When Michael Cera agreed to play a cameo role in his friend David Cross’s directorial film debut, Hits, it was an easy favor to do. By coincidence, just before he shot his scenes in late August, Cera moved into a new home a few blocks from the film’s set in Brooklyn Heights. “He said, ‘It’s so nice that I can just walk over here to do this movie,’ ” recalls New York photographer Mark Peterson, who spent the day shadowing the cast and crew. In Hits—which explores the nature of fame in the age of viral videos—Cera plays a pot dealer who disappoints his customers by arriving at their brownstone without their preferred type of cannabis and then tries to sell them on a substitute strain. “Before the scene,” says Peterson, “Michael and David were riffing together, trying to think up the goofiest names that they could for the types of pot in Michael’s inventory.” It was one of the final days of shooting, which meant that the atmosphere was relaxed—“Nobody was trying to find their character anymore, so they were loose,” says Peterson. “The actors were constantly joking with each other”—but more important, props were free for the taking. “Cera said something about not having any furniture,” says Peterson. “So somebody asked, ‘Do you want that chair?’ He left rolling an office chair down the street with a garbage can on it.”
*This article originally appeared in the November 11, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.