Collider.com - Zac and Seth Interview
When I first heard Seth Rogen and Zac Efron would be making a movie together, and it would feature the two of them going head to head, I immediately thought it could be a fun movie. After all, Efron is known for playing a certain type of character, and having him star in an R-rated Nicholas Stoller comedy seemed like a great idea to play against his clean cut image. And based on what I saw and learned on the set last year when the production was filming in Los Angeles, Neighbors should be extremely funny. If you’re not familiar with the film, Neighbors stars Rogen and Rose Byrne as a married couple who must deal with a fraternity—headed up by Efron—when it moves in next door.
During a group interview during a break from filming, Rogen and Efron talked about how they came to working together, their characters, what the film is about, how neither of them are the hero or the villain, the freedom when making an R-rated film, the male nudity, when they first realized they had great chemistry, and a lot more...
QUESTION: It’s really interesting seeing you in this kind of role, having to adjust your acting with lines thrown at you. Is that new for you or something you’ve experienced?
ZAC EFRON: I really learned to do it in interviews (laughs). I don’t know. Is it new for me? I don’t know. I definitely would say I’m new to it compared to Seth, but there’s something great about acting when you find it in the moment, and there’s also something great about finding it rehearsed. It’s somewhere where you meet in the middle, and you’re so out of control that it’s really really good – that’s what Seth does, and that’s what he wanted me to do.
SETH ROGEN: I try (laughs).
Is this the first movie you’ve made since This is the End?
How has it been adjusting back to just being an actor after that film?
ROGEN: It’s great (laughs). There’s a lot of time, but I don’t have to have that conversation.
EFRON: You’re still directing, though.
ROGEN: But no, we’re producers on the movie, so we can enforce our will if we really feel like we want to-
EFRON: I ask him, “Please tell me, is it good?”
ROGEN: (laughs) We’re around. We’re here every day. I’m not acting every day. We’re just here. But, Nick is great, and we’ve known him forever, and I think a lot of our sensibilities were developed in the same environment so, it’s really not hard letting Nick take control. It’s great. He’s a lot more organized than we were as directors (laughs).
It seems that one of the themes of the movie is that you’re playing against a character who’s someone you could have played 10 or 12 years ago.
ROGEN: Yeah. Honestly, that’s an interesting way of putting it, but it’s true. I think part of what’s funny about the movie is [Zac Efron’s character] realizes he might be me in 10 years (laughs). It’s about not wanting to grow up, and kind of accepting that you are either on the verge of that, or that itself. It actually feels appropriate (laughs).
EFRON: There’s a scene where we talk on the couch, and he seems to be doing everything correctly, as far as his age goes. I sort of get the feeling that, I’m really good right now, and my life’s hit its peak. It makes me afraid, so when he starts one-upping the fraternity, I have this crazy vendetta, where we almost kill each other.
ROGEN: But it’s true, because I’m basically ruining his perfect moment. It’s the moment in his life where there are no repercussions, and he’s not yet an adult, but because I’m so jealous and resentful, I try to destroy that (laughs).
Your character never had that moment?
ROGEN: No, my character definitely had that moment! But, it was years and years ago, and now he’s married, and has a house and responsibility. I think my character is just really grappling and in denial about the fact that he can’t do all the fun s**t that Zac does on a regular basis in the movie. At first, it seems like it might work, and we can be friends and get along. My instinct is like, “Oh, I can do this,” and his instinct is like, “this guy seems cool.” Then we slowly realize – and not even that slowly, actually – it can’t work. Literally, we can’t coexist.
EFRON: Exactly. He starts out as like the coolest guy I’ve ever met that’s his age, and then he turns into just a mortal enemy (laughs).
ROGEN: Like most superheroes and villains.
EFRON: So, at the end of the movie, there’s this crater, and we crawl into it, and we get a nosebleed (laughs).
We were talking to Nick, and there does seem to be an even-handedness to this film, in the sense that, there’s no clear hero vs. villain. You both seem to have well-rounded characters. I’m kind of curious of your approach to your characters in that sense, since you’re not necessarily playing the hero or the villain.
ROGEN: There’s moments where I think he’s very clearly the villain. I also think there are moments where he’s doing something that is very villainous to them.
