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Michael Cera

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Michael Cera
Cera in 2012
Michael Austin Cera

(1988-06-07) June 7, 1988 (age 36)
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • musician
Years active1999–present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • bass

Michael Austin Cera (/ˈsɛrə/ SERR; Italian: [ˈtʃeːra]; born June 7, 1988)[1] is a Canadian actor. Known for portraying awkward, shy, and offbeat characters, his most recognized roles include Evan in Superbad and Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

He has had numerous roles in United States television and film productions, and is particularly known for playing the aforementioned character of Evan in Superbad (2007), along with Paulie Bleeker in Juno (2007), Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (2023), a fictional version of himself in This Is the End (2013), and Allan in Barbie (2023). Other starring roles include in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), and Youth in Revolt (2009). Cera also has had dramatic roles in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Molly's Game (2017), and Gloria Bell (2019). He voiced Dick Grayson/Robin in The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Barry in Sausage Party (2016), and Sal Viscuso, the voice behind the announcements in Childrens Hospital.

Cera is also known for his Broadway performances in the Kenneth Lonergan plays This Is Our Youth in 2014, Lobby Hero in 2018, for which he received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, and The Waverly Gallery in 2019. In addition to acting, Cera is a musician, having released his debut album True That in 2014. Cera has also performed as the touring bassist for indie rock supergroup Mister Heavenly.

Early life

Cera was born on June 7, 1988, in Brampton, Ontario. He is the son of Linda (née Cockman) and Luigi Cera, a technician. He is of Sicilian descent through his father.[2] His parents both worked for Xerox.[3] Cera has an older sister, Jordan, and a younger sister, Molly. He became interested in acting after viewing Ghostbusters repeatedly when sick with the chicken pox at the age of three.[4] Cera memorized all the dialogue and idolized Bill Murray.[5] He enrolled in The Second City, Toronto, and took improvisation classes.[5]

Cera attended Conestoga Public School, Robert H. Lagerquist Senior Public School, and Heart Lake Secondary School until grade nine. After starting acting, he completed school online through grade 12.[6][7]


1999–2008: Child acting and breakthrough

His first role was an unpaid appearance in a Tim Hortons summer camp commercial.[6][7][8] That appearance eventually landed him a position in a Pillsbury commercial, in which he poked the Pillsbury Doughboy and had his first role with lines.[9]

In 1999, Cera was cast as Larrabe Hicks in the Canadian children's show I Was a Sixth Grade Alien, which ran for two seasons.[10] That year, he also appeared in the television films What Katy Did and Switching Goals, starring the Olsen twins.[11]

The next year Cera made his theatrical film debut in the science fiction film Frequency (2000) as the son of Noah Emmerich's character.[11] Cera also appeared in the films Steal This Movie! and Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream in 2000. He had his first leading role in the latter film, which was presented in IMAX theaters.[12][13] Cera appeared in several television films in 2001, including My Louisiana Sky and The Familiar Stranger. He also began voicing Josh Spitz in the animated series Braceface, which he continued until 2004.[11]

In 2002, Cera played the young Chuck Barris (played by Sam Rockwell) in the George Clooney-directed film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.[14] He provided the voice for Brother Bear – an anthropomorphic bear – in the 2003 The Berenstain Bears animated series, which aired for three seasons.[13]

"Arrested Development never felt safe. Even the first season, we did thirteen episodes, and we thought we'd never do a back nine. So I never thought in a million years we'd get to make three seasons. I was happy we got that far. I thought it was really good, and I'm really proud of it. I don't think we made a bad episode."

—Michael Cera, Esquire (2009)[9]

He had a role in the critically panned Fox pilot The Grubbs in 2002, which was never aired.[15][16] But Cera successfully auditioned for a part in another Fox sitcom, Arrested Development. This began airing in November 2003 and ran for three seasons.[16] The show follows the formerly wealthy and dysfunctional Bluth family, with Cera playing George Michael Bluth, the teenage son of character Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman.[17] After three seasons, Fox canceled the series in 2006 due to low viewership, although it had received critical acclaim.[18] In 2006, Cera created and starred in a parody of Impossible is Nothing, a video résumé created by Aleksey Vayner.[19] Cera and his Arrested Development co-star Alia Shawkat guest-starred as a pair of college students in the teen noir drama Veronica Mars, in the episode "The Rapes of Graff" in 2006.[20]

