Michael Cera Almost Quit Acting After 'Superbad' and 'Juno' Fame Made Him 'Uncomfortable'

Cera got his start as a child actor and was perhaps most famous for his role in 'Arrested Development' before his breakthrough in 2007.

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Michael Cera's big breakthrough came in 2007 when he starred in both Superbad and Juno just months apart, but he almost quit acting when the films made him an overnight celebrity.

In an interview with The Guardian, the 35-year-old opened up about how "overwhelming" he found his fame when he was just 19. "I didn’t know how to handle walking down the street. Fame makes you very uncomfortable in your own skin, and makes you paranoid and weird," he shared. "There were lots of great things about it, and I met a lot of amazing people, but there’s a lot of bad energies, too, ones that I was not equipped to handle.”

While Cera had been in a number of projects before the 2007 hits, the two movies thrust him into the spotlight in a way previous roles—such as George Michael Bluth on Arrested Development—hadn't.

"If people are drunk, and they recognize you, and they’re very enthusiastic, but it can be kind of toxic too. When you’re a kid, people also feel they can kind of grab you—they’re not that respectful of you or your physical space," he continued. "I didn’t know how to respectfully establish my own boundaries." The weekend Superbad hit theaters, Cera went to a bar with friends and he felt a "burning feeling" the whole time because he was conscious of how people were "so aware" of him.

The experience of sudden fame ultimately prompted him to take less commercial projects for some time. "There was a point where I wanted to stop taking jobs that would make me more famous," he said, noting that he turned down the opportunity to host Saturday Night Live at the time, too. "I was kind of having a bit of a crisis … I was really not enjoying the level of heat. ... I really didn’t know if I was going to keep being an actor."

When he considered taking a step back, he was already signed on for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, in which he played the lead role. The experience of working on the film with director Edgar Wright pulled him back in. "I was already committed to it and went and did it, and obviously feel so grateful that that happened," he said." I knew that it wasn’t just like constantly fanning the flames to get bigger and bigger. I knew that wasn’t really my goal. I think I wanted to be a working actor who can enjoy my day-to-day life, and the world that I’ve created for myself. I think that was the overall thing I was trying to figure out."

Cera is set to appear in Greta Gerwig's highly-anticipated Barbie, which is his highest-profile live-action role since he memorably played a fictionalized version of himself in 2013's This Is the End. He's been steadily working since then, however, appearing in a slew of independent projects. Cera has also briefly shown up in various TV series such as Twin Peaks in 2017, the Hulu series Life & Beth, and most recently an episode of Black Mirror.

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