Alex Wolff has never been unacquainted with fame. After starring in Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brothers Band” movie and series when he was a kid alongside his older brother Nat, he quickly rose to stardom as a young actor and musician.
More than 15 years later, Wolff has appeared in a wide array of feature films, from Ad Aster’s unsettling horror film “Hereditary” to the hit “Jumanji” sequels. He now stars alongside Nicolas Cage in “Pig” as a young man named Amir who runs a truffle resale business in Portland. While preparing for the movie, Wolff came to realize how much he had in common with the character he was playing.
“For this role, I rediscovered this part of myself that maybe I was embarrassed about,” Wolff told Variety.
Amir buys truffles from Rob (Cage), a melancholic truffle hunter who lives alone in a cabin in the Oregon wilderness with his beloved pig. Unlike the reclusive and shabby Rob, Amir chases after success in his flashy yellow car and polished suits.
“I really wanted to fit in as a kid, and I was picked on and really wanted to be invited to parties,” Wolff said. “It was embarrassing, so I really had to bring that back in a way that made me feel so uncomfortable and so uneasy…For Amir, I think the less glamorous, more embarrassing part with that hyperactive unpredictability came a desire to be simple and small and organized,” Wolff said. “I had to kind of combine those two seemingly opposite things to put this performance together.”
Wolff compared the tone of his and Cage’s two-hander to “Midnight Cowboy” meets “The Odd Couple” and “Raising Arizona.”
“To get to be the one who’s yelling at Nic, and then have Nic be the really opaque one, felt like a beautiful, unexpected way to go to have Nic be the stoic fragile one,” Wolff said.
The young actor made his directorial debut with the 2019 coming-of-age drama “The Cat and the Moon,” which he also wrote and starred in. Crediting Cage as the main supporter of his project, Wolff said they have both supported each other in their independent endeavors.
“We’re beyond buds,” Wolff said. “It really feels like we’re family at this point. I just love him so much.”
If a compelling story were there, Wolff said he would be open to a sequel or almost any follow-up project with Cage.
“’Pig’ is a really special one. So I am concerned about a follow-up, but I really would want it to be good,” Wolff said. “I just feel like I would do anything with him.”
Wolff’s next major role is in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old,” which coincidentally releases on July 23, one week after “Pig.” He shot “Pig” in Portland in September 2019, and then “Old” a full year later in the Dominican Republic.
“People have coupled them together in a fun way; they’re just so different,” Wolff said. “So it shows some accidental versatility, but it’s a total fluke and they’re separate lifetimes to me.”
While Wolff described “Hereditary” as “exquisitely horrible in a terrific way,” he said the most fun surprise of “Old” is that it’s not really a horror movie at all.
“I feel like this movie is more an expression of an odd, late-’50s black-and-white Swedish movie,” Wolff said. “It’s really experimental and avant-garde in a way that is exciting to me.”
Gearing up to direct his second feature film in the spring, Wolff said his career path as an actor and director is to keep working on projects that make him genuinely excited.
“I’ve been a really famous little kid, and then a preteen nobody wanted to touch because I had pimples and I was ugly,” Wolff said. “I’ve just gone through the whole thing. So at this point, it’s like, ‘I don’t give a shit.’ I want to just follow my passion and follow my love.”