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Michael Cera Explains Why Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Continues To Reach Fans - Exclusive

Michael Cera has starred in more than his share of hits over the years, both in the movies and on TV, with films like "Superbad," "Juno," and "This is the End" to his credit, along with the now classic subversive sitcom "Arrested Development." One of his many films initially eluded the commercial success that many thought it was destined for: 2010's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

The movie, directed by Edgar Wright of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Baby Driver" fame, was based on a series of graphic novels by artist-writer Bryan Lee O'Malley in which a laconic would-be Toronto musician named Scott Pilgrim must meet the seven ex-boyfriends of his dream girl, Ramona Flowers, in battle and vanquish them before he can date her himself.

While the original six volumes of the series were award-winning best sellers and the movie was heavily promoted by Universal Pictures (including a gigantic poster down one side of a hotel at 2010's San Diego Comic-Con), "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" arrived in theaters with a resounding thud. It grossed just $49 million worldwide against a reported $85 million budget, despite positive reviews from critics.

However, something happened over the intervening years, as the movie developed a cult following and its 10th anniversary in 2020 was met with a number of new critical writings, a cast reunion for charity and even a new round of screenings across the US. Michael Cera, currently voicing the lead role in "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank," tells Looper in an exclusive interview that he's pleased to see the movie is still part of the zeitgeist: "I definitely think it's been a sleeper," he says. "I'm really glad that people are [still] connecting to it and finding it."

Michael Cera thinks Scott Pilgrim just needed time to find an audience

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" was in many ways not your standard comic book adaptation. The books were a surreal mix of manga-style esthetics, gamer culture and subverted superhero tropes, all of which were elements that Edgar Wright tried to incorporate to varying degrees in his movie.

The film failed to connect with a wider audience at first, perhaps because it was so different at the time from other comics-based movies. Yet over the years, it's become a sleeper – in entertainment terms, a property that is not successful at first but builds a following later on – and lead actor Michael Cera is just fine with that.

"I definitely think it's been a sleeper, in that more people are becoming aware of it as time goes by," he says now. "I don't know if that's unusual. That's [what can happen], but it's definitely ... a really nice feeling ... because when we made the movie, we all were so excited about it and having such a great time making it. I was sure that was going to come through in the movie, and I think it does. I'm really glad that people are [still] connecting to it and finding it."

In addition to Cera, and with a cast that also included future stars (and even future superheroes) like Chris "Captain America" Evans, Brie "Captain Marvel" Larson, Mary Elizabeth "Huntress" Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick, the influence of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is still being felt in pop culture today — and with an animated "Scott Pilgrim" project in the works at Netflix (via THR), the Canadian slacker superhero may be with us for a while to come.

"Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank" is now playing in theaters.