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Interview: Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

08.13.2007

Does the phrase “I am McLovin” ring a bell? If not, it will soon. When SUPERBAD hits theatres this coming Friday, August 17th, do yourself a favor and see what is the funniest comedy in years (you can read my review HERE). It stars Michael Cera who you may remember as George Michael in the underappreciated cult series “Arrested Development”, and if you happen to check out YouTube, you may notice a similarity to this dude on a few webisodes of “Clark and Michael” (better yet, you should check out the site www.clarkandmichael.com).

And if the name Christopher Mintz-Plasse doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry, this is his first film and one that will make a huge impression. Every time you see anyone like this dude, you will remember McLovin. Both Christopher and Michael are perfectly cast alongside some cool cats like Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, just to name a few.

I got the chance to sit down with a few other journalists and talk shop with these two guys over in Culver City one August morning. And truthfully, I’m a big fan of Michael Cera and his wonderfully funny series on the web… he was funny on “Arrested Development” too.  Not only is he up there in the sense of humor department, he is also very down to earth and just a regular dude. He fits right in to the current crop of actors who are really damn funny and seem to be appearing in a Judd Apatow directed or produced film as of late (producer for SUPERBAD). I am actually a bigger fan of the guy after talking to him.

As for Christopher… WOW! This dude auditions for this little flick, which in lesser hands may have been straight to DVD, and he is cast in a role that will turn a few heads. He leaves a pretty vivid impression on pop culture cinema with his very funny work as Fogell, the nerd who finds the McLovin inside. As was Michael, Chris is a very nice dude who seems to be enjoying this opportunity to make people laugh and apparently, he doesn’t mind being called “McLovin” for the moment. You’ll be seeing this dude on t-shirts everywhere so soon that you’ll forget Pedro was even running.

So check out what the boys had to say and check out SUPERBAD opening Friday, August 17th at a theatre near you.

Michael Cera Chris Mintz-Plasse

Michael, did you know the song “These Eyes” before this film?

Michael Cera:  Yeah, I’d heard it.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse:  I’ve heard it a couple of times.

MC:  Where is the speaker?  That’s strange… [In regards to the why his voice is being amplified]

CM:  I think it’s under the table right there.

It’s being recorded.

MC:  It is?  And broadcast?

CM:  I’m surprised we couldn’t hear it over there.

MC:  I could.  When Jonah laughed.

So there are alternate versions of you dancing?

MC:  There’s one where I’m dancing and one where I’m singing “The Thong Song”.

CM:  “The Thong Song’s” hilarious.  I wish it was that one.

That will make it on the DVD probably?

MC:  Maybe.  Maybe.

CM:  I’m sure.

Michael, I read somewhere that you and Jonah hung out before filming, what did you guys do together, did you guys become friends quickly?

MC:  Yeah.  We drove around together a lot, talked about the movie, talked about other movies.  Ate food.  Played video games.  We all…

CM:  Guitar Hero.

MC:  We all rehearsed together.  We went to CPK, I get the barbeque chicken chopped.

CM:  I got cheese pizza.

MC:  And then we did a shot of wheat grass at Jamba Juice.  The first time either of us…

CM:  Yes.

MC:  …either of us had tried it.

CM:  The was really…

MC:  Didn’t feel any better.

CM:  Nah.  It just made it so every time I burped I tasted grass.

MC:  Also we rehearsed in Greg’s [Motolla] office a lot.

CM:  They taped that too, I wonder we’ll see those…

MC:  Yeah, maybe it will be on the DVD.  Yeah, but that was it, we all got pretty comfortable with each  other by the time it came to film on tape.

We hear that you showed up Jonah at the casting session. Can you tell us about that?

CM:  I didn’t think…

MC:  That will be on the DVD hopefully.

CM:  I didn’t know until like two weeks ago that after my audition, Jonah was like, ‘No. F*uck that guy, I don’t want him in the movie.’

MC:  Literally, right when you left the room he was like… I hate him.

CM:  I didn’t know that until like three weeks ago.  That was kind of funny to know but…

MC:  And everyone was like, Seth [Rogen] and I were just laughing at Jonah’s reaction.  And Jonah’s like, ‘no seriously, that guys sucks.’ and we’re like, ‘no, that’s why it’s funny cuz you hate him.’ [Laughing]  But you warmed up to him.  Actually that day we went and watched the tape after you had auditioned, we went to Seth’s house and all sat around and watched the tape.  And Jonah already saw that you were funny and…

CM:  That’s good.

