Musical theater geeks have been waiting for this one for a while. Richard LaGravenese’s adaptation of the Jason Robert Brown musical “The Last Five Years” stars Anna Kendrick, who has been singing her little head off ever since being nominated for a Tony Award as a child, and relative unknown Jeremy Jordan, who starred in “Joyful Noise” with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, in the stage adaptation of the Disney film “Newsies” and in a recurring role in NBC’s musical theater-themed drama “Smash.”
The story follows Jaime (Jordan), an up and coming novelist, and Cathy (Kendrick), an aspiring actress, on the journey of their five year relationship. But there’s an unexpected twist: Jaime’s side of the story is told in chronological order; his songs moving linearly through time. Cathy’s, however, moves backwards — her side of the story is told from the end of their relationship to the beginning.
Now that Jordan’s voice is about to hit the big screen alongside Kendrick in one of the theater community’s most beloved works, his star is definitely about to rise. Indiewire caught up with Jordan to ask him what it’s like to take part in things that have such cult followings, his humble roots as a choir boy and his superhero aspirations.
It was definitely the best film experience that I’ve ever had. One, because we were doing something that we all loved so much, and we wanted to do it justice. Two, we were sort of creating it in a new way, so it was very collaborative, we had lots of talks, and we kind of staged a lot of the stuff around our conversations, and the director really allowed us to explore what organically would come out of these scenes. It was a really great, intimate process, and because of that, I felt like my voice was really heard.
It’s easier doing something that has a cult following when you were in the cult yourself. So [for both “Newsies” and “The Last Five Years”], I was doing what I thought I would have wanted to see. I was kind of doing justice for my younger self that was obsessed with these projects. I think it’s important, when you’re doing something like that, to be invested in the way that all the crazy fans have been invested in for so long. I think if you can get on that level, you can create something that they can be proud of.
I kind of fell into [singing and acting] late in high school. I always liked
to sing, but I was really, really, really shy, so I didn’t do it in front of
anybody, and my mom kind of suckered me into joining choir, so I started
opening up a little bit more, and then I kind of got goaded into doing some
theater work when I was just starting high school — and I caught the bug, but
I think I was really just mugging on stage and making faces, I wasn’t really
acting. [laughs] But I was having fun, and that was important.
The ups and downs of pursuing theater are still happening. They’re up and down everyday. You get told ‘no’ a hell of a lot more times than you get told ‘yes.’ It’s really a lesson in humility, and a lesson in learning to let things go and not take things personally, but also growing, and striving to become better. I did my share of waiting and cater-waitering, and I did music for kids, just jobs that were paying nothing, but still kind of allowed me to continue doing things. Now I’m sticking my foot into TV and film — I’m just trying to expand in all directions, as wide as I can. Without any kind of restraints, I’m open to anything — and it’s exciting.
I want to do a lot more comedy. I mean, I love
dramatic stuff too, but I’ve had more of an opportunity to do dramatic stuff
than comedy stuff. In fact, my favorite thing to do in “The Last
Five Years” were the funny, sillier moments. I’d never really
gotten a chance to express that side of myself on film yet. That’s kind of
who I am at the core; I’m a total goofball. I was chubby as a kid, so I’m like
a character actor at heart. Nobody would ever cast me as a character actor, but
I approach a lot of roles like that, because it’s interesting to me. So, yeah.
I think I would rather — I’d really like to do more comedy, but listen: I’m
open for anything. I also want to be a superhero, so give me those roles!