Along with best friend Clark Duke, Cera wrote and starred in a series of short videos released on their website.[16] Duke originated the idea, as he was enrolled at Loyola Marymount University and used their videos for his film school studies.[21] In 2007, the pair signed a deal with CBS Television to write, produce, direct, and act in a short-form comedy series entitled Clark and Michael. The show featured guest stars such as David Cross, Andy Richter and Patton Oswalt, and was distributed via CBS's internet channel, CBS Innertube.[22]

Cera in 2007

In May 2007, Cera appeared in a staged comedy video that shows him being fired from the lead role of the film Knocked Up, after belittling and arguing with its director Judd Apatow, in a scene that mocks the David O. Russell blow up on the set of I Heart Huckabees.[16] Cera starred in the Apatow-produced teen comedy Superbad alongside Jonah Hill. Their characters in the film – two virgin teenagers about to graduate from high school whose party plans go awry – were based on the comedy's writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.[23] Superbad was released in cinemas in August 2007, topping the US box office for two weeks in a row.[24]

Cera's performance was critically acclaimed: The Atlantic reviewer said that the film "belongs to Michael Cera" for capturing "teenage sexual abashment as indelibly as he did in the role of George Michael [on Arrested Development]."[25] The New York Times said that he was "excellent" and CNN praised Cera and Hill for playing "off each other beautifully".[26][27]

In November 2007, Cera hosted a live, staged version of Saturday Night Live; it was not broadcast due to the ongoing 2007 Writers Guild of America Strike.[28][7] In his second film of 2007, Cera co-starred in Juno as Paulie Bleeker, a teenager who has impregnated his long-time school friend Juno (played by Elliot Page).[29] For Superbad and Juno, Cera won Breakthrough Artist in the Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2007, and was included in Entertainment Weekly's "30 Under 30" list in February 2008.[30][31]

Cera starred alongside Kat Dennings in the romantic comedy-drama Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), in which they played two strangers who bond over their shared love of a band and try to find their secret show.[32] He starred in the comedy Extreme Movie (2008), which was composed of vignettes focusing on teen sex.[33] Cera held a recurring role on the comedy series Childrens Hospital from 2008 to 2016 as Sal Viscuso, a hospital staffer who is known only by his voice through an intercom.[34]

2009–2013: Varied success and stage debut

Cera dressed as Captain America to promote Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con

Cera played a fictionalized version of himself in the independent romantic comedy Paper Heart (2009). It explored the fictional relationship between Cera and the film's writer Charlyne Yi, also playing herself. Cera and Yi composed the film's score together.[35] That year Cera starred opposite Jack Black in the comedy Year One, set during the Stone Age. The film, directed by Harold Ramis, was poorly received, although Time magazine critic Mary Pols said that Cera's performance saved the film from being a "catastrophe".[36] In his final film of 2009, Cera starred in Youth in Revolt, an adaptation of the eponymous novel. He played a shy teenager named Nick Twisp who creates a destructive alter ego, François Dillinger, after becoming smitten with a girl, played by Portia Doubleday.[16][37]

Cera had also begun to write. His first published short story, "Pinecone", appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly thirtieth issue in 2009.[38]

Cera was cast as Scott Pilgrim in the film adaptation of the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. The film's director, Edgar Wright, had seen his work in Arrested Development and believed that Cera was an actor "audiences will still follow even when the character is being a bit of an ass."[39] The film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, follows Pilgrim, a musician who must battle the seven evil exes of his girlfriend Ramona (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). It was released in cinemas in August 2010. It did poorly at the box office, grossing $47.7 million against a production budget of $85–90 million.[40][41]

Cera made a guest appearance in "The Daughter Also Rises", a 2012 episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons, as the voice of Nick, a love interest to Lisa Simpson.[42]

Cera made his theater debut in a production of Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth in a two-week run during March 2012 at the Sydney Opera House. The play also featured his Scott Pilgrim co-stars Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson.[43] A Broadway production at the Cort Theater opened in September 2014 and closed in January 2015. The New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley praised Cera for achieving "something remarkable": "the sense of an amorphous being assuming and losing shape in the course of roughly 12 hours".[44] Also in 2012, Cera played a supporting role in the drama The End of Love and appeared in the short film The Immigrant.[45][46]