So Chris are you prepared for the women that are going to want to be with McLovin in real life?

CM:  Bring it.  Bring it on.

MC:  He’s not unprepared.

CM:  Yeah… [Laughing]  Mike’s… I’m not the only person that’s gonna get the lady action.

The Comic Con ladies were after you.

CM:  One Comic Con girl.

MC:  Yeah, one girl and people keep telling me that it happened over and over.

CM:  There was two I thought.

MC:  Okay, two but it was at Comic Con.  That’s the only place that that would ever happen.

CM:  I saw one cute girl and she was with her boyfriend and she was wearing a pass and she was just like normal looking.  Like she wasn’t wearing any weird costume or anything.  The only cute girl I saw at Comic Con.  I was depressed.

Can you guys talk about your experiences of going to Comic Con and walking around…?

MC:  Yeah, I met Ernie Hudson and got a signed headshot.  [Laughing] And it’s all on tape.

How much?

MC:  Twenty bucks.  And I have it on tape, me talking to him and getting the signed headshot.  He was really friendly.  And he hasn’t aged at all.

CM:  Really?

MC:  Yeah, he hasn’t aged a day.

CM:  Wow.  Good for him.

MC:  Looks great.

He was just there wandering around?

MC:  He had a booth.

Was it a GHOSTBUSTERS headshot?

MC:  Yeah, it was him, as Winston.

CM:  Tell em what he said, tell em what he wrote on it.

MC:  Michael, who you gonna call? [Laughing]  And I met Harold Ramis too.  But with Ernie Hudson, maybe it’s just cuz he looks how he did during the movie, Harold Ramis looks like a completely different person.  It was just… I was like really nervous for some reason, it took so much for me to just go up to him and ask for him to sign a headshot.

CM:  Ernie?

MC:  Yeah, Ernie.

You’ve been doing a web show called Clark and Michael  [with Clark Duke].  Can you talk a little bit about that and…see…?

MC:  Just talk about it?

Well, I wanted to know what the reaction has been since it’s been completed and will there be another one..?

MC:  I’m not sure.  I have no idea what the reaction was.  I don’t know how many people are watching it or what people think of it.  The only thing I can go by is the comments on the actual page which is kind of tampered you  know.  What did you say… the second part?

I just wanted to know do you think there will be another one?

MC:  I don’t know, I don’t think we’re gonna do anymore.

CM:  Clark seems too Hollywood out to…

MC:  He’s doing “Greek” [Television Show] that he’s in contract with, they probably wouldn’t let him make anymore if he wanted to.

He makes a cameo in SUPERBAD.

CM:  It wasn’t even a cameo, he just came and hung out on set almost everyday, because he was friends with Mike, so we just kind of threw him in the movie.

MC:  Well, he auditioned a bunch of times for Fogell actually.

CM:  Really?

MC:  Yeah.  They knew him.

CM:  I had no idea.

Mike can you talk about the dancing?

MC:  In the beginning?

Yeah.

MC:  Yeah, uh, we recorded me dancing for an hour straight.  It was Evan’s [Goldberg] idea for the DVD menu, he wanted the DVD menu to be, cuz if you… I think if it’s a Blu-Ray disc you can have menu’s that long, and it would be an hour of me dancing without looping so that would be like, wow, how long does this go on for.  Like you wait for it to loop, and it never would you know.

CM:  I can’t believe you danced for an hour, that’s unbelievable.

MC:  For an entire tape, which is you know, like fifty-three minutes.  And it was just for the menu in front of a green screen.  And then someone made a… I think it was an editors assistant made an intro of me dancing where it’s silhouetted, you know, like the intro to the movie.  They haven’t changed it at all.  And then they recorded Jonah dancing because they decided they were going to use it at the beginning of the movie.  Which I love, I think it’s really…

CM:  That really gives you the vibe.

MC:  So they recorded Jonah dancing and singing and put it.  But it was only done for the DVD menu.  At midnight one night, and Evan felt really bad for making the cameraman stay to watch me dance.  I felt like an idiot too.

Any dancing lessons or is this all you?