EFRON: The best part about it is that, for my character, it’s out of this strict moral code that’s really lost in the world of this true brotherhood, and he sort of betrays that. So, my perspective is skewed, and [Rogen’s character] is protecting his family.
ROGEN: It’s true. I really think that, in the best way, people will sympathize with both of our characters and see where he’s coming from and where we’re coming from. That’s why it will be a good, fun movie, because, we both push it too far, and we both are wrong at times. But, we’re both right at times too.
Speaking of family, Seth, congrats on getting married.
ROGEN: Thank you.
How does being married in real life help you with this new role?
ROGEN: I think it helps a lot, honestly. I think that just from an improvisational standpoint, it helps. I’m very domesticated (laughs). My wife and I watch House of Cards. We don’t go out and drink anymore. But we both would like to. We’re both constantly grappling with stuff like, do we go to the club and stay up all night with our friends, or do we just catch up on Game of Thrones and go to sleep? I really relate to that, and that’s really what the movie’s about.
EFRON: It’s true. He never goes out with us (laughs).
ROGEN: But I’m all caught up on Game of Thrones (laughs).
Are you excited to create your own family and have kids?
ROGEN: It speaks to all my fears about it, in a lot of ways. The babies in this movie are great. The babies in this movie are actually like a commercial for babies worldwide.
EFRON: They are amazing.
ROGEN: Yeah. They’re great babies. Like, they reduce everyone on set to blithering idiots. When they’re on set, everyone’s like [does some baby talk].
EFRON: I’ve never seen reactions to babies like this.
ROGEN: Yeah. They’re hypnotizing. It’s incredible.
Have you worked with asshole babies?
ROGEN: I’ve worked with babies that just don’t do that well.
EFRON: I was an asshole baby.
ROGEN: Exactly. Babies that just always start crying. I’ve done movies where there’s supposed to be a baby in the scene, and we just take the baby out of the scene, because we’re like, “they’re fucking crying, we can’t deal with this.”
EFRON: There are moments when you love babies, and you’re like, “God, they are the reason why we exist.” Then they start crying, and you’re like “God! Jesus!”
ROGEN: Yeah, get the fucking baby out of there. It’s true and I think-
EFRON: Especially on set.
ROGEN: Yeah. It’s definitely true. These babies have been good though. All the concerns and fears of our characters, that’s where a lot of it was born: with conversations that me and the other producers were having. One of the reasons me and my wife don’t wanna have kids is because we won’t be able to go on vacations anymore, or hang out with our friends, or stay out late, or do the stuff we like to do. So, in a way, the movie reaffirms how life-changing having kids is (laughs), and how we’re right for not having done that yet.
You guys are working on a hard-R movie where you have the freedom to do and say anything. Zac, this is probably new for you. Can you both talk about that?
Yeah what’s it like saying fuck?
EFRON: (laughs) Over and over. I’ll tell you. It feels fucking fantastic (laughs). It feels right. And it’s great, because we say-
EFRON: Literally thousands.
ROGEN: We’ll take some out (laughs).
EFRON: On TV, it’s gonna be “shucks.”
ROGEN: There’s a lot of swearing in it. It’s fun, right?
EFRON: Yeah. It’s fun. I wanna do it less, but it’s liberating. It’s liberating but-
ROGEN: People go too far.
Did you only sign on because of all of the male nudity?
EFRON: Yeah. I knew I’d get to touch Seth’s bare chest. No. I signed on because, I was excited about being in an R comedy, and potentially finding one, but, I guess I didn’t want to do one with anyone except someone like Seth. In a perfect world, I thought I would get to work with him. He’s always been in comedies I really relate to, and they make sense to me. It’s not just in a jokey, comedic way. He’s reacting to life in a very real way, and I think that’s what I really appreciate about his comedies. You really feel for them. And, I was excited because he called me up and said, “do you wanna come hang out in the trailer? I have something to pitch to you.” And I was like, “that is the coolest thing ever.” You never get those calls. It never happens.
Since this was your first time working with him and you admire him, what will you both take away from this when you’re done with the film, and could you see yourselves working together in another movie?
