Listen: Alex Wolff on Being ‘Best Friends’ With Nicolas Cage and Losing 30 Pounds for a Role

Working on “Human Capital” was a reunion for Alex Wolff and Maya Hawke.

The two play love interests in the indie thriller about a horrific accident that causes two families to fracture as secrets are uncovered and threatened to be exposed.

It turns out that Wolff and Hawke went to pre-school together in New York City. They even dressed as Power Rangers together for Halloween, Wolff, 22, tells me on this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s weekly podcast. “I feel like Maya’s going to deny that she dressed as a Power Ranger for Halloween, and I just want to go on record, she’s lying,” Wolff cracked.

In the movie, Wolff plays a loner with anger issues. He’s very similar to the high schooler he plays in “The Cat and the Moon,” which also marked his feature film writing and directing debut.

While Wolff admits “The Cat and the Moon” was inspired by his teen years in New York (he started writing it when he was 15), it is not a biopic. The character he plays, Nick, comes to live with a friend of his dead father while his mother is in rehab. (Wolff’s jazz musician dad, Michael Wolff, is very much alive and his mom is “Thirtysomething” star Polly Draper.)

Nick is a hard partier who gets into violent fights. He’s tattooed and his hair is buzzed. “They sent me to therapy right away,” Wolff joked about his parents’ initial reaction to the script. “They put me in a straitjacket.”

Actually, Draper gave her son notes (as did their next-door neighbor Noah Baumbach) and his father composed some of the film’s score.

If playing Nick wasn’t enough of a transformation for Wolff, he pulled a Christian Bale and lost 30 pounds to play a drug addict in the upcoming opioid epidemic drama “Castle in the Ground,” co-starring Imogen Poots. “I basically got the job and then just stopped eating, which ended up causing a lot of problems, and I would not suggest that,” Wolff said. “But I lost like 30 pounds in a couple weeks and it was really tough… It ended up causing a ton of health problems. It was a whole pain. But when I see the movie, I do look really gaunt and a bit emaciated and white, just super pale. So I feel like it’s worth it for that.”

Wolff’s stardom soared to new heights with his performance in the 2018 horror hit “Hereditary.” He’s also part of the “Jumanji” ensemble, which includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan. The $125 million third installment of the “Jumanji” series has grossed $788 million worldwide since its release in December. Wolff insists he doesn’t know if or when a fourth film will get the greenlight. “I would do 10 more,” he says. “I’m not kidding. I love it.”

He’s also hoping for a reunion of “The Naked Brothers Band.” He and his older brother, Nat, starred in the Nickelodeon series created by their mom from 2007 to 2009. “I have not outgrown it,” he says.

The siblings have bounced around some possible storylines. “We did talk about Alex, who [was] a lemon-lime [soda] addict, is probably a drug addict,” Wolff said, before admitting that probably wouldn’t fly with Nickelodeon.

Wolff says he has another script he’s shopping around that he’s written with plans to direct again. Nicolas Cage may come on board as a producer.

Yes, that Nicolas Cage.

Wolff says Cage has become one of his “best friends” and “one of the most loyal people in my life” after shooting “Pig,” an upcoming drama about a truffle hunter (Cage) who enlists the help of a truffle salesman (Wolff) to search for his kidnapped foraging pig.

“We talk almost every few days,” he said. “We text all day and he FaceTimed me like two days ago, and we really support each other and help each other with things. We started making the movie when we were both going through very similar personal things in our life and we bonded over it immediately and connected, and were very emotionally open with each other. We just became best friends.”

Human Capital” is now playing on DIRECTV and will be in select theaters and on-demand on Mar. 20.

You can listen to the full interview with Wolff below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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