MC:  Nah, it’s not really…

CM:  Not really professional.

What were you dancing to?

MC:  They were playing music, they were playing The Unicorns over the loudspeaker.

It was all improvised?

MC:  Yeah.  Well, Evan was like shouting things out at me to do.  Like pretend your using a lawn mower.  [Laughing]

Jonah was saying that he was not trying to channel in any way, shape or form, Seth Rogen.  The fact that you were spending a lot of time with Evan, you saw him… there are some looks, some movements that were similar…

MC:  Yeah, but that might have just come from him hanging with me and being around those guys, you know, accidentally becoming like them.  But I wasn’t trying… it wasn’t like based on him.  Because it didn’t matter, cuz nobody knows those guys in real life, or most people who are watching the movie don’t.  So it was more about seeming real, you know, then seeing like a bad impression of a person that actually exists.  I don’t think that that was ever their intention to have the characters sound like them or act like them, you know.

No, but there may be some fallout from, as you say, being around somebody and then you become something that he wrote about himself.

MC:  If anything, I think the dynamic between the two, you know, like the way they talk to each other.  That was probably the closest thing to real life like them.  But otherwise they were more concerned with like, how would I say this, you know?

Who did you resemble more in school, Evan or Seth?

MC:  Maybe, eh… probably Evan.  I was not too bitter at school.

CM:  I’m kinda like Seth.  I had a very dirty mouth in high school.

This is your first film isn’t it?

CM:  Yeah.

Could you both talk about what you have coming up?

CM:  I’m kind of waiting for SUPERBAD to come out and like, when I get back from Europe [on a press tour] then my agents will say I’ll probably get more scripts sent to me and stuff so…we’ll see what happens after that.

MC:  In January I’m working on a movie with Harold Ramis that he’s directing…

CM:  And Jack Black which is awesome.

Chris, how many auditions had you gone out for before you landed this?

CM:  None, SUPERBAD is my first audition.

Wow.  Had you had drama in high school?

CM:  Yeah, I’ve been in drama since I was like eight or something like that.  I’ve been acting in my schools for a long time.  And I was on an improv comedy sports team in my high school so that helped a lot with the audition.

Did you guys ever do any method acting with the alcohol?

MC:  No, I think it was all apple juice or water.

CM:  Or non-alcoholic beer.

MC:  Oh yeah, O’Douls.

CM:  That was gross.

MC:  Yeah.

Of all the actors in this film Michael, you probably have the high profile career because of “Arrested Development”.  Was there a sense that you had to come up with a different performance from George Michael?

MC:  No I didn’t really think about that.  I think this is a different… you know, it’s a lot more vulgar but I really hope that the people who like “Arrested Development” will like this, you know.  That would be great.

CM:  They will, they definitely will.

MC:  Thanks.

CM:  [Laughing]

I know with “Clark and Michael” you do writing and directing, is that something you’ll continue to do?

MC:  I’d like to yeah.  That was a really easy show to direct.  We both knew it really well and we were playing ourselves.  We had written it so nobody could tell us we weren’t doing the characters properly.  [Laughing]  And so we did it like a fake reality show so it was really easy because you can see booms and stuff and you could look in the camera and… yeah, I’d like to do that I just want to make sure that I’m competent in doing it before I ever actually do it.  So it’s not awful.

Are you writing anything else?

MC:  Yeah, I have written a few things.  I’m always kind of writing.

How old were you when you started writing it?

MC:  When it started, I was about seventeen and Clark was about twenty.

It’s similar in a way to these guys who wrote [Seth and Evan] when they were teenagers as well.

MC:  Sort of, yeah, we wrote it long before we ever actually made it, or actually had any aspirations to make it, you know.  We just kind of wrote it to make each other laugh.  And for something to do, you know.

Chris, what’s your take on McLovin?

CM:  I think he’s like, he’s kinda like a nerdy character who thinks he’s a lot cooler then he actually is.

Does he really think he is?

CM:  I think he thinks he’s really cool.  To himself, I think he thinks he is the coolest guy.  And he has a confidence about himself that you can kind of see in the movie.

Let me know what you think. And after you check out  SUPERBAD, just for kicks and giggles…which one were you in high school… share with the rest of the class. Send questions and comments  to jimmyo@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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