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NEIGHBORS

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 him."

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 simple."

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 so grateful."

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 first time."

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 crisis."

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 out."

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