Alfonso Gomez-Rejon: I coasted through high school

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon saw himself in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’s lead character.

The American director helms the new comedy drama about a high school student called Greg (Thomas Mann), who befriends his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) after she’s diagnosed with cancer.

It was Greg who drew Alfonso into the project, as he felt a personal connection with the fictional figure.

“Yes, I saw myself in him. That’s never happened to me before. I mean, you see yourself in different films. I saw myself as a 12-year-old, when I saw The Breakfast Club. I was this little Mexican kid from the border between Texas and Mexico and quite shy, but all of a sudden, when you see Anthony Michael Hall in that movie, saying everything you’re feeling, there’s a connection to that,” he explained to

“Sometimes you want to see connections and they’re not really there, but when I saw Greg, he’s very funny. I’m not funny. He’s smart, I’m not smart. But the way he was coasting through high-school was really [similar], on a superficial level, really.”

The movie was shot over a short period; 23-and-a-half days Alfonso points out. While some directors may struggle to create a worthy finished piece in that time, the star’s experience working in TV helped him complete it with ease.

Alfonso worked on hit shows Glee, The Carrie Diaries and American Horror Story before the film.

“Yes. Those schedules are absolutely insane in television. Sometimes, you get the script the day before. So you stay up all night and visualise it, and make your sketches, try to understand, try to prepare for the actors in case they have questions. But it is a rush [of adrenaline] when it works!” he explained.

With a taste for the big screen, Alfonso’s next movie is Collateral Beauty starring Rooney Mara, Will Smith and Jason Segel.

– Cover Media