Assembling the Supporting Cast
During development, the role of Mac's wife, Kelly, grew from a footnote
relegated to the responsibilities of adulthood to a full-on partner-in-crime.
Stoller was adamant that Kelly be more in the forefront. Explains Cohen:
"Initially, our biggest problem with the script was that it was too repetitious,
and amping up Kelly's involvement and bringing her into the war broke everything
wide open. She's protective of her family and is just as tragically flawed as
Mac is. She's doesn't whisper into Mac's ear like Lady Macbeth, she is Macbeth."
"It was important for Kelly not be the buzzkill whose purpose is to stop Mac
from doing crazy stuff," adds Rogen. "We wanted her to be just as into messing
with the frat as my character was and make it more of a team." Knowing that the
fear of growing up isn't only the providence of men, Rogen saw this dynamic
among his friends. "Mac and Kelly's relationship is so much more reflective of
the couples I know. Most guys I know really get along with their spouses, and
their wives want to have just as much fun and party as much as they do."
As the role of Kelly became more prominent, the filmmakers knew they'd need
an actress with comedic prowess who was willing to go the distance. After
working with Australian actress Rose Byrne on Get Him to the Greek and being
blown away by her scene-stealing performance in Bridesmaids, Stoller knew she
could carry off the insanity in and around the Radner home. "We all thought
about Rose for this role. She is a comedic genius," he commends. "She has to do
a lot of crazy stuff here, and she isn't worried about if it's going to look
goofy; she fully commits. She is so beautiful and elegant looking, and then
turns it on and has the mouth of a sailor."
Upon first hearing about the project, Byrne loved the idea of working with
Stoller again, and was enthusiastic about Kelly's equal involvement in the story
line and shenanigans. She shares: "Far too often in comedies, the female
character can be a bit nagging and a spoiler of the fun. This role was the
contrary, and I loved that. I was also excited about working with Seth, who is
such a strong comedic talent. I knew I was in really good hands with Nick and
Byrne was intrigued by the couple's challenges as new parents while trying to
hold on to their former lifestyle. "Mac and Kelly are at a place where they
haven't been able to step into their adult lives completely and still want to be
in that other world a bit," she explains. "They think they can still party
because they're cool, hip and young and desperately don't want to fall in the
trap of what getting older looks like in their minds. Kelly has a wild streak in
her, and I loved that neither of them are a voice of reason."
For the filmmakers, the comedic chemistry between Byrne and Rogen was a home
run. "The dynamic between Seth and Rose works well because Rose might be the
coolest and most chill actress we've worked with and always goes for it,"
explains Goldberg. "They are two actors with no pretense, and that allows them
to riff off of one another with the common goal of simply making a funny movie."
Knowing that he would be her on-screen husband, Rogen was excited for Byrne
to join the cast. He shares: "Rose is someone I've been a fan of for a long
time, and we are so lucky we got her. She is hilarious, super cool and easy to
work with. I'm literally thinking of ways to put Rose into every movie I make
from now on."
For the role of Pete, Delta Psi's vice president and second-in-command to
Teddy, Stoller and the producers sought out Dave Franco. Franco appreciated that
Pete wasn't just a one-dimensional, directionless party animal. The actor
explains: "Pete is a little more responsible and actually has a future. He is
aware that the world of Delta Psi is just a footnote in his whole journey."
As we move into the film's second act, and Teddy's obsession with taking down
their neighbors grows, Pete begins to back away from his involvement in the
frat-an act that challenges his seemingly unbreakable bond of brotherhood with
Teddy. "Pete is the smart guy with a future and knows that the frat is not the
be-all and end-all of his life," says Rogen. "The conflict that grows between
Pete and Teddy is about the rift that Pete will be moving on and Teddy won't."
Although the relationship between the Rogen/Goldberg team and Dave's older
brother, James, is better known to audiences, the filmmakers actually met Dave
prior to working with James, and had wanted to work with him on a project since.
Explains Goldberg: "Seth and I have been obsessed with putting Dave in another
movie since we worked with him on Superbad."
Franco jumped at the chance. "Seth is one of the hardest workers I've ever
been around," the actor commends. "Not only is he acting, but he is behind the
monitors throwing out alternate jokes and supporting everyone. It's amazing to
not only have someone throwing out ideas, but I love the fact that everything he
throws at me is usable material." The actor laughs: "I thank Evan and Seth for
making me a lot funnier than I naturally am."