Arrested Development was revived for a fourth season in 2012 by Netflix, with Cera reprising his role as George Michael Bluth. Cera also worked in the writers' room and served as a consulting producer during its production.[47] The season was released in May 2013.[48]

Cera collaborated with Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva on two films in 2013 – Magic Magic and Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus – both of which were filmed in Chile and premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.[49] He spent "five hours a day learning Spanish" for Magic Magic.[50] Cera was featured most prominently in Crystal Fairy, in which he starred as a self-absorbed man travelling Chile with a woman named "Crystal Fairy" (played by Gaby Hoffmann) while bearing a cactus.[49] Along with Reggie Watts, Tim & Eric, and Sarah Silverman, Cera created the web-based comedy YouTube channel Jash in March 2013, where he has posted short films which he directs and/or stars in.[51][52] These films include the comedy-drama Gregory Go Boom (2013), in which Cera played a paraplegic man, and his directorial debut Brazzaville Teen-Ager (2013), co-starring Charles Grodin as his sick father.[53][54] He played an exaggerated version of himself in the apocalyptic comedy film This Is the End, which was released in summer of 2013 and featured his Superbad co-stars Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen.[55] Throughout 2013, Cera also appeared on Burning Love, a web spoof of reality dating competition shows,[56] and on an episode of Drunk History as John Endecott. Cera had previously played Alexander Hamilton in a comedic retelling of Hamilton's duel with Aaron Burr on the show's first episode as a web series in 2008 before it was adapted into a television show.[57]


Cera appeared with his Arrested Development co-star David Cross' 2014 film Hits, playing a marijuana dealer.[58] He also co-starred alongside John Hawkes and Sally Hawkins in Charlie Kaufman's television pilot How & Why, which was rejected by FX.[59] After a brief, "menacing" appearance in the drama Entertainment (2015),[60] Cera appeared in the prequel to the 2001 comedy film Wet Hot American Summer, the comedy series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and in the Christmas musical comedy film A Very Murray Christmas as Bill Murray's fictional talent agent.[61] Cera then voiced a hot dog trying to escape his fate in a supermarket in the animated comedy Sausage Party (2016).[62] In 2015, Cera made a cameo on Louis C.K.'s Louie on FX, in the season five episode "Sleepover" alongside Glenn Close, John Lithgow, and Matthew Broderick.[63]

Cera had five film releases in 2017, the first of which was the animated superhero comedy The Lego Batman Movie, in which he voiced the Batman's sidekick Robin.[62] He played a supporting role as a sleazy car salesman in the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover and co-starred in Janicza Bravo's first full-length feature, the comedy-drama Lemon. He played an actor described as having a "wedge of hair that makes him look like Frédéric Chopin crossed with Eraserhead", by Variety critic Owen Gleiberman.[64][65] Cera starred opposite Abbi Jacobson in the drama Person to Person, focusing on the struggles of different people over the course of one day in New York City. Cera and Jacobson are featured as a pair of crime reporters investigating a possible murder.[66] In his final film of the year, Aaron Sorkin's crime drama Molly's Game, Cera played a celebrity known only as Player X who participates in a high-stakes, underground poker empire run by Molly Bloom (played by Jessica Chastain). Cera's fictional character in the film was said to be a composite character of celebrity poker players and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck.[67]

A "giant fan" of director David Lynch,[62] Cera made a guest appearance in the 2017 revival of Lynch and Mark Frost's television show Twin Peaks in the show's fourth episode, as Wally "Brando" Brennan, the son of Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan and his wife Lucy Brennan.[68] The appearance contained several references to the work of actor Marlon Brando: Wally shares the same birthday and is nicknamed after Brando.[68] Cera returned to the stage in March 2018, starring in a second Kenneth Lonergan production, Lobby Hero, at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway. The play also stars Chris Evans, Brian Tyree Henry and Bel Powley.[69] Cera and Henry were both nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play at the 72nd Tony Awards.[70] Cera return to Broadway in October 2018, starring in a third Kenneth Lonergan production, a revival of The Waverly Gallery at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway. Cera took a supporting role as a painter acting alongside Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, and Joan Allen.[71]