EFRON: Dude, absolutely. I think he’s going to be a killer director. Well, he is a killer director (laughs). It’s amazing, the team of friends that he’s built up. The first thing he said to me on the first day on set, I said, “do you go home?” and he was like, “no man, all my friends are here. Why would I go home?” That is how I want to make movies, because I’ve been totally solo. It’s always been just me against everyone, and now it feels like you’re part of a family, so it’s nice.
Is he officially part of your crew now?
ROGEN: He’s in. You saw how much he was swearing. That’s the initiation.
When did you guys know that you had chemistry together?
ROGEN: We’d known each other for years, but when we did the first table read, it seemed like we would get along, in a way much greater than we’d expected.
ROGEN: The first time we actually read the whole script out loud, one of the overwhelming responses we got from our friends, who were writers, was, it seems like you guys would get along at first. And, that was a beat that we extended – it definitely was like the honeymoon period (laughs) of me partying with them, of me thinking he’s cool, him thinking I’m cool, and us enjoying each other. But, this is before we realize that it’s just an explosive situation, and even beyond that, we’ve maintained this thread of, it could have gone well between us, but (laughs) it just didn’t. In another reality, we would’ve been best friends, but right now, we’re at the wrong time in our lives.
EFRON: That’s what makes it so much more interesting. It’s watching two people who are so similar go back and forth.
ROGEN: The first time we noticed that was when we read it out loud. It was like, “oh, we’d like each other. It doesn’t seem like we’d hate each other right away.”
EFRON: Which is exciting, because in the first draft, I was like an anti-semite (laughs). I was the most horrible person.
ROGEN: I stand by some of that (laughs).
Do you want to act like this in more comedy films?
EFRON: I may never work again after this (laughs). I sure as hell hope so. I fucking love you, dawg.
ROGEN: Alright, see you out there.
EFRON: Hey, thank you everybody. See ya.
Screen Crush - Next Part of that Interview, with Seth and Evan Goldberg, after Zac left (Excerpts)
[Writer's Note: With that Zac had to leave, and producer Evan Goldberg came in.]
Now that Zac’s gone …
Rogen: Now I can take my shirt off.
You guys had comedian friends come in, read the draft, figure out what works, what doesn’t work. Who are the people that you guys call?
Goldberg: Well, it always starts with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, and they directly work for us.
Rogen: Yeah, they’re executive producers on ‘This Is The End,’ and we’ve worked with them for years. They’re the first to read it. And if we have a table read, we reach out to everyone that we’ve worked with. Judd [Apatow] came to the table read.
Goldberg: Chris Brown.
Rogen: Chris Brown, not the R&B singer, the guy who wrote for ‘Undeclared.’
Goldberg: Rodney Rothman, Jason Mantzoukas.
Rogen: Dan Sterling came.
Goldberg: Sometimes Nick Kroll. David Krumholtz.
Rogen: What’s funny is, at every table read, there’s one person who seems to get more than anyone else in the room how to fix the movie, and it was Mantzoukas on this movie. He was like, “I know what you need to do.” It generally happens at one of those things. He was able to pinpoint a lot of the issues that we had structurally. A big thing in the movie is that me and my wife are always on the same team. That was important to us, she’s not like the traditional naggy wife who’s trying to stop me from doing fun sh-t. There’s almost no conflict between me and her in the movie. We’re a unit. And that was something that was nebulous in an initial draft. And Mantzoukas was the one to solidify it and say, “Go through the whole movie, and anytime you see she’s being a wet blanket, take it out. That’s not what this is.” And it worked great.
That’s the cheapest, easiest conflict.
Rogen: It is. If anything, our problem as characters is that [we're] too similar. It’s mostly our conflict with Zac, and we’re a team, which is much more reflective of our relationships. And our friends helped us recognize that was an original idea that we should pursue.
Rogen: He’s Zac’s best friend in the fraternity. And he’s the guy who has a future and recognizes that this isn’t the best time of his life. He’s studying to be an architect, and it looks like he will graduate and go to school.
Goldberg: He understands this is fun but temporal, and he’s going to have to move on.
