Zoe Kazan wonders ‘What If’ …

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Actress Zoe Kazan teams up with Daniel Radcliffe in “What If,” a romantic dramedy that delves into a relationship of best friends facing the possibility of becoming romantically involved.

Kazan called recently to chat about how she thinks this movie is different than so many romantic comedies that we see so often. “What If” opens Friday.

Q: Many people believe that the best romances start first as friendships. Do you?

A: I do agree, though I never have had a romantic relationship that started that way, but my parents did — and they’ve been married thirty-something years, so I know second-hand that it works!

Q: How do you think ‘What If’ is different from other romantic comedies?

A: I think the average romantic comedies are about when people are with the wrong people, or the way those films usually dwell on issues that arise from misunderstanding or miscommunication and stuff like that. I think they often gloss over the reasons why people actually LIKE each other! [Laughs]

But I think it’s interesting here — to have a whole movie that’s about why two people truly are drawn to each other.

Q: Much is made of ‘opposites attract.’ But here it’s not that way, is it?

A: I love watching their friendship and how much they had in common. One of the things I talked to Elan Mastal, the writer, about for quite a bit was how funny it was to me that whole concept of ‘just friends’ was. I actually think a friendship often is more durable and valuable than a love relationship. In this film, because Wallace and Chantry are such good friends, is why you root for them.

Q: What was it like working with Daniel Radcliffe?

A: I loved working with him. I think people will be really surprised by his performance in this movie. He was so naturally funny and quick.

Q: How do you think he’s moved on from his “Harry Potter” image?

A: I’m so impressed by him. I also think he’s made great choices of roles after the ‘Harry Potter’ films. He also has such a great reputation in the industry. The way he worked with people backstage at the theaters he worked in, or the crew on the set of our movie for example. The all just fawned over him. There’s a real sense that he’s one of the guys. That speaks highly of his character.

Q: Of course, one of the funny recurring things in ‘What If,’ is that ‘Fool’s Gold” sandwich — made of peanut butter, heavily buttered bread, jam and a huge amount of bacon. You’re so tiny, I can’t imagine you ever really being able to eat one of those! Right?

A: Oh my God, Bill! I have two pieces of pizza right in front of me now — trying to eat silently, while we talk! I’m so hungry. But, that said — I think ‘Fool’s Gold’ is disgusting. It is the grossest thing I ever put in my mouth.

Q: So pretending to love it was REAL acting, eh?

A: You bet! That was tough! I was grossed out, but Dan thought it was delicious!

Q: What was it like working with your director, Michael Dowse, here?

A: I first met Mike when they first offered this role to me. I was in Toronto actually promoting ‘Ruby Sparks.’ I was so shocked when I saw pictures of him online. I had seen [his earlier film] ‘Goons,’ and I loved that movie. But I wasn’t expecting what he looked like, compared to how he sounded on the phone. … He’s the biggest person I had ever met in my life. He’s huge. He’s easily twice me and Daniel’s size put together. He used to be a football player. He’s a huge dude. He’s like a giant teddy bear. I totally fell in love with him, the first time I met him. He actually reminded me the most — of all the directors I’ve worked with — of Richard Linklater, who I did “Me and Orson Welles” with. Richard Linklater was a baseball player, and Mike comes from hockey and football and they both have that good coach vibe to them. There’s a lot of positive energy on the set — a lot of backslapping and high-fives and thumbs-up. I really like that, because it feels unpretentious to me.

Q: Do you have a favorite scene?

A: I really like that first diner scene where we’re talking about issues. That scene is really funny. That scene also has the most improv-ing in it — and Dan really made me laugh that day. I also really loved the scene where we went skinny-dipping in Lake Ontario. That was fun to shoot. I had never gone skinny dipping at night in a public place like that. That was fun to do. But with our crew watching – that was a bit of trip, of course. It was f-ing freezing. It was the end of September, so it was really not warm.  But it was fun. … I mean, when else am I going to go skinny dipping in Lake Ontario?!

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