Older but more excerpts from Drew's HitFix set visit write-ups
With Nick Stoller:
I asked him how much fun they were having with the escalation of the war between the frat and the family. "It builds and builds throughout the movie, like the best war movies have that element to them where they get crazier and crazier. That was a challenge as we were writing and rewriting the script and developing it. The challenge was to make sure we kept topping ourselves. I think we do. I think it gets pretty crazy. At its heart, there's this nice family story between Seth and Rose and their kid. I always thought it was interesting, too, to play with the idea of what your life is like right before you graduate from college and how everything becomes chaotic and horrible right at that moment. That's what's happening with Zac's story. I would say there's like one percent emotion in this movie."
When I was on the set of "Knocked Up," the Universal marketing team showed up to show off their very first poster concepts, and watching Seth Rogen as he saw the first one-sheets where he was the sole image that was being sold, it was a pretty special moment. He and Judd had the conversation that day where Seth was trying to wrap his head around the idea that someone would come to see a movie because of him, and these days, he seems to have become very comfortable playing the leading man in things. Now he's old enough to be the dad in this scenario instead of the leader of the frat, which seems like a real transition.
"He's been awesome. What's funny is he's kind of playing a guy who's trying to be cool. We talk about a lot about how he's always trying to impress Zac, which is a really funny dynamic. In 'Knocked Up,' he was the young cool guy doing idiotic stuff. And in this, he's trying to impress the younger guy, which is a funny thing."
He went on to explain, "The other thing that's great about this movie, which is a lesson really learned, is there's no one who's intelligent. Everyone is stupid in it. It really makes for a great comedy. Everyone. Rose is stupid. The people you think will be smart, like the wife, because that's the way these films work… nope. Rose is stupid, Seth is stupid, the brothers are all stupid… everyone's dumb. When you do that, everyone makes bad decisions, which is great. There's no one who's smart. It was kind of accidental. I didn't realize, but going through all the great comedies in my head, there's no one who's smart. As we're developing the script, you always start with the clichés as you start your development. A writer would be writing a script and you start with the wife character saying we should stop doing this and then they get into a fight because he keeps doing it and she doesn't, and as we kept revising and revising, we're, like, wait… no, everyone should be dumb. It's way funnier. Everyone's making terrible decisions."
With screenwriters, Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien:
I mentioned that Stoller had called that as his favorite thing about the process on this movie, the realization that they could make every character in their film an idiot. Stoller said it was liberating to realize that everyone in the film makes bad choices. O'Brien agreed. "Everyone's going through some sort of emotional breakdown."
Cohen was laughing at this point. "You could cut a tragic version of this movie where it's all just pain and suffering and people are divorced and their hearts have been crushed. We're mining it for comedy, but you could do the drama."
I told him I felt like you could have the same cast in the drama, and that would make it even more interesting. Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo play a couple who aware friends with Rogen and Byrne, but now they're going through a divorce, and it's horrible and brutal and bloody. O'Brien said, "There have definitely been times watching them where we're, like, 'Spin-off.' You could follow Ike and just watch Ike trying to get a job and that could be a movie. He's so funny. There's no weak link in the cast. Everybody is top-notch, and they're just gleeful. I have a big smile on my face when we watch them work."
Cohen said, "The other thing is that we treat the frat guys like they're real people. Earlier in the conception of it we were thinking, like, 'Oh, these like frat guys, they're such jerks.'"
That's the easy shorthand of using frat guys in films so far, certainly. O'Brien said that just didn't work, though. "We started thinking about it. Zac's a great guy. We love Dave Franco. Then Chris is going to be in the movie and this guy Jerrod, and these guys are just awesome guys. It suddenly seems way more real to us. That way the audience can still root for them and like them and it's more just a shame that these characters met at the wrong time, because they might have gotten along.
Most movies, even comedies, think in terms of good guys and bad guys. I asked them if that's true of this movie. "We were saying that we could cut a version of the movie that is from the frat's perspective, where Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are evil and they're The Man, and the kids are fighting for their right to party."
Read more of their interviews at the sources if interested.