UNIVERSAL PICTURES Presents
In Association with PERFECT WORLD PICTURES
A POINT GREY/GOOD UNIVERSE Production
A NICHOLAS STOLLER Film
CHLOË GRACE MORETZ
ANDREW JAY COHEN
SETH ROGEN, p.g.a.
EVAN GOLDBERG, p.g.a.
JAMES WEAVER, p.g.a.
Based on Characters Created by
ANDREW JAY COHEN & BRENDAN O’BRIEN
ANDREW JAY COHEN & BRENDAN O’BRIEN & NICHOLAS STOLLER &
EVAN GOLDBERG & SETH ROGEN
Returning stars SETH ROGEN (The Night Before), ZAC EFRON (Dirty Grandpa) and ROSE BYRNE (Spy) are joined by CHLOË GRACE MORETZ (The Equalizer) for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, the follow-up to 2014’s most popular original comedy. NICHOLAS STOLLER (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) again directs in a film that follows what happens when the will of parenthood goes against the bonds of sisterhood.
Now that Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Byrne) have a second baby on the way, they are ready to make the final move into adulthood: the suburbs. But just as they thought they’d reclaimed the neighborhood and were safe to sell, they learn that the new occupants next door are a sorority even more out of control than Teddy (Efron) and his brothers ever dreamed of being.
Tired of their school’s sexist, restrictive system, the unorthodox ladies of Kappa Nu have decided to start a house where they can do whatever the hell they want. When Shelby (Moretz) and her sisters, Beth (KIERSEY CLEMONS of Amazon’s Transparent) and Nora (BEANIE FELDSTEIN of Fan Girl), find the perfect place just off campus, they won’t let the fact that it’s located on a quiet street stand in their way of parties as epic as the guys throw.
Forced to turn to the one ex-neighbor with the skills to bring down the new Greeks next door, the Radners—alongside best friends Jimmy (IKE BARINHOLTZ of upcoming Suicide Squad) and Paula (CARLA GALLO of Superbad)—bring in charismatic Teddy (Efron) as their secret weapon. If he can infiltrate the sorority and charm his way through it, the thirtysomethings will shutter the Kappa’s home. But if they think that their neighbors are going down without a fight, they have severely underestimated the power of youthful ingenuity and straight-up crazy.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising includes the return of a terrific supporting cast led by DAVE FRANCO (21 Jump Street), CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE (This Is the End) and JERROD CARMICHAEL (The Carmichael Show) as the brothers of Delta Psi, as well as featured favorite LISA KUDROW (Web Therapy) as Dean Carol Gladstone.
For the comedy, the filmmakers have assembled a behind-the-scenes crew of returning artists and those new to the company. They are led by cinematographer BRANDON TROST (This Is the End, The Interview), production designer THERESA GULESERIAN (Togetherness, Before We Go), editor ZENE BAKER (The Interview, This Is the End), costume designer LEESA EVANS (Zoolander 2, Trainwreck) and composer MICHAEL ANDREWS (Bridesmaids, Neighbors).
Also back in the same duties are series producers EVAN GOLDBERG (This Is the End, The Interview), JAMES WEAVER (This Is the End, The Interview) and Rogen, who produce under their Point Grey Pictures banner.
Based on characters created by Neighbors’ ANDREW JAY COHEN & BRENDAN O’BRIEN, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is written by Cohen & O’Brien & Stoller & Goldberg & Rogen.
Good Universe’s NATHAN KAHANE (Juno) and JOE DRAKE (The Hunger Games series) return to the series as executive producers alongside TED GIDLOW (The DUFF), Cohen and O’Brien.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Same Neighborhood, Nu Rules:
Released in 2014, the original comedy Neighbors struck a chord with audiences who enjoyed the film’s tale of the uproarious battle between a young couple and the fraternity that moved in next door. Naturally, the film’s hearty box-office and critical acclaim spawned discussions of a follow-up between its creators—director Nicholas Stoller and producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver.
Determined not to suffer the same fate as the trite comedy sequels of the past—ones that ended up as overstuffed re-hashings of the originals—the team underscored that bigger doesn’t mean better. Comments Rogen, who stars in and produces the film: “The conversation wasn’t how to escalate it; that’s where a lot of sequels go wrong. It was how to evolve it. We weren’t trying to add more and make a bigger version of the first; we wanted to explore what the next thing was that would happen in these people’s lives.”
In an effort to avoid the pitfalls and tropes of sequels gone wrong, the creative team extensively researched sequels they felt had parallel themes and found their greatest inspiration from a surprising source. Notes Stoller: “This is like a gross R-rated dirty disgusting Toy Story…but Toy Story nonetheless. It’s about growing up, getting older, and what is both funny and bittersweet about that process…and how it relates to every character in the movie.”
A few years after taking down the frat that moved in next door, reformed partyers Mac and Kelly find themselves entering a new phase of life. With baby no. 2 on the way, the couple is preparing to move their growing family out of the college town and head toward the last bastion of full-blown adulthood.
Now that Stella (ELISE VARGAS) is entering the phase in which toddlers discover the power of the word “no!”, Mac and Kelly are faced with the notion that their beautiful daughter will one day grow to become a rebellious teen and look at them with the same disdain for adults that they once did. Sums Stoller: “The film is about the terror and fear all parents feel that they are doing a bad job as parents and that one day their kid’s going to hate them.”
It was this duality of purpose that appealed to the team. Says Rogen: “The first film dealt with not wanting to accept the idea of growing up and still having the desire to party and act immature. In this one they’ve accepted that they’ve grown up, but don’t want to accept that their kids are going to grow up and eventually dislike them. While the first one was about Mac and Kelly wanting to still be kids, this one is about them trying to control a kid.”
