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Weidemeyer wasn’t an easy character to make likable on screen. As Eidson explains, “On the page, he’s already a whiny, obsessive asshole character, and I tried to keep him as realistic and sympathetic as possible. Scott is always intense, always at 11. Andrew and Katie were very detail-oriented about hand movements, eye movements, how many times he would point at people. It was a specific kind of a geek they were trying to talk about.”
Thankfully, Matthews and Graham also wanted an actor who truly looked the part, the genuine article instead of a pretty boy in “nerd drag,” as Graham puts it. Matthews says, “Even on a micro-budget movie, you still get pressure from people to cast a charming, hip actor to play the lead, and that would have obliterated the entire point of the movie, which was for the audience to learn empathy for a guy who doesn’t look like they want him to.”
Nerds and geeks may indeed find Zero Charisma hits too close to home, like musicians who at first couldn’t laugh at Spinal Tap because of its painful truths. Yet Zero Charisma is a much more sympathetic and empathetic look at the geek world, created by people who know it well, which clearly makes a big difference.
“The geeks have gotten a bad rap,” says Eidson. “I’ve heard from fans that love Zero Charisma who say it isn’t run of the mill; it definitely makes you think about geek culture and it definitely makes you think. Scott’s usually the side character you never really know about. This movie shines a light on what his life is like.”
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