A fast-paced comedy that reflects our generation's fears of growing up in a post-9/11 world, the film sees Roberts playing an obnoxious but likeable post-college girl named Amy trying to cope with a mountain of debt and a degree in Poetry to show for it. Cut off by her disillusioned parents, Amy works at a sex shop managed by Alex (Peters), to pay back her loans. Cusack plays Amy's poetic idol, Rat but the most amusing scenes come from Armando Riesco, who plays Rubia, a trans man who befriends Amy at the sex store and whose scenes are worth the price of the movie ticket alone. We talked to Cochran about how Adult World came to be, shitty post-college jobs and what's next for the young screenwriter.
How did you get started as a screenwriter? Did you study film/writing in college?
No, I majored in English. I'm from Houston originally and moved to L.A. after graduating because I wanted to work in film, and then I started reading scripts that were selling and I thought, "These are terrible! I can write just as bad as this." And I sold my first script. Which is now Adult World.
Can you give us an overview of what the movie is about?
It's about how college doesn't prepare you for the real world. You spend your entire life in school and you're given this artificial structure and then you get out into the world and you have no idea what to do with yourself. And you think you've gone to a good school, but nobody honestly gives a shit. Just overall, it's about the expectation of a generation that the world is just waiting for you.
I'm guessing you had that experience yourself?
Haha yeah. I mean, it was very personal when I wrote it because I moved out to L.A. and was literally working as an assistant, buying this dude condoms and feeding his cat.
Adult World trailer
Emma Roberts is like the official face of this generation. Tell me about her role in the film.
I didn't really have anyone in mind when I wrote it honestly but she became what I had imagined. In the hands of the wrong actor, you'd hate the protagonist but with Emma, she's so naturally likable, you're on board with her.
What do you think is most unlikable about Emma's character?
It's not that she's unlikable, it's just that her personality is painfully disconnected from other people's perceptions and values. She's naïve to a fault and her aspirations are really counterproductive to her own happiness. She has that millennial disorder where we're taught to believe we need to be famous to matter -- and that's absurd. Ultimately that's the lesson I hope kids in Amy's place take away from Adult World...just relax and try to be happy before you shoot for fame and success.
What's next for you?
I'm writing a couple of features now, and a TV pilot. One of the features is for me to direct -- it's a dark indie comedy.