Cera co-starred in the 2018 film drama Gloria Bell, with Julianne Moore as the title character.[72] Cera returned to his role as George Michael Bluth in the fifth season of Arrested Development in 2018.[73] In 2021, Cera lent his voice to the adult animated film Cryptozoo.[74] Cera appeared in the 2022 animated comedy Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank about a dog who wishes to become a samurai.[75] In 2023, he starred opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the fantasy comedy film Barbie as Allan. In August 2023, he said he was working on getting financing to direct his first movie,[76] naming an adaptation of Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis as one of two possible directorial debuts, having narrowly beaten out Clark Duke when first securing the adaptation rights.[77][78]


Cera performing in 2011

In 2010, Cera contributed mandolin and backing vocals to the Weezer song "Hang On" from their album Hurley.[79] Cera has also established himself as the touring bass player in Mister Heavenly, an indie rock band originating in the American northwest,[80] and is a member of the band The Long Goodbye, along with Clark Duke.[81] Cera also played bass and sang back up during songs in both Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. He released his full-length debut album True That on August 8, 2014, through his official Bandcamp page.[82][83] The album features 19 original tracks, a cover of Roderick Falconer's "Play It Again" as well as a cover of Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons."[84]

In early 2015, Canadian musician Alden Penner released "Meditate", a track from his upcoming EP Canada in Space, which features Cera. Penner subsequently announced that the EP would be released on June 29, 2015, on City Slang records, as well as a European tour of the UK, Netherlands, France, and Germany, which featured Cera as both co-headliner and member of Penner's backing band.[85][86] The song "Best I Can" from the film Dina, written and performed by Cera and featuring Sharon Van Etten, was nominated for 'Best Song in a Documentary' at the 2017 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.[87]

Personal life

Cera has been very private about his personal life.[88] In 2016, Aubrey Plaza made public that the pair had dated for about 18 months after filming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in 2010 and considered getting married. The two remain friends.[89]

In March 2022, Amy Schumer accidentally revealed that Cera was a father.[88] Later that month, he revealed to Extra that the baby was a six-month-old boy with his wife Nadine.[90]

