Cooke explained how she worked to portray Rachel’s cancer as accurately as possible, researching and visiting a girl in a children’s hospital who had the same cancer as Rachel. However, Cooke refused to let Rachel’s cancer define her and her story.
“You don’t want to approach a young adult with cancer by going in and focusing on “she’s got cancer” because if you just do that, she becomes a victim and a tragic character and very flat to the audience. You miss out on all the layers. I wanted her to be strong. I wanted her to be a beacon of heart and strength,” she shared.
Although it was an intense film, the atmosphere onset was not always serious. All three actors cited one of the funnier moments as being a take in which Nick Offerman (who plays Greg’s eccentric dad) was bitten by the cat that he was holding and ruined the take by exclaiming “Ow.”
All three actors also described the energy onset as being unique and overwhelmingly positive.
“Everyone was just really excited to be there. I’ve never worked on a set where not one person was doing it for a paycheck. They were completely enamored by the script and wanted to do the best job possible. Everyone on the crew was just so stellar at what they did,” said Cooke.
Mann also agreed. “Everyone was constantly trying to push the movie forward and actively trying to make it better—which you don’t get on all movies.”
Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was one of the amazing people onset who the actors admired. We sat down with the lively and creative Gomez-Rejon, who told us how the experience of filming “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” was an incredibly personal one. Gomez-Rejon had recently lost his father when filming started so he looked to the film as a way of learning about his own grief through his creative mechanism of directing.