Elena Sheppard
August 17, 2015 6:00 am

We love our series Catching Feelings. You know, the one where we ask our favorite male stars to get mushy with us and talk emotions, fears, and what makes their hearts go pitter patter. Luckily for me, Jemaine Clement, one of my fave male stars who makes me laugh ’til I cry and makes my heart sing love songs, was game to catch some feelings too.

Chances are you know Jemaine from his days as one half of Flight of the Conchords — the hilarious New Zealand bred comedy-duo and band who tore up HBO a few years back with their particular brand of musical humor. (In case you’ve forgotten, Jemaine was the Hiphopopotamus . . . his rhymes are bottomless.)

In his latest movie, People Places Things, Jemaine plays Will a graphic novelist and dad to 6-year-old twin girls, trying to figure out his life post separation from the girls’ mom. The movie has a lot of feelings, a healthy sprinkling of unexpected belly laughs, and also Jessica Williams co-starring as one of Jemaine’s students. There’s love, and heartbreak, and humor, and hurt, and happiness. There are feelings, with a capital ‘F,’ which made me want to pick Jemaine’s brain about his own feelings. And so I did.

HelloGiggles (HG): Hi Jemaine! Are you OK to get a little mushy and talk feelings?

Jemaine Clement (JC): Yeah, I have feelings.

HG: Oh great! Well let’s just begin. You play a dad in this movie, and you’re a dad in real life: Are there emotions that you’ve faced as a dad that you didn’t anticipate?

JC: Yes. Parents don’t let you know how nervous they are sometimes. You can tell they’re nervous about certain things, but certain things we have to hide. We can’t let the child know how nervous we are to send them to school, for instance, because they’ll get worried about it. But it’s really quite scary for a parent. We just have to pretend it’s all cool though.

HG: You have to pretend you’re brave.

JC: Yeah, so you don’t scare them out of it.

HG: That all makes sense. Your character also has to deal with some serious heartbreak. How would you describe heartbreak to someone who’s never felt it?

JC: I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s like a very, very slow punch in the chest.

HG: And could you describe what it feels like to fall in love?

JC: Like an amazing intro to your favorite song.

HG: And what do you consider to be a romantic gesture?

JC: Listening.

HG: And what makes you, Jemaine, really, really happy?

JC: Dancing.

HG: And what makes you have butterflies in your stomach?

JC: What kind of butterflies?

HG: Nervous ones.

JC: Going in front of people sometimes, but then other times it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not sure!

HG: I’m jealous! I have so many answers to that question.

JC: I mean, I know I feel them but I can’t think of one right now!

HG: What makes you irrationally angry?

JC: People texting in movies. What else? People spelling “definitely” with an ‘a.’

HG: Next question, unless you have another anger to share?

JC: [laughs] I could just talk about that for an hour.

HG: What are you afraid of?

JC: I have bungee jumped but I’d never do it again. Looking down from a great height like that was terrifying.

HG: And what hurts your feelings?

JC: It’s quite painful to talk about, let me think. This is tough!

HG: Maybe your feelings are intact?

JC: No, no, they’re definitely not. Maybe they’re all torn to shreds. Too painful to think about. Put that: “It’s too painful to think about.”

HG: What really cracks you up?

JC: People taking things that I find silly and talking about them really seriously.

HG: What makes you misty-eyed? Like a song or movie that makes you cry every time.

JC: The silliest movie that’s ever made me cry is Stuart Little, when the mouse becomes friends with the cat. The mouse became friends with a cat!? Oh man, I couldn’t handle it. I never thought those guys were gonna get on. Most movies make me cry, but that one I was surprised.

HG: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?

JC: Yeah, my grandma used to live sort of next to this big barn that had all these wood shavings. And me and my brother would go and climb in them. It was like our version of skiing was sliding down those wood shavings. It’s better than it sounds!

HG: Honestly, it sounds really great.

People Places Things is now in theaters, On Demand, and you can find it on iTunes. 

Related reading:

Catching Feelings with Martin Starr

Catching Feelings with Richard Madden

[Images courtesy of The Film Arcade]

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