As of August 2023, Cera resides in New York City.[91][92]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Frequency Gordy Hersch Jr. (Age 10)
Steal This Movie! america Hoffman (Age 7–8)
Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream Young Zac
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Chuck Barris (Age 8–11)
2007 Superbad Evan
Juno Paulie Bleeker
2008 Extreme Movie Fred
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Nick O'Leary
2009 Paper Heart Himself
Year One Oh
Youth in Revolt Nick Twisp / François Dillinger
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation Scott Pilgrim Short film; voice
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
2012 The End of Love Michael
The Immigrant Michael Short film
2013 Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus Jamie
Magic Magic Brink Also executive producer
Brazzaville Teen-Ager Gunther Short film; also director and writer
Failure Man Short film; also director and writer
This Is the End Himself
Gregory Go Boom Gregory Short film
Bitch Himself Short film; also director and writer
2014 Hits Bennie
2015 Entertainment Tommy
That Dog Tim Short film
A Very Murray Christmas Jackie the Talent Agent
2016 Sausage Party Barry Voice
Man Rots from the Head Sydney Ward Short film
2017 Person to Person Phil
Lemon Alex
The Lego Batman Movie Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin Voice
How to Be a Latin Lover Remy
Cooking with Alfred Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin Voice; Short film
Molly's Game Player X
2018 Tyrel Alan
Spivak Robby LeBeau
Gloria Bell Peter
2021 Cryptozoo Matthew Voice
2022 Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Hank Voice
2023 The Adults Eric
Barbie Allan
Dream Scenario Trent
Under the Boardwalk Armen Voice
2024 Christmas Eve in Miller's Point
Sacramento Glenn
TBA The Phoenician Scheme TBA Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Twice in a Lifetime Skateboarder #2 Episode: "The Blame Game"
1999–2001 I Was a Sixth Grade Alien Larrabe Hicks Recurring role
1999 Noddy Butch Episode: "Big Bullies"
Switching Goals Taylor Television film
What Katy Did Dorry Television film
2000 La Femme Nikita Jerome Episode: "He Came from Four"
Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series Benjamin Voice; Episode: "The Best Partner"
2001 George Shrinks Hurlden Cadwell Voice; Episode: "Speed Shrinks"
Doc Max 2 episodes
The Ripping Friends Boy Boy/Young Boy Voice; 2 episodes
Stolen Miracle Brandon McKinley Television film
My Louisiana Sky Jesse Wade Thompson Television film
The Familiar Stranger Young Ted Welsh Television film
Walter and Henry Crying Kid Television film
2001–2004 Braceface Josh Spitz Voice; Main role
2003–2004 The Berenstain Bears Brother Bear Voice; Main role
2003 Rolie Polie Olie Little Gizmo Voice; 4 episodes
Pecola Robbie Rabbit Voice; Main role
Arrested Development George Michael Bluth Main role
Producer (season 4 and 5)
2005 Wayside Todd Voice; Episode: "Pilot"
2006 Veronica Mars Dean Rudolph Episode: "The Rapes of Graff"
Tom Goes to the Mayor Scrotch Voice; Episode: "Undercover"
2007 Clark and Michael Mikey Cera Also co-creator, director, writer, editor and producer
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Jamie Stevens Episode: "Cats"
2008–2016 Childrens Hospital Sal Viscuso Voice; Recurring role
2012 The Simpsons Nick Voice; Episode: "The Daughter Also Rises"
2012, 2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself 2 episodes
2013 Arcade Fire in Here Comes the Night Time Spanish Bartender Television special
Burning Love Wally 6 episodes
2013–2016 Drunk History Various 3 episodes
2014 Saturday Night Live Surrogate Episode: "Jonah Hill/Bastille"
How and Why Mendelsohn Pilot
2015 Louie Young Man Episode: "Sleepover"
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Jim Stansel 3 episodes
2017 Twin Peaks Wally "Brando" Brennan Episode: "Part 4"
2018 The Shivering Truth Delmer Voice; Episode: "Chaos Beknownst"
2019 Weird City Tawny Episode: "A Family"
2020 Medical Police Sal Viscuso 3 episodes
At Home with Amy Sedaris Travis Episode: "Valentine's Day"
2022 The Boys Presents: Diabolical Great Wide Wonder Voice; Episode: "I'm Your Pusher"
2022–present Life & Beth John Main role
2023 Celebrity Jeopardy! Himself 2 episodes
Black Mirror Beppe Episode: "Joan Is Awful"
Command Z Kerning Fealty Web series
Praise Petey[93] Little Einstein Voice; 2 episodes
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off Scott Pilgrim Voice; Main role
2024 Sausage Party: Foodtopia Barry Voice


Year Title Role Theatre
2012 This Is Our Youth Warren Straub Sydney Opera House
2014 Steppenwolf Theatre
Cort Theatre
2018 Lobby Hero Jeff Helen Hayes Theatre
The Waverly Gallery Don Bowman John Golden Theatre


Studio albums



  • Cera, Michael (November 25, 2013). "My man Jeremy". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. Vol. 89, no. 38. pp. 62–67.

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
2002 My Louisiana Sky Young Artist Award Supporting Young Actor - Television Nominated
2004 Arrested Development TV Land Award TV Land Future Classic Award Won
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2006 Nominated
2007 Juno Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Performer Won
Austin Film Critics Association Breakthrough Artist Award Won
Superbad Won
2008 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Young Performer Nominated
Juno Nominated
Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Superbad Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Performance Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Juno Best Kiss (Shared with Elliot Page) Nominated
Best Male Performance Nominated
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Satellite Awards Best Actor: Comedy or Musical Nominated
Superbad Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout: Male Nominated
Juno Choice Movie: Liplock (Shared with Elliot Page) Won
Best Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout: Male Nominated
Himself Choice Comedian Nominated
2009 BAFTA Rising Star Award Nominated
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Music/Dance Nominated
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Satellite Awards Best Actor: Comedy or Musical Won
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action Nominated
2014 Arrested Development Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2018 Lobby Hero Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominated
2023 Barbie Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated

See also


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