Rogen: So his story with Zac is really about how a rift is forming, because the more Zac gets into f—ing with me, the more Dave’s like, “This is stupid. This whole thing is just supposed to be fun, and we have futures beyond this. Why put so much energy into this?” But, for Zac, it’s all he has.
Do you have a ceiling budget-wise when making an R-rated comedy? Were they [Universal] looking for a PG-13 for this one?
Rogen: No. No.
Goldberg: No, no, no.
Rogen: No, no, no, no.
Goldberg: I think people are done playing that game with us.
Rogen: We got the movie to a budget that was small enough that we could do whatever we wanted. They have no risk. We can do whatever we want. And, like, in the end, everyone’s really happy. But what you gain freedom-wise from not having a lot of money is much more valuable than what you lose freedom-wise from having a lot of money, you know? And I think what we’ve learned over the years is having a lean budget but the creative freedom to do whatever you want is far more fun and enjoyable and generally creates a much better product, and a more profitable product than if we have a ton of money pumped into it and a bunch of people trying to control the outcome.
How does it feel when you’ve come up with a new dick joke?
Goldberg: Super, super rad.
Rogen: Pretty psyched.
Goldberg: What was more fun than us coming up with new ones is the visual effects dudes on ‘This Is the End.’ They would show us their previews.
Rogen: On this we have more practical dicks.
Do you prefer CGI or practical?
Goldberg: Practical takes a lot less time.
Rogen: But you can control how the dick moves better with digital.
Goldberg: Lights on nonexistent dicks. And the shadows they would or wouldn’t cast.
Rose Byrne, who I feel like we should mention at some point, plays your wife.
Rogen: Yeah, she’s the best.
How was it bringing Rose into this gang, though she’s obviously worked with a lot of people you’ve worked with before.
Rogen: I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else, honestly. She’s so funny and game.
Goldberg: She has no flaw, she does it all. Though I don’t know if she’s excellent at action.
Rogen: She probably is.
She was in ‘X-Men: First Class.’
Goldberg: OK, she’s good at everything.
Rogen: Perhaps her greatest acting ability is she really seems like she likes me at times. When I watch it, I’m like, “We look like a real married couple.” It’s crazy.
Was there anything too far for her?
Goldberg: I will say I think she’s pushed it further than any other actor on the movie. She’ll say some crazy sh–.
Rogen: Every once in a while, there’ll be a thing where she’s like, “Really?” The line I always give her is, “It’s an edgy movie. It’s edgy material.”
Rogen: In this movie? I have a job at an office.
Goldberg: At an office.
Rogen: It’s probably on camera because me and Ike [Barinholtz], we work together in the movie, and there’s a scene where we’re behind our desks, and we hear “Rolling. Okay. Get ready, everyone quiet.” And Ike says, “What do we do?” And I’m like, “I have no f—ing clue.” Then they go, “And action.”
Goldberg: They work on files.
Rogen: We work in an office.
Goldberg: Rose is on maternity leave from a job.
Rogen: I think we’re accountants. It’s one of those movies where the jobs just aren’t that significant. I think it’s a recent trend in movies where the job is such a big thing. We would always talk about how in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ you don’t really know what they do. It just doesn’t matter.
Goldberg: On ’50/50,’ we were always like, “Does he need more than one friend in the world?” The answer was no. One friend worked.
I’m assuming you guys heard, like, crazy frat stories. Was there anything that you guys heard about that was too far or too unbelievable to even make in the movies?
Goldberg: I mean, they f— kids in the butt with brooms in frats.
Rogen: They do crazy sh-t in frats. Something we had to be aware of is just, like, as nerdy dudes, I think it was our initial instinct to demonize fraternity life in general. And Zac is the one who early on said, “Frat guys have to like this movie. If they don’t like it, then it’s not going to work.”
Goldberg: “They can still do some douchey stuff every now and then because they know they do. But, in the end, you have to appreciate their love for one another.”
Rogen: You have to recognize that there are positive elements to it. But there’s not even frats where we’re from. But it’s just your instinct as a nerdy dude to be like, “Aw, f—ing frats.” It’s all because of ‘Revenge of the Nerds.’ It all goes back to that.
Collider - Nicholas Stoller, director
QUESTION: Are you shooting this film on digital as well?
