Interview: Zack Pearlman Goes All The Way

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Photo courtesy Anderson Group PR.

For anyone questioning those 'Are you still a virgin' billboards around town, seek your answers no further than Zack Pearlman, charismatic co-star of the new Gary Sanchez-produced flick The Virginity Hit. If you haven't already seen the trailer, suffice it to say The Virginity Hit takes a very viral look at one teen's attempt to make his first time...ahem... memorable.

LAist recently spent some time with Pearlman as he jetted back in town between screenings, premieres, and making it home to Michigan. And while most people would be neck deep in cocaine habits by now, Zack doesn't seem to be letting all the talk go to his curly-haired head.

LAist: First things first: tell us about the process that brought you onboard The Virginity Hit.

ZP: I saw a contest on Funny Or Die that was ‘submit your most embarrassing story, and you might get the chance to audition for a movie produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’. I submitted what I thought was just an average story: my sister walked in on me ...you know... when I was 16. So years later, I tricked my sister into the submission video (with me) under false pretenses. She had completely repressed the memory of walking in on me, so what ended up happening is she had these Vietnam-like flashbacks while I was retelling the tale.

From there, Adam, Will and Owen (Burke) saw it, and they contacted me to say that I could fly myself out to New York to audition for the movie. I used the remainder of my bar mitzvah money to fly out, and had a call back while still in New York. I didn’t hear anything for two weeks, until I got a call and they invited me to Los Angeles to do the film.

How has this whole experience been for you, as a young and unknown first time actor?

It’s been a whirlwind. I never expected that in the last month I would not remember entire days. I’ve been trying to journal a lot, and I just read something from about a week ago, and I don’t even really remember that day at all. I felt like I wrote it in a different layer of a dream, like I’ve been in Inception and this did not really happen.

The movie feels like it presents itself as being crude, but plays out with a much more endearing undertone once you watch the film.

I agree. I think it was really impossible to market this film any other way, with a bunch of unknowns. But Sony had so much faith in us, and I think we delivered when it comes to the movie. I think the movie is so good, and not what people expect. You look at something like The Virginity Hit at face value, and probably see another raunchy teen comedy. And if you go into it like that, all you’ll do is pick out crude moments. But if you go into it with the idea that it may be more than what it seems, you’re going to get so much more out of it.

In a weird sense, this movie is actually mirroring you. You had an online video presence before this film, and in fact it helped you land the role.

It’s so weird that people are so open to be voyeuristic nowadays. People don’t care about their own privacy as long as they’re on a media platform; it doesn’t matter to them. All bets are off, and the walls are down. We have come to an age where everyone can see everyone’s everything. But that’s something us as youth are dealing with. I think we’re embracing it and trying to figure out how to use it in our everyday lives.

Now that the film has secured a wider release, what are your future plans?

Matt Bennett (co-star or The Virginity Hit) and I wrote a pilot that we shot together, I directed, we both starred in and produced. We’re also writing a feature. I’m weighing my options; I have some room to work with, and I’m just planning. Matt and I also have a production company called Little Old Man Boy.

Oh, wow. And is that just a vehicle for you to produce your own higher-quality content?

Yes and no. Matt and I are very good friends, and together we’re a strong duo. If you see the movie, the comedic chemistry between the two of us is very real. We know that we work well together and we love working together. That being said, we both also have the same comedic style, and are interested in the same type of stuff. We love Eastbound & Down, stuff that tends to run a little dark.

Finally, I know you’re from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Are you considered a hometown star now?

Everyone in Ann Arbor is pretty proud of me, but Iggy Pop is the hometown hero. Of the people to have come from Ann Arbor, Iggy Pop wins. Bob Seger’s also from Ann Arbor, so I’m at least in the running for third. It’s either me or Skippy the Skateboarding Dog.