For the role of the exceptionally well-endowed frat brother Scoonie, Goldberg
had frequent collaborator Christopher Mintz-Plasse-whose credits with the duo
includes Superbad and their directorial debut, This Is the End-in mind. Says the
producer: "I demanded that Chris play Scoonie. I was obsessed with the idea and
fortunately didn't need to be that stalwart; everybody agreed, so it was that
Mintz-Plasse was pleased to have the opportunity to work with his longtime
collaborators and friends once again. Recalls the actor: "I saw Evan at an event
where he told me he had a movie coming up and had a part for me. Two weeks
later, I got the offer. I was taken aback. I love working with these guys and am
To give Scoonie the enhancement required to play a character whose defining
asset is legendary on and off campus, Mintz-Plasse was outfitted with an
enormous prosthetic penis. That would allow for a somewhat strange and
challenging shoot for the actor. "The craziest part of this film, hands down, is
the ginormous prosthetic penis I had to wear, which was basically the size of my
body," says Mintz-Plasse. "It was weird to be on set with it hanging out of my
pants. Everyone was staring at me, but I was chilling. I just had a giant penis
hanging out, that's all."
Remembers Cohen: "Chris definitely changed when he had it on, almost like you
saw the beast unleashed. I was watching him one day and he was playing with it
and staring at it. He looked just like a little boy noticing what he had for the
To portray Garf, the gentle soul who is wise beyond his years, the filmmakers
chose stand-up comic Jerrod Carmichael. For Carmichael's foray into the world of
movies, Neighbors sets the bar unrealistically high. He shares: "This was a
truly enjoyable set to be on, like hanging out with your friends all day. This
is my first movie, and they've kicked it off well."
For the role of pledge Assjuice-who plays a pivotal part in the neighborhood
war-the filmmakers pegged British actor Craig Roberts, who wowed critics with
his performance in the film Submarine. Explains Goldberg: "Nick was obsessed
with the idea of getting somebody who was a truly exceptional actor to play
Assjuice, and Craig was his suggestion. He turned out to be a total grand slam."
Working on a set with improvisation so strongly encouraged proved to be an
eye-opening experience for the performer. "The set was free and offered such an
amazing experience to go through," says Roberts. "It was hard to get through a
take, there was so much laughing. I always heard about how much fun these guys
have on set, and they really do."
With the key fraternity members set, it was time for Mac and Kelly to get
some help of their own. They enlist their best friends, Jimmy and Paula, who
have not yet recovered from a recent divorce. Naturally, the ex-couple acts out
in ways that speak to their new status. Rogen explains: "Jimmy and Paula are our
characters' divorced friends and are going through a transition phase. Because
they're both single for the first time in a while, they've reverted back to
17-year-olds and get caught up in helping us with our hijinks."
For the role of Mac's best friend, co-worker and co-conspirator, Jimmy, the
team chose writer/comedian Ike Barinholtz, who currently appears on the
groundbreaking comedy The Mindy Project. Rogen's first encounter with Barinholtz
was when the actors worked together on an episode of the series Eastbound & Down
with Danny McBride. Shares Rogen: "Whenever Danny and his guys think someone's
funny, they are usually very funny. They raved about Ike."
Barinholtz blew Goldberg away during his audition. "Ike was somebody I was
completely unfamiliar with, and Seth and Nick kept telling me that Ike had to be
Jimmy," the producer says. "They told me that when he came in I wasn't going to
believe how hard he'd hit it out of the park, and they were right. He just might
be the best improver I've seen in my life. That guy is a whirlwind of comedy."
Barinholtz walks us through his attraction to this role, and he describes
Jimmy and Paula's relationship: "They might be the world's worst couple. Their
divorce is final, but as bad as they are as a couple, they are even worse broken
up. Paula is on a constant quest for fun and wants to party all the time, and
Jimmy's completely let himself go. But Jimmy's a loyal friend and wants to help
Mac and Kelly in any way he can. This gives him a purpose in his life."
Carla Gallo, an actress who has previously worked with Stoller and Rogen, was
chosen to play Paula. She dove wholeheartedly into Paula's arrested development.
"Paula is a trainwreck who is convinced that she's having the time of her life
but is really a mess who is drunk all the time," shares Gallo. "She dresses
ridiculously for her age and is hooking up with guys who are way too young for
her. She is very hostile towards Jimmy and is fully in the midst of a life
Gallo particularly enjoyed sparring with co-star and on-screen ex-husband
Barinholtz. "Ike is a comedic genius, and improving with him is literally like
exercising," she commends. "Afterwards, you're exhausted and feel like you've
had a total mental workout. He's got a lot in his arsenal."
Rounding out the supporting characters, the filmmakers brought in as many of
their favorites as possible to complete their comedic team, capped off by Lisa
Kudrow as the campus dean. Explains Rogen: "It's the first movie where we've
hired comedians to play every single role of the entire movie. It's been a lot
of fun because we had all these super funny people coming in day in and day
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