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How To Be Superbad
"Even though it's not really necessary for the movie, I thought it would be really funny to train the guys how to shoot guns,” Robertson says. "It was good excuse for us all to go to a gun range, which I'd always wanted to do.” So, Rogen, Goldberg, Hill, Mintz- Plasse, Hader, and Robertson shuttled off to a local gun range for a little research. "And then it was not so fun,” she goes on. "We quickly settled into two groups: those of us who really enjoyed shooting, and then there was the other group.” Which was not so much a group as it was Robertson and Bill Hader. "Bill and I were really scared and sat in the van the whole time. We shot a few guns and got the hell out of there. But Seth and Jonah and Chris loved it.”

The experience proved useful when it came time to shoot the big scene in which the cops, with the help of Fogell, shoot their own squad car. "That was maybe the greatest night of shooting of my entire life,” Rogen enthuses. "It was terrifying standing next to Chris as he was holding a live firearm and shooting at a flaming police car. On the other hand, I got to throw a flaming Molotov cocktail and we got to be put on the back of this crazy rig that spun us around. I didn't throw up. To me, that's a successful day of shooting.”

Although Hader didn't really find much use for the gun range, he did have a little fun on set. "I got to pull a gun on Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, and that was awful -- they looked so scared,” he laughs. "It was a real gun and poor Michael Cera, especially, just completely freaked out.”

For his part, Cera remembers the night a little differently. "When Bill pulls a gun on us for no reason -- it's one of my favorite moments of the movie.” In the film, moments later, his character sprints off into the dark. "They didn't offer me a stunt runner. I think you have to request one, which I am not ashamed to do. There's no shame in that.” Perhaps that was a call Cera should have made. "It's remarkable how funny just the image of Michael Cera running is,” enthuses Goldberg.

Hader marks another event as his personal highlight of the shoot: "Seth dancing as a cop is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life, but still not as funny as Michael Cera dancing.”

Shooting the film digitally allowed the actors an unusual amount of creative freedom to ad-lib and find the funny moments. "There was one day that Bill and I did a 16-minute take,” says Rogen. "For driving scenes, you usually have to stop every eight minutes to reload the camera. Instead, we just drove around for 45 minutes and did the scene over and over again.”

Jonah Hill was similarly notorious for stretching his scenes. "I always make fun of Jonah for his long takes,” says Shauna Robertson. "Shooting digitally, he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted -- he had one take that was 21 minutes long. There's really no limit. Over the course of the shoot, we learned to moderate ourselves and not go crazy just because we could.”

As freeing as improvisation is for the actors, the method is difficult for the director. "It becomes very technical,” says Mottola. "It impacts the shooting—where you put the camera and how much you can move the camera. You need options, so that you can reshape scenes after the filming is over. You need to know that the shots will cut together, that you won't be missing important bits of information.”


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