In Being Charlie, the 20-year-old actor plays a teen struggling with drug abuse as his family implodes around him. To prepare, Robinson attended addiction support meetings and spent time with director Rob Reiner's son Nick, who co-wrote the film based on his own experiences. "He lived through quite a bit of this, so he was really helpful," Robinson says. "He gave me some insight into what these places are like, these in-patient facilities. He walked me through his thought process at the time."

Nick Robinson stars in Being Charlie

But he says that the hardest thing about making the movie was performing his character's stand-up comedy routines. "It was nerve-wracking for me," Robinson says. "It's all pretend, obviously. You're not actually going up in front of people, but I got super, super nervous beforehand. My palms were all sweaty before I stepped up on stage. It's not easy!"

It was Charlie's complexity that drew Robinson to the project and kept him focussed through filming. "Early on I almost felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew," he says. "There's a lot of different layers to play. I mean he's trapped beneath the shadow of his parents, between this distant father and this enabling mother, and he's trying to just kind of put all these pieces together. And then also the fact that it's such a personal role for both Rob and Nick. I mean, I'm playing an extension of a real person, so it's kind of intimidating."

Robinson sees Charlie as an intriguingly incomplete character. "He still has so much to learn and grow," he says. "And he spends most of his adolescence in these treatment facilities which are not really treating the underlying causes of these addictions. Instead they're just walking you through the regular 12 steps. And for some people, that doesn't work."

For his next role, Robinson will play a sheltered young man who develops a crush on a stripper played by Rosario Dawson. "The main thing is just working with good people," he says, "having that flow of ideas and thoughts and good mojo back and forth. Just learning as much as you can, really trying to absorb everything. No matter how small the film is, you can always learn something from somebody."