How to Cast the Right Sensitive Geek


When it comes to portraying a sensitive geek in contemporary cinema, Michael Cera rules the roost. In fact, his take on the archetype — the fumbling, nerdy, well-intentioned, often slender, and ultimately triumphant protagonist all the young alt-girls want to be with and young alt-boys want to be — has been so successful that it’s hard to tell Cera apart from his onscreen permutations. But Cera’s not the only guy working the "sensitive geek" angle: In fact, just this week Jay Baruchel made a big play for increased Hollywood attention with his co-starring role in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (he plays the apprentice). And let us not forget the likes of Jesse Eisenberg (serious actor sensitive geek), Adam Brody (TV actor sensitive geek), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (relatively ungeeky sensitive geek). With so many options, what’s a movie producer to do? Why, by clicking your way through Vulture’s flowchart-based guide to casting sensitive geeks, of course.