The R-rated comedy's breakout star also talks working with John Cena and pronouncing 'Olive Garden'
Film Title: Blockers
Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal

In Kay Cannon’s R-rated comedy Blockers, three female friends make a pact to lose their virginities on prom night. (Their parents find out and try to prevent it; hilarity ensues.) Australian newcomer Geraldine Viswanathan plays Kayla, a student athlete with a wild streak whose dad just happens to be played by John Cena.

“For one, he’s a giant man,” Viswanathan tells EW of working opposite the former pro wrestler. “I felt so small and unfit! I was just like, man, I hope people are going to buy that I’m his daughter because I am this lanky, awkward girl, but he made me feel so comfortable right away. He’s such a sweetheart and such a deep, really awesome guy.”

As an Australian native, Viswanathan was grateful for the chance to get her own firsthand taste of prom, even if it was on a set. “We have something called the formal, but American prom is definitely different,” she says. “I had grown up watching these American proms in movies, thinking, ‘Wow, that looks like so much fun! I want a corsage! I want a date!’ So getting to actually have my own movie American prom was a real treat.”

Acting with an American accent was simple enough — with the exception of a certain restaurant name. “One of the first scenes we shot was the lunch table scene where we make the pact and I say ‘Olive Garden,’” Viswanathan recalls. “I didn’t really know what that was, and for some reason I just couldn’t say ‘Olive Garden’ in an American accent. So that took a few takes.”

Viswanathan’s other acting challenge? Acting drunk when her character engages in some prom-night revelry. “My technique is just spin around in a circle on the spot right before they call action. And it works! It works really well,” says Viswanathan. “I had seen Anne Hathaway talking about it in an interview, and I was like, ‘I’m going to try that.’ And then we all just started doing it for fun, just to see what happens to us when we spin around for a minute. It definitely sells that you’re drunk. And then if you try to walk, man, you’re just wobbling all over the place! Give it a go, for sure.”

Blockers, also starring Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz, hits theaters Friday.

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