The new comedy from producer Judd Apatow is Superbad–that’s the name, not the quality–and it’s a high school comedy written by Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) with his long-time buddy Evan Goldberg. It stars Jonah Hill (Accepted) and Michael Cera as high school friends Seth and Evan (Yes, they’re based on the writers) and newcomer Christopher Mitz-Plasse as their nerdy friend Fogelman or as he becomes better known, “McLovin’.” ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk to the trio, as well as Rogen who plays a really bad police officer and Jonah Hill’s super-hot love interest, Emma Stone.
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After this interview, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mitz-Plasse got on a bus to tour the country and the Superbad Love Bus stopped through New York City where ComingSoon.net talked to the three of them some more while sitting around an unused pool table at the legendary Bowlmor Lanes.
ComingSoon.net: Are you at all sick of each other after doing this nationwide tour? Michael Cera: No, we’ve had a few days off from each other. Christopher Mintz-Plasse: That would be bad if we’re already sick of each other, because we have to go to Europe together for a month. Cera: Yeah, we’re going to Europe in September Jonah Hill: We’ve been able to recharge our batteries, rekindle the love. Cera: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
CS: Did you develop a certain love for each other as a result of this project? Cera: Yeah, I think so. We hung out a lot. Hill: We talked about feelings a lot. Cera: Yeah, we didn’t let disagreements come between us. Hill: We just hung out. We have the same tastes a lot in music and film. Michael and I had to spend a lot of time together before we started shooting. Cera: We’d share meals with each other. We both like Weezer, Coen Brothers films. Hill: Weezer’s first two albums are like the two best modern rock albums. Cera: Life-changing, that’s what I say.
CS: What can each of you relate to the most in your characters? Cera: I remember being not quite as socially inept but I never felt like the most popular person in school. I don’t even know what “popular” means, but I know I wasn’t it. (laughs) Mintz-Plasse: I had some sort of nerdy confidence to me when I was in high school, kind of like the character. Cera: He’s the most confident person I’ve ever met. I’m not kidding. Hill: That’s no joke. He’s got like complete confidence. There’s like nothing insecure when he’s speaking to somebody. Mintz-Plasse: High school was a little different. (gives a nerdy laugh) Hill: Well, you came in and auditioned and you said you were nervous, but literally, he came in and said “Hey, guys, what’s up? Let’s do this.” Cera: Well, he had nothing to lose. It was his first audition ever. He’s like why not? Balls to the wall.
CS: How was it working with Greg on the improv compared to Judd, especially since Seth and Evan had been working on their script for so many years? Hill: Yeah, I think we all come from the school of like when I was writing my movieswe haven’t shot any of them yet but we’ll probably shoot one soonand my theory is that you’re never going to be the only person who has a good idea, so anyone else can have a way better idea than you in the room, and it only looks like Seth and Evan are better writers if we improvise a funny line. I think everyone has that theory ’cause there’s no ego. It’s like who cares? Whatever is funniest will end up in the movie, so I think everyone, Greg included, just thinks like you shoot the script a couple times and get it to where you can use that and then after that, we have a bunch of takes the biggest thing they spend the money on is time to shoot more options, because what if something’s not funny? The worst thing you can have as a director is to be in an editing room and the joke doesn’t work and you have no other options for it. You’re screwed.
CS: Do they have similar or different styles of working? Hill: With Judd, it’s way more a free-flow of ideas kind of, it’s more like we’ll shoot it and he’ll literally throw out the script and be like, “Just start having a conversation.” This script (“Superbad”) was so solid. It was the funniest script I’d ever read so far, and also it takes place in one night, so the story has to be way tighter of what gets you from here to here, so the intentions were always the same, but Greg was really cool about letting us you were always encouraged to try whatever you wanted to try, which is the best way to work.
CS: Michael, how was it for you coming from “Arrested Development” which has a lot more writers and producers and others trying to keep you on script? Cera: Well, this was a very well written script, too. It wasn’t like an outline where there’d be a scene idea. There were very well written jokes and lines and stuff. If we were improvising at all, it was just to make things feel more natural, not to punch it up.
CS: Was there anything that you saw in the movie that surprised you that they kept and used it? Hill: A ton of stuff. There was stuff I say in the movie, I said thinking there’s no way that it would ever end up in the movie. “It would be foolish to put this in a movie” was at the back of my head.
CS: Jonah, what are you doing next and do you think you’ll do another movie with Justin Long? Hill: Justin’s a good friend of mine, but we don’t have anything planned. I’m writing three movies right now, two for studios and one might be with me and Seth where we would play brothers possibly. The other one I’m writing could possibly be me and Sam Rockwell, who’s a friend of mine and I really want to do a movie with, and Jason Schwartzman. I have a lot of friends that I haven’t gotten a chance to work with yet that now, if “Superbad” does well, I would get the opportunity to incorporate them into our community, ’cause I think they’re really funny and haven’t gotten the opportunity to show how funny they are. They’re such funny guys who are also such brilliant actors.
CS: So you’re getting more into writing than acting? Hill: Well, no, because I’m writing the movies for myself to star in. The people who always inspired me the most were people that generated their own material, like Albert Brooks or Woody Allen, people like that always seemed more interesting to me, and I think those are the people who stayed relevant longer, even if you’re going to go today, like Stiller or Will Ferrell. All those guys write their own or at least are heavily involved in the creative process of making their own movies. Judd has really pushed me to write always, and I think that’s what I had the most fun doing. When we make the first one of those movies, that’ll be the greatest day of my life, the first day I show up and everything we’re doing is the result of something I thought of.
CS: And what are you doing next, Michael? Cera: I think I’m starting to film a movie in January, Harold Ramis’ movie, he’s directing and he wrote it, with Jack Black, that Judd is producing. (He’s talking about Year One.) Until then, we’re touring, promoting the movie, going to Europe.