, but it's been playing on TV. We weren't trying to really emulate the show; we were trying to create our own thing. I didn't have to look at it as my Bible.
Did you meet Depp when he did his cameo in your movie?
The thing was, I didn't realize for the longest time that he was on set because he was in costume. I was on set thinking, Johnny Depp will be here any minute. There was this one old biker dude who kept talking to me, but I wasn't answering back because I didn't know who he was. I said, "I’m sorry, I didn't catch your name." He pulled his sunglasses down and said, "It's Johnny." I said, "Wow! Nice to meet you!" It was fantastic and a really fun day for everybody.
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Your prom in "21 Jump Street" concludes with a wild limo chase with you as a hostage. Was your real prom that exciting?
I didn't go to prom -- I was homeschooled. I didn't have that. I'm sure I did some wild things, but certainly not a limo chase or explosions. No drugs were taken, so it was not nearly as exciting.
Who is funnier off camera: Jonah Hill or Channing Tatum?
Oh, shoot. Highly controversial! That's really hard because both of them are pretty f***ing funny. I feel like Channing is the more surprising one that catches you off guard with his humor. Jonah is so quick and is always on it with one-liners. It's a toss-up!
What do you think happens to Molly and Schmidt after the end credits?
By the end of the movie, I want them to be together. I think it is fate, and there is an understanding between the two of them. I don't think they are going to get married, but maybe they date for a couple of months.
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Has there been any talk of a "21 Jump Street" sequel or Molly returning?
I do know there is a sequel, but I don't know anything about Molly being there or the setting of the film at all. It would be great. I would do it!
Did you record any fun extras for the DVD and Blu-ray?
They gave us cameras in New Orleans, so we did some silly skits and things between takes.
What was your favorite scene in the movie?
I really love Johnny Simmons' brief cameo at the beginning of the movie. He plays the kid who does the drug and dies and has the YouTube video. I thought it was so funny, it makes me cry. Also, I love when you see the melted ice cream-cone face. It was a totally different hallucination in the script, so when I saw it in the movie I was totally caught off guard.
You've released an album, toured and performed in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Where is your heart: acting or singing?
Oh, acting. Singing is an incredible expression and something that is important to me, but where I feel comfortable with how much I reveal about myself is acting. I enjoy the characters, the costumes, the wigs and just being a chameleon.
You were a bit of a wild child as Kate Gregson in "United States of Tara." In real life, do you think you were a rebellious teen?
I guess I was always an outsider and some kind of anarchist. I didn't have a regular school experience and wanted a more abstract way of learning. I started exploring in lots of different creative ways. It gave me the opportunity to travel and play music, so it was good for me.