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Kenyon on the Big Screen

Kenyon alum Josh Radnor ’96 returns to film Liberal Arts.

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11


August Steigmeyer

Josh Radnor '96 directed his latest film on campus this summer.

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

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August Steigmeyer and Mike Munden

Reilly Brock '12 said he had several close movie star encounters, but never got to know them. "I was behind Josh Radnor for a while, [but] I didn't really say hi. I didn't feel like that would be appropriate," he said. "He seemed stressed out. I think it was just a lot for him to do. I'd imagine Mr. Radnor was a stressed-out guy."

Arbery had a similar impression "Josh was a very busy man on set," he said. "Being a writer-actor-producer-director is no small feat, and he would frequently say that he was doing too much. But he always said it like he had it under control, and he did. … From what I can tell, the crew loved working for him, and he was so great to us Kenyon kids. He really made sure we had a great experience."


Zac Efron

"I heard rumors that Zac Efron was coming on the first day I started working, which was about a week and a half before shooting," Arbery said. "I was not allowed to mention him at all. We didn't want extras coming just because Zac Efron was in it. We didn't want them to tell their friends and bring cameras and spoil the quiet, concentrated set."

Efron's "Nat" is "a pivotal character in the movie," according to Radnor. The High School Musical star was on campus from June 17-18 and completed all his scenes in that time. Most Kenyon students (and visiting OSU students) saw Efron during the filming of the party scene in the DKE lounge in the Old Kenyon basement, which required many extras.

"One night I had to get 80 extras for an Old Kenyon party scene, and when the Second Assistant Director came in and told them that Zac Efron was coming, there was a collective gasp and then a flurry of whispers," Arbery said.

"[Efron] was walking by, getting ready to do another take, and he winked right at me," Kaitlin Graff '12 said. "I've been working on my winking ever since so the next time I see him I'll be ready."

Radnor said he and Efron became friendly at the Maui Film Festival last year. "He was there and Happythankyoumoreplease was playing there and we hung out," Radnor said. "We just really enjoyed talking to each other and stayed in touch. I said I had this role and Jesse [Hara], my producer, and I talked about it. [We] decided that [Efron] would be great in the role, and he was. We whisked him in under cover of darkness and got him out before a lot of people knew he was there."

They may have whisked him out of Gambier a little too quickly, however. When the crew needed different angles of the shots of Efron, they called in Arbery to act as his body double nearly a week after the party scene was first filmed. "We couldn't finish the entirety of his scene one night," Arbery said. "We needed to turn the camera around and get the coverage on Josh. I memorized all of Zac's lines and wore his costume … I don't know if I'm allowed to tell this story."


Release Date

Radnor's previous film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2010. Radnor said he does not know if he will follow the same path with Liberal Arts. "We're [editing] it right now, and we're going to have that discussion soon, so I really don't know what the plan is for this," he said. "I imagine it will involve film festivals, but we're not sure yet. It's still very early in the process."

After Sundance, Radnor came to Kenyon to show Happythankyoumoreplease, and he said he would like to do that again with Liberal Arts. "Again, it's really early in the process, but certainly I'm going to have to show [Liberal Arts] at Kenyon at some point," he said.

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