How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor doesn't hate Twilight.
However, in Liberal Arts—his new movie that he wrote, directed and stars in—Radnor's thirtysomething character trashes Stephenie Meyer's best-selling vampire series…
The movie centers on a romance brewing between Jesse (Radnor) and Zibby, a much younger college coed played by Elizabeth Olsen.
When Jesse discovers that Zibby has read Twilight, he decries it as "the worst book ever written in English." Zibby dismisses him as a "snob," arguing that she has a very good reason to read it—simply put, she enjoys it.
"I have nothing against Twilight," Radnor, 37, told me last night at the Maui Film Festival, where he was honored with the Triple Threat Award. "I had such a good time writing that argument because I believed both sides of it in a way. I could argue both sides."
Funny enough, not only is Twi-star Elizabeth Reaser also in Liberal Arts, but Radnor is dating Julia Jones, who plays Leah Clearwater in the franchise.
"I'm not doing a takedown of Twilight," Radnor said. "Jesse gets super uncomfortable with the relationship, and I think he just uses it to distance himself."
Radnor said the idea for Liberal Arts sprung up a couple of years ago after he visited his alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio, to screen his directorial debut, happythankyoumoreplease. "I realized how much I was significantly older than the average undergraduate," he said. "Time was bending in a very weird way, and I couldn't figure out how I had gotten so much older. It was my first pinch-me-I'm-old moment."
Radnor was also pinching himself last week when he was one of a select group of young Hollywood celebs (see, he's not as old as he thinks he is!) to meet with President Barack Obama during a campaign stop in L.A.
"They asked us to get out and stomp and tweet and vocally support as much as we can," Radnor said. "I'm going to be in Ohio so I told them I would do something there. I campaigned for him last time in Pennsylvania. I loathe politics, but I really like President Obama."