Nicholas Stoller: I am shooting it digital. Yeah. Hulk sent me a very, very long and an amazing e-mail describing why he likes film over digital. It’s interesting.
Well, it seems to fit with your shooting style that you have.
Stoller: Yeah. I like digital because you can shoot for longer. Improv is great for Steadicam. It’s a lot lighter. It’s not just its lighter, but on film, it’s a 3 minute mag versus a 20-minute mag. We actually aren’t doing much Steadicam on this. But, handheld, the mag would be three minutes. And then, also, I actually prefer it aesthetically at night. I think digital at night is–I just like the look of it more. I mean, if you’re a Stanley Kubrick and you’re doing Barry Lyndon, that’s one thing. And then, it’s the most beautiful thing ever shot, , in the history of cinema. But, if you’re me shooting dick jokes, it’s a little–it’s harder to do.
I appreciate the Barry Lyndon shout-out.
Stoller: Barry Lyndon is the best movie ever.
Can you take us back to just where this started for you?
Stoller: Yes. Basically I’ve known Seth and Evan actually for a long time. I’ve known Seth since 2001 or 2000. We wrote on Undeclared, the Judd Apatow show. It’s on Fox. And I’ve wanted to work with Seth forever since then. We had a great time working together, and we’re just old friends. And then, he and Evan called me about this project. They had already set it up and everything about directing it. And I said, that sounds awesome. And the idea seemed really appealing. And–so, that’s when I signed on. What we’re seeing out there throwing out improv lines. There’s something also known as having practical sets. And it seems in some way there’s a connection there because you’re actually in an environment.
Do you find that to be the case–you can sort of put the camera anywhere?
Stoller: Yeah. It certainly helps, in a practical sense. This whole movie takes place in these two houses. Most of this movie has taken place at two base camps, which is insane. So, yeah I don’t think artistically it makes that much of a difference to be on a location versus a set. I actually tend to prefer sets, because you can fly the walls and stuff. But, this has been great, because the rooms are all like this. They’re big rooms. And so, you can move the camera anywhere in them. And then, you can connect from inside to outside really easily, and it allows you a lot of flexibility. With an unlimited budget, I think a set is better than a location. But, with the budget that we have, a location is better.
You talked about your friendship with Rogen. How did you get Zac Efron to come to the project?
Stoller: Well, this whole project was set up before I was involved. Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien thought of the idea and pitched it to Seth and Zac Efron. And they both attached themselves. And then, they sold it to Universal, and then they wrote it. And then, at that point, Seth and Evan called me about directing it.
For your last couple of films obviously you don’t have a credit on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it feels like you were there from the beginning, at least in the scripting process. How is it then to come in now?
Stoller: Well, this is pretty similar to Forgetting Sarah Marshall I’d say, in terms of being involved. Andrew and Brendan had written a draft or two, and then I came in and worked with them. And then, we treat it like a giant TV episode, in terms and then Seth and Evan come in and they also rewrite it. And then, we’re all working on it together. It’s Andrew and Brendan’s script. It’s their script. I bring the writing side of things to the table.
That TV is that sort of why you’re shooting in two, three, five?
Stoller: Right. Exactly. Yeah, I don’t mean in terms of the aesthetics. I just mean in terms of the process, it’s very similar.
You mean like shooting scope? I mean, obviously some of the earlier films were not.
Stoller: No, this is my first widescreen. We’re also shooting anamorphic. I wanted to just try it. As things have advanced in the Avid, it’s gotten very easy. You can split the screen on the Avid. So, a big thing is like if you have the actor on this side saying a funny line, but you’re over this actor and this actor is doing something, like playing with his hair or whatever, then it’s hard to use it. And with widescreen — or two, three, five, or whatever it is–you have to do do-overs. It’s really hard to do clean singles. And that’s one of the reasons it looks a lot better. But in the past, I’ve been nervous about not having clean singles because it makes hard to edit. But, now you can literally, in the Avid, split the screen and take this actor out, and put a different take of that.
And how do you know you’ve got the perfect cut, because from watching you outside, behind the scenes and watching you do your job, is it just gut instinct, or just from you seeing it a few times over and over?
