You may know Sam Lerner as Geoff, the former Erica-obsessed character on the Goldbergs. I had the chance to chat with Sam about Geoff and his work on films such as Project Almanac and Monster House!
Can you give us any details about what Geoff will be up to this season?
This season for Geoff is different than it’s been in the past. With season 4, he is dating Evy and his love for Erica has subsided…for now at least. (laughs) It’ll be interesting to see what the writers have planned for Geoff and whether or not he and Erica will get together. I’m just as excited as anyone else to see if they will!
Since this show takes place in the 80s, did you do any research on how to act like you are a teenager from the 80s?
With the show being set in the 80’s it’s definitely a learning experience on playing an authentic teenager from that time. A lot of the times in table reads there will be a reference I don’t understand, and so we’ll ask questions to the writers. It’s fun, though. I love watching 80’s movies as “homework.” Before last year I had never seen Dirty Dancing or Heathers, so I had to watch them so when I showed up on set, I would know what the heck I was talking about. (laughs) I love 80’s movies, so it’s basically the coolest homework ever.
What is your favorite thing about playing Geoff, who was a little on the stalkerish side when it came to Erica? (Now he has a girlfriend who is not Erica! No!)
(laughs) Playing Geoff is so much fun. I’m so happy the writers have expanded my role so much and made me a potential love interest for Erica. I love that Geoff gets to show two sides. On the one hand, he’s this silly, kinda dumb guy who hangs out with Barry and the JTP and acts crazy, but on the other hand, he has this very sweet and earnest side to him that he gets to show when it comes to his relationship with Evy and his deep down love for Erica. It’s fun for me as an actor to be able to show both sides of him.
You were in the film Project Almanac. Did you get to work in close collaboration besides Michael Bay?
Project Almanac was the coolest film to work on! Michael Bay produced it, but he wasn’t on set. I really got to know Michael after we shot the movie, and he had a lot of creative input on the whole process. He’s a great guy, who is such a pro at what he does, it was a really cool experience to get to work for a man like him.
Did you find there to be a big difference between acting on a movie set and acting on a TV set? Is there one you prefer over the other?
As an actor, it’s honestly just amazing to be working. On a film like Project Almanac, especially one where I play the kind of funny best friend, there’s a lot more room for improvisation and bringing myself to the character, whereas with a TV show there’s an entire staff of writers that make every line and beat specific. TV is a little more formulaic. But I can’t really say I like one over another. I’ve been fortunate enough to be working for the past few years, and that itself is awesome.
You voiced a character in Monster House which I loved when I was a kid. (Although it did freak me out a bit!) Can you talk a bit about doing a voice acting role?
Monster House is probably one of the most amazing jobs I ever will work on. It was motion capture, which is that technology using infrared cameras and skin-tight suits with reflective sensors on them, so that it’s not just simple animation, they actually digitally track your movements and incorporate them into the character. As a 12-year-old kid, that was so cool. That technology was still pretty new back then, so it would be interesting to see how much its grown.
Is there a particular scene in mind in The Goldberg that has been your favorite to film? And why?
Last season doing Dirty Dancing was so much fun. For the actual dance part, even though it only lasted about a minute on the show, Hayley and I did like a week of rehearsals to prepare ourselves. I am a terrible dancer, so it was kind if a challenge, but I think we actually pulled it off. That episode was probably my favorite.
At Talk Nerdy With Us, we all nerd out over different things. Whether it be movies, TV, books, etc. We all have something we fangirl/fanboy about. Be honest, what do you nerd out over? It can be anything!
(laughs) I nerd out over anything Larry David related. I was at a friend’s birthday dinner last weekend, and he was at the table next to us and I full on had a panic attack. I was so starstruck. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I ask Jeff Garlin questions about it all the time. Stoked that they’re doing another season…I relate to Larry so much, which could be a bad thing. (laughs)
You can catch Sam on The Goldbergs on Wednesdays at 8|7c on ABC!