'One Last Thing' Not About Model Behavior

MoviesEntertainmentCancerDeathCynthia NixonMatt BushMichael Angarano

Cancer is no laughing matter, but a 16-year-old terminal cancer patient in "One Last Thing ..." shows that there's room for humor and hope in life -- even if it's going to be cut short.

United Wish Givers intends to grant dying teenager Dylan Jameison's (Michael Angarano) fondest wish to go fishing with his football hero, Jason O'Malley (Johnny Messner). But at a televised press conference to announce this boon, Dylan suddenly decides to admit what he really wants: to spend an entire weekend -- alone -- with supermodel Nikki Sinclair (Sunny Mabrey).

Angarano, who was his character's age during filming, confirms that making such a wish would be all too tempting for a teenage boy. At first the actor says that his last wish would be "world peace, no more war," but when he hears one of his co-stars name model Giselle Bundchen, he adds, "I'm right up there with him."

Dylan isn't going to live his last days meekly. Besides making his selfish but completely honest confession, he shares his medication -- prescribed marijuana -- with his pals Slap and Ricky (Gideon Glick, Matt Bush), wheedles his worried mother Karen (Cynthia Nixon) into cursing and takes an unsupervised jaunt to New York to find Nikki. In fact, at the beginning of the film, Dylan looks just as full of life as his healthy pals.

"When I saw the kids playing my friends, I thought that they looked more sickly than I did," says Angarano. "So I was a little worried about that."

Mabrey had similar doubts about being cast as a supermodel.

"I was like, 'I don't know if I can pull that off' but, you know, I've modeled in the past. Supermodel I think is a stretch," she says. "But Nikki's got all of her own problems. She's sort of a wounded bird, and when they meet, it takes them a long time to actually come together."

Nikki's cool beauty is at war with her reckless attitude. She's rude to the point of cruelty when Dylan shows up in New York, but over the course of the film reveals deep emotional problems stemmning from her past. Mabrey, who believed in the film strongly enough to pay for her own airfare and lodging costs during production, hopes that the unexpected, rebellious aspects of the film will draw audiences.

"People might look at this in the beginning and think it's about a kid who wants to bang a supermodel or a kid who smokes doobies because he's got cancer," she says. "And if that is what attracts some people to it, like younger kids or whatever, awesome because then they'll go in not expecting what it's actually going to make them feel which I think is nice."

Angarano agrees that the message of this film isn't the downer one would expect.

"It's really about life. It's looking at things from a different perspective," he explains. "You can take whatever you want from it: either how to deal with death or how to deal with life."

"One Last Thing ..." opens in limited release on Friday, May 5.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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