Stoller: You mean when I’m cutting the scene, or when or when I’m shooting it?
When you’re shooting it.
Stoller: When I’m shooting it I basically have a giant bag that I’m filling up with as many jokes as possible. So, I don’t really know. But, yeah, at this point I have an instinct as to when we’ve got it. So, yeah, it’s just an instinct.
On what film did it kick in?
Stoller: I think it’s been an evolution. I had a sense of it on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But, at some point maybe during Get Him to the Greek. But, you have it for different scenes. Sometimes a scene can elude you, and then, you also learn that the small moments are really what you’re after. A big broad moment that gets the crew laughing, usually isn’t going to translate to an audience. It’s usually like a little look or something that you’re trying, and like the scene we’re just shooting right now –I don’t know if you were watching it–but, Zac and Dave Franco just came in and were just awesome and ready. After two takes, I was like, we got this. But, just because I don’t want them to feel short drifted I was like, I’ll shoot two more takes. Why not? But, it was pretty clear from the get go.
Whose decision was it to do the extreme amount of male nudity?
Stoller: In this movie?
Stoller: It’s in my contract that there has to be a great deal of male nudity. It’s a fraternity movie on some level. Half the movie is about Seth, and his wife, and his daughter, and the other half of the movie is a fraternity movie. Fraternity dudes like to take their dicks out. There’s no question about it.
So, how many dicks will we actually see?
Stoller: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of dick in this movie. I’m not going to lie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays a character named Scoony. And his main character trait is that he has a giant penis. And so, that–and his–that is certainly featured in the film. There’s–but that might be the only actual full-frontal in the movie. I’m trying to think. But, they make dildos. The frat makes dildos at a certain point in the film to raise money, so you see the dildos. But, I think that that might be all there is. I’m probably forgetting a dick or two.
You mentioned spending time equally on both sides. Is it a complex and relatable film in the sense of how you get along with these characters?
Stoller: Yeah, it really is. I think this is, in certain ways, a war movie, with Seth and Rose are battling Zac in the fraternity. But, it’s really important to me that, in this sort of movie where you have antagonists, whatever it is, that you understand everyone’s position. So, there’s no one who’s really a villain in the movie. Everyone is just going through a nervous breakdown, and Seth and I were talking about it the other day. The best movies, I think, are when you show up on set and you’re like, I can’t believe this is all part of the same movie. One day we’d be shooting a sequence where all of the fraternity brothers are drinking, and Scoonie flashes his dick out. And they’re all doing crazy shit. And the next day we’re just shooting a really sweet scene with Rose and Seth and their baby. I think that’s what Knocked Up was like. You had this dichotomy. And I think that that–that makes for the best comedies at least.
It seems like there’s a lot of different themed parties throughout the film.
I’m curious, does that mean you get to switch up your directing style depending on what the party is?
Stoller: Yeah. I’ve watched Project X a bunch of times, and I watched Chronicle. And there’s been a big jump in the audiences acceptance of found footage . And so–because we were jammed for time and also because people, kids especially, just filmed everything–we handed out cameras to people and just filmed stuff. As we’re shooting the movie, we’re also handing stuff out to people to film stuff, so we can use that footage and cut it in, and I think it cuts in really seamlessly. So, that’s a big difference, I think, between this and, Get Him to the Greek had a lot of parties. But, even though it was, only a few years, it feels like a different time weirdly, in terms of what you can do with that found footage stuff. And, on Get Him to the Greek, I learned a lot about shooting parties. I think I’ve thrown so many more fake parties than I’ve gone to real parties. It’s so pathetic. It’s so pathetic. But, yeah, I think, I wanted to push it that a big inspiration visually for me for this movie is Enter The Void, that Gasper Noe film. It’s such a visually fantastic movie, and Brandon Trost who’s the DP on this, we’ve watched that and pulled it apart, and are trying to do some of that, where light sources are constantly changing, and all of that.
Do you think there’s a secret to shooting a party scene?
