The Young Thesp Remembers What It’s Like to Forget an Entire Night
“Dude, she’s driving me fucking crazy!” says Skylar Astin, almost to himself, in that exasperated tone reserved for those who are neither exasperated nor crazy, but merely pleasantly miffed.
After all, Skylar Astin—of Rockland County, N.Y., born Skylar Astin Lipstein (no relation to Samwise)—is busy. Is in demand (his STARmeter™ is a shiny 45!). He’s got 21 and Over due out shortly, and a bunch of other stuff in the pipes, including a movie about all the single yahoos living in DTLA’s Art’s District, appropriately titled, Cavemen. The Pitch Perfect star barely has time to pee. So yeah, he’s busy.
But what I really want to know is, who’s the “she” driving him bananas? Is it a suffering and beautiful lover who’s really into Echo and the Bunnymen, with whom he co-nurtures a love/hate relationship that reaches Titanic-sized levels of passion worthy of the full 3D treatment? Or is it his nagging mom, complaining she’s not getting her daily call? Or a newly adopted bitch who’s tinkling all over his waxed leather dress shoes?
Alas, none of the above.
The young, dapper, and multi-talented performer is single; he absolutely adores his mother (he would never say nagging!); and with regards to his schedule, a dog would simply be a nuisance—albeit a cute one.
Astin then adds, “She’s in a fight with someone. I’m gonna call her after this.”
The “she” in question, I finally learn, is Astin’s publicist, who it seems has somehow gotten on the other line and is quarrelling in the midst of our interview. Whoopsies. Someone’s in trouble.
We both laugh before Astin continues to talk about love, which is not quite in the air, but something the young actor likes to talk about regardless. He is without a shadow of a doubt, a hopeless romantic, possessing a quality that is often thought to be insanely sexy from a girl’s point of view, or at least they should think it is: he’s a momma’s boy. “My mom is like my hero. She’s become my absolute hero in life. She’s a survivor and you have no idea how someone’s will is tested till you have something like that and this woman pulled out with grace and absolute compassion for everything around her.”
As a young actor/performer, a certain cautiousness is required when getting about in the ever-soul-sucking traction of Hollywood—ya’ know, the place where all perception of reality and foundation is ever in danger of entirely vanishing to the wild acts and cats and personas and the eccentric gatherings and all night chandelier and champagne parties, and, obviously, the mind-enriching (entrenching?) drugs. But that’s for the more wobbly types, who don’t quite know what they want. For Astin, reality is love. “I think you have reality with someone. It’s achieved through communication and it’s achieved through just a common bond. And when you achieve that, then you can love someone.”
Inevitably, the subject of Paris is brought up (predictable, given we’re just two cheesy people having a conversation about l’amour). On Astin’s trip to the city of romance, he visited the Louvre and saw what would become his favorite statue, Antonio Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. It’s high drama. The lifeless and beautiful Greek princess, Psyche, has thrown her arms around Cupid’s neck and looks up into his eyes as she awaits his eternally impending kiss. Skylar uses simple, yet big words, “It’s helpless and beautiful.” The romantic himself perhaps sprawls out on a marble dais, waiting for the one girl who steals his heart under the celestial ceilings of the Paris night.
But all that is for later. For now, Astin has to work the circuit for his latest comedy—the little brother version of The Hangover, 21 and Over. The plot is simple. Astin and his boys have a booze-soaked evening spent in celebration of a 21st birthday. It’s a raunchy, headless bit of entertainment that straddles a few sort of ethical lines. But oh well! That’s Hollywood.
We’re nearing the end of our chat and the actor begins to reminisce. He remembers his own real-life 21st. It was a laid-back, rooftop session. Only close friends were there, about 20 people, and they drank until the sun came up, talking about things. Someone may have told a joke, or not, or something really clever was said, or insightful, and for a few minutes maybe there was a sense of life being figured out. But it was a long time ago. Not that long really, in the scheme, just four years. But already the details have washed into a sense “that there were details.” The roof and the view of the sunrise doled out like a benediction over New York. And love. There was love.