It’s fair to say that actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse will best be remembered for his role as McLovin in 2008’s Superbad, but since then he’s branched out to star in a variety of hit films including the Kick-Ass series, Pitch Perfect, How To Train Your Dragon (1 and 2). In Neighbors, out May 9th, in he stars as a member of Zac Efron’s rambunctious frat that makes Seth Rogen’s life a living hell. Added to the mix is Jerrod Carmichael, a rising comedy star (recently voted the number one stand-up comedian to watch in LA) who has also an HBO stand-up special and a NBC pilot in the works. Here, Chris and Jerrod talk about their respective careers, making Neighbors, and the weird thing about animated movies.
Congratulations on the movie, guys!
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Thank you! We went to see it at the premiere at South by Southwest and we were laughing harder than anybody else.
Jerrod, how did you get the role in Neighbors?
Jerrod Carmichael: Well, I auditioned with the director (Nicholas Stoller) and had a meeting with Point Grey, which is Seth Rogen and (producer) Evan Goldberg’s production company.Though, I usually leave auditions.I just walk out.
Before you actually audition?
JC: What will happen is I’ll walk in the room and see better versions of myself, since they just herd in types. So I’m like, “That’s me if I worked out, that’s me if my parents had dental insurance….” And then I’ll just mark my name off the list and leave. And that has happened at about, no lie, 90 percent of the auditions that I go to. So this was the first one in awhile that I actually stayed at. I’m glad that I did.
And how did you get involved, Chris?
CMP: Well, this was my third time working with these guys. I was at my buddy’s engagement party and Evan Goldberg was there, and he mentioned he was making a movie about a frat and that there was a part for me.
JC: Now you’ll start seeing young actors hanging out at engagement parties.
CMP: Yeah, it’ll be kind of like Wedding Crashers except it’s guys going to engagement parties (looking for roles).
There are so many scenes and lines in Neighbors that I feel like will be repeated by high school and college kids. At one point, you guys take molds of your dicks…
JC: I think people are actually going to try that. Or when they hot-box the house.
When I was watching that, my one thought was “Oh, this is a waste of weed.” That’d be expensive, to hot-box an entire house.
JC: It’d take a lot of weed. The frat had a big budget.
Jerrod, you have an HBO comedy special coming up and I heard Spike Lee is directing it? That’s insane.
CMP: It was between me and Spike Lee [Laughs].
So how did that come about with him? Because you can’t just call up Spike Lee.
JC: What’s funny is I did!
JC: When I was searching for a director, I was thinking that a lot of stand-up specials got cheesy and silly and they aren’t art anymore. Not to sound pretentious, but I wanted it to be a piece of art. So I wanted a director that had a feel and a tone and something he could bring to it. I reached out to him through some mutual connections, and he watched some material of mine and wanted to do it. And then I’m coming back to New York to edit the thing over at (Lee’s production company) 40 Acres and a Mule. I’m trying to get a jacket of theirs so bad.
CMP: I like that that’s your goal.
JC: Well, that’s why I wanted Spike—to get the jacket.
Chris, you also have How To Train Your Dragon 2 coming out in June. Do you have a meaty role in it?
CMP: Well, he is a fat guy [Laughs]. It’s kind of the same group of friends as the last one with Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller. Cate Blanchett is in this one too, which is very exciting. It’s a supporting role, but this one gets much darker than the first one. This is going to sound fucked up, but I enjoy when kids movies get dark. You gotta let the children know what life is all about.
Like in Toy Story 3 when they all almost burn to death.
JC: Or the miscarriage in Up.
CMP: Was there a miscarriage?
JC: Yeah, maybe I saw a different version.
I only remember when the wife dies in Up.
CMP: You’re thinking of Rosemary’s Baby.
JC: Very similar movie. Excuse me, common mistake!
Chris, what’s the process of working on an animated movie like? Have you seen any of How To Train Your Dragon 2 yet?
CMP: No, actually. I did 5 or 6 sessions over a year and a half’s time.
Do you even remember the story?
CMP: Hardly. I’m a fan when I’m watching these movies. I remember I saw a rough cut, and it wasn’t fully animated, so the first hour was done and the last half hour was still sketches.
And just some random guy on tape making believe he’s a dragon.
CMP: The first time I truly see them is at the premiere, which is always exciting. For a movie like Neighbors, I totally love seeing the first cut of the movie, and the second cut, but for animation—no offense—the first cuts kind of look like shit. So I like waiting till the premiere to see how it all comes together.
Jerrod, tell me about this pilot you have in the works with NBC.
JC: You tell me! I’ve been checking my phone just to see if I have a call from an agent to see if we’re going to series or not.
I’m pulling for you! What’s the plot of the first episode?
JC: Thank you, man. I live with my girlfriend and I go on strike from my job at a shoe store. But I have an anniversary coming up, so I give her the gift of “I love you,” which is just saying “I love you” but really meaning it. The goal was to create a show that was free enough to explore topics and situations. What I love about shows like All in the Family and South Park is that they take on real issues.
CMP: I did a sitcom for CBS which wasn’t picked up, but there was a situation where I ran into a room and said, “WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH QUICHES,” and then there’d be a 100 quiches on the table in the next scene. No one can fucking relate to that, so I like sitcoms that have situational humor and conversation, and things that people can relate to.
Was that an actual thing in the show?
CMP: In that episode, yes.
Isn’t the plural of quiche, quiche?
CMP: Probably. That’s why we didn’t get picked up.