Stoller: The secret is to put the camera low and in the crowd so it feels epic. Yeah. I think that a lot of slow-mo really works in party scenes. Honestly, we give these little Canons, and iPhones, and all this stuff to extras and to our own people in the parties. And that stuff cuts in really well. It’s about getting as many pieces as possible. That makes a party feel huge. So, if you have a billion little pieces, even if they’re not funny–they could just be someone dancing, or someone shaking the camera around–and it can make the party feel really big. And dark lighting is crucial. A brightly lit party just sucks.
The first movie with Zac Efron and Seth, what was it like seeing their relationship grow on and off screen from the beginning until now?
Stoller: Oh. Well, I think the movie is going to work because it’s just funny seeing them share the screen. It’s just they don’t make sense on screen together, and I think that that the best battle movies are like that. And, it’s been great working with Zac. He’s awesome. He’s quite dreamy. Sometimes, it’s hard to give him notes, because I zone out in the middle of it and just stare at him.
Have you ever touched his abs?
Stoller: I haven’t, but I’ve wanted to. I’m like, that’d be weird.
Did you write in a shower scene?
Stoller: I have to save it for the last night, because you give up your power as a director for stroking your actor’s abs.
Yeah, that’s true.
Stoller: But, he lifts weights before shots and stuff. Like, he’ll just quickly do a bunch of weights, and then he’s super intense.
How does that make you guys feel? Like, if he’s super sexy and hot.
Stoller: Even more Jewish. Even more Jewish than we already are.
Obviously, you guys have all worked together for years. But, what is the difference between working Jason Segel and Seth Rogen just in terms of their work, and how they work?
Stoller: They’re different people, but, In terms of working with them it’s pretty similar. They both come at stuff from a writer’s perspective first, and then an actors perspective second, especially. I would say the main difference, is once we start shooting, I think Seth is an amazing actor. I would say that first and foremost, he has a writer’s brain, but even when we’re shooting, he’s not methody at all. Like, he’ll be delivering an awesome performance, I’ll cut, And he’ll say, “I think on this next shot I should do this, this,” and he’s very clinical about it. And I think Jason can be more a little bit more methody. Like, I remember on The Five-Year Engagement, the scene where Emily and he break up. It was very intense. And he delivered this insane performance. But, it was like–it was a different approach in the way Seth would have done it.
I’m just curious, from when you first got involved to what we’re seeing on screen, how much has changed along the way? Or is it pretty much what you started with?
Stoller: It’s changed a fair amount actually, the movie from when I started, but that happens with all these movies–the development process. So the central conceit is the same. But it shifted the big change, which has made is so much better is that the original version of the film was about Seth and his buddies. And then, the wife was a separate character. Seth and his buddies fight in this fraternity. And, we all sat down and we were like, “this is crappy Old School.” let’s see if we can–and so we–and we all went through it and figured out it’d be better if it was actually about Seth and his wife taking on the fraternity. It’s a much bigger idea, and it makes a lot more sense.
I think you probably should get back to–.
Stoller: To directing this movie.
Stoller: Thank you very much.
Collider - 30 Things to Know About Nicholas Stoller’s NEIGHBORS
While emphasizing that Boogie Nights is an awesome film, Mintz-Plasse says “the penis in Boogie Nights is a baby compared to what my penis is in this.”
Mintz-Plasse says the “rig” that he wore for his character’s large genitals was extremely uncomfortable, but the rig allows them to depict his character’s sexual arousal.
When Cohen and O’Brien wrote the frat character with enormous genitalia, they thought of Mintz-Plasse, because they thought that his small stature and overconfidence would make him very funny in the role.
Mintz-Plasse, Franco, and Carmichael got drunk together before shooting the film and developed an extremely graphic, “homoerotic” handshake for the fraternity.
About the atmosphere during production, Franco said, “Literally, that’s every scene. It’s, like, just try it. If any stupid idea comes to mind, might as well try it. And a lot of the time, you’ll get Nick cackling behind the monitors and you’ll feel good about yourself, yeah.”
All 3 actors say that Rogen and Stoller laugh constantly and loudly on the set during takes when actors try out jokes.
Barinholtz plays Jimmy Blevins, who is the best friend of Rogen’s character, Mack.
Barinholtz says there was a scene that ended up taking about 3 hours, because all of the actors were saying every penis joke they could think of in regards to Mintz-Plasse’s character.
