Laura Hertzfeld
August 15, 2013 AT 08:43 PM EDT

In Short Term 12, Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, The Spectacular Now) and John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom) play Grace and Mason — co-workers by day at a group home for at-risk teens and lovers by night. They have incredible chemistry, both with each other and with the kids they work with in the film. Directed by Destin Cretton, the story takes from his own experiences working in a foster care home for teens before he headed to film school.

Check out the exclusive clip below, where we see Larson and Gallagher’s interaction as Grace and Mason in a scene at the house they share in the film. Then watch the actors discuss their experience making the film in an in-studio interview.

Larson and Gallagher sat down with EW to talk about their teen co-stars, the seriousness of the topics in the film — including pregnancy and parents in prison — and how they had to take time for themselves away from set during the intense shoot.

A much buzzed-about festival darling, Short Term 12 picked up both the Grand Jury and Audience awards at SXSW and the L.A. Film Festival’s Audience award. It opens in theaters August 23.

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