On Byrne’s character, Barinholtz said, “Multiple times in the movie, she hits me or throws something at me because I’m just so disgusting and horrible…It was really fun to play off someone being disgusted with you…Being yelled at in an Australian accent’s pretty fun.”
O’Brien says that writers usually don’t get treated well on film sets, but since they’re friends with Rogen and Goldberg – both of whom started out as writers – they get treated very kindly.
There are some big cameos in the film, but the cast and filmmakers refused to give away who they were.
According to Cohen and O’Brien, there was supposed to be a scene with “poop everywhere,” where poop was being handled and thrown amongst characters, but everyone agreed it was too distasteful to make the final cut.
O’Brien said they knew right away that since this was a frat movie, they wanted to make it a hard “R,” so people could say and do whatever they wanted.
O’Brien said that Rogen and Goldberg were always pushing for the scene to be as inappropriate as possible with the fraternity.
Heavy.com - Interview With ‘Neighbors’ Stars Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Jerrod Carmichael (Excerpts)
HEAVY: Can you start by just telling us about your character?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Yeah. I play — I play Scoonie in Neighbors. He has a very large penis, like 14 inches.
Jerrod Carmichael: Well lead with the personality.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: I have to. I don't know what you guys are talking about.
Jerrod Carmichael: Oh, wow. All right.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Be my guest. He's the most 3-dimensional character.
Jerrod Carmichael: Yeah. I am — I'm Garf. I believe that it is not the size of the boat. It is the--I'm a--I'm a frat brother, fraternity brother and, you know, I get to have fun and react to all the insanity that I'm sure you've seen.
Dave Franco: Garf does the hardest drugs in the movie.
Jerrod Carmichael: I do a lot of hard drugs.
Dave Franco: He does — he takes —.
Jerrod Carmichael: I tried to leave that out, but I don't like to talk about that as much.
Dave Franco: Horse tranquilizers.
Jerrod Carmichael: Horse tranquilizers on the reg.
Dave Franco: Yeah.
Jerrod Carmichael: So, yeah. It's a lot of drugs. A lot. I'm really enjoying college. I don't know what these guys are doing, but I'm actually enjoying it.
Dave Franco: And I play Pete, who is the vice president to Zac's president. And I'm the guy who starts out the movie kind of with the same mentality as Zac's character. I can see that this guy is making fun of me down here. And it's the same mentality as Zac's character in the sense that, like, we both are — kind of have a one track mind. Want to party and get girls. But then throughout the film, Pete — you see that Pete actually is working towards having a future. Delta Psi isn't his whole world as it is for Teddy. And he is the smartest of the dumb kids and slightly nicer than the rest of the mean kids.
HEAVY: Talk a little bit, about working--knowing that you're releasing, like, a hard R movie, the freedom of being able to say and do whatever you want.
Dave Franco: It's great. But at the same time, I don't know. Sometimes after we finish a scene, I look back and I'm, like, did I say fuck too many times? It's--I don't know. It does feel great to have the freedom to say whatever we want. Literally, like, you can get really dark and weird with it. It's, like, a--.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Yeah.
Dave Franco: Hard R. I mean, we see Chris's dick.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: And it's not even like —.
Dave Franco: Go back to the dick talk.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, it's not even the words. It--there's so many drugs in this movie.
Dave Franco: Right.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: And there's a boner rig that you wear.
Dave Franco: Right, right.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: There's — it's honestly, like, every day, it just gets crazier and crazier. Because it's an R movie, you're allowed to do that kind of stuff.
I'm just going to link to Hitfix.com's Drew McWeeney's convo with Evan Goldberg since there isn't really anything super pertinent that isn't already covered elsewhere. When Drew posts his other set visit things, I may make another post for it, if there is any really super new info. Also while I posted the bullet points from Collider's 30 Things article that weren't covered in the Seth/Zac and Nicholas interviews, I'm hoping Frosty posts full interviews with the others later, cause they sound funny.
In other AWESOME NEWS, Neighbors will premiere at SXSW Film Festival! Though the festival's site does not list dates or times yet, Ike Barinholtz, who play's Seth's friend in the film, says the premiere is on March 8th.