For the Radners’ former neighbor, Teddy Sanders, time has proven to be somewhat unforgiving. After taking the fall for Delta Psi and his resulting expulsion, Teddy is stuck in a meaningless retail job without any sense of purpose or direction.
With his frat buddies settling into their adult lives and establishing themselves both professionally and personally, Teddy is becoming increasingly aware that he might be left behind. “Teddy is in somewhat of a fragile state,” explains Efron. “He is on the brink of a new phase of life and is having a quarter-life crisis. All his old Delta Psi brothers have gone on and accomplished things, and he is stagnant and not progressing in the world.”
While Teddy is slowly unraveling and questioning how to put his very specific (and seemingly useless) skill set to good use, Mac and Kelly are preparing for their next big step. With a buyer locked in and the 30-day escrow period underway, lightning strikes again when a new tenant moves into the old Delta Psi house. Explains Rose Byrne: “Mac and Kelly are trying to move further into their domesticity; and lo and behold, a sorority moves in next door. They are faced with the possibility that they might lose both the house they’re selling and the house they bought, so the stakes are high.”
The sorority serves as a cruel reminder of Mac and Kelly’s worst fear: the eventuality that their daughter will one day grow up to hate them. Explains Rogen: “We’ve accepted that we’ve grown up but don’t want to accept that our kids are going to grow up, start to dislike us and ultimately become the girls next door.”
While developing the project, numerous story ideas and scenarios were bandied about (Delta Psi returns years later! There’s a mythological party dorm called Dormopolis!), the creative team ultimately landed on the idea of a hard-partying sorority moving into the vacant house next door. It was then that they made a surprising discovery. “Someone in our office was in a sorority and overheard us talking about the idea of a hard-partying sorority moving in next door,” recalls Rogen. “She offhandedly mentioned that they actually aren’t allowed to throw parties. Once we looked it up, we found that it was true it gave us the idea for the whole storyline.”
In fact, a little Googling dug up the fact that Greek letter sororities are barred from serving alcohol at their residences. With the discovery of this glaring gender inequality, the filmmakers had stumbled on an interesting issue that broadened the scope of the Neighbors universe. “When we started researching how sororities work, we were shocked at how sexist the system was,” says Evan Goldberg. “Seth and I are from Canada and assumed that they threw parties just like the frats did. We knew that having a feminist undertone and storyline would make the movie a lot more interesting.”
Of course, the girls arriving at the film’s college, Braxton, were ready to taste the storied college culture—away from the eyes of their parents and restrictions of high school life. Once they grasped the reality that they couldn’t throw-down as hard as the boys, they found an ideal worth fighting for. Any self-respecting girl has to fight for her right to party.
With one house desperate to make it through escrow and another desperate to start a legacy outside a male-oriented system, things quickly escalate and Teddy is stuck in between. As the girls’ tactics get more and more ruthless, our hero is forced to choose between the Greeks and a system he once loved…or switch sides to bring the sorority down.
The creators of the first film’s characters, Andrew Jay Cohen & Brendan O’Brien, are joined by Rogen, Weaver and Stoller in screenplay duties on the second comedy. Together, they imagined Mac and Kelly going head to head with a group of empowered young women attempting to challenge a sexist system.
On some level, the nobility of the sorority’s cause allows them to be more vicious and blurs the lines of just who the villains are. “The Kappa Nu girls have a much clearer vision and much more of a just goal this time around,” says Rogen. “It is said that the best villains are sympathetic. Because of that, the girls are able to go much further and are a lot scarier than the Delta Psi guys ever were.”
As is true in times of war, ethics are put to the test when fighting for progress and change on the path to righteousness. States Stoller: “What the girls want to do is oddly a valiant and noble pursuit. So even as they’re being despicable to Mac and Kelly, you’re kind of rooting for them to succeed because they’re fighting the system.”
It was crucial to the creative team that these be real characters, not just punchlines. The women of Kappa Nu are fighting for something they really believe in. The ideas explored through the scope of the characters address how women are usually portrayed in the genre, and this comedy does its part to level the playing field. In the Neighbors universe, the women are liberated and free enough to have fun at their own expense…just like the guys.
“One of the running jokes in the movie is we have a lot of pretty dim-witted characters debating the rules of feminism,” says Stoller. “It’s kind of feminist to be able to act like an idiot, which is also a comment on how a lot of comedies don’t usually allow women to be idiots the way men are.”
Recruits and Rulebreakers:
Casting the Comedy
Swing by any college campus across America during rush week and legions of wide-eyed freshman may be seen surveying the options available. For Braxton freshman Shelby, the promise of joining a sorority and partaking in the epic social life she’s been preparing for is quickly deflated after visiting Phi Lambda, the campus’s most popular house.
Shelby unceremoniously lights a joint at their rush event and learns the cold hard truth: Rules dictate that partying can only take place at fraternities. “Shelby went to college hoping to be finally free from the shackles of her high-school life and parents,” states Rogen, “only to find that it was ultimately a very controlled system without any freedom.”
The activist freshman admittedly didn’t have a lot of close friends in high school, and now that Shelby has found sisters in Beth and Nora, they decide to take matters into their own hands and start an off-campus sorority. Kappa Nu is extremely important to them, and it will be a sorority without rules and free of all the sexist tropes; it will serve as a non-exclusive organization open to whomever wants to join. Girls can be who they are, define themselves and participate on their own terms—free from required approval or validation. For Shelby and the girls of Kappa Nu, #girlpower starts now.
With the trifecta of Rogen, Efron and Byrne set to return, the filmmaking team began the search for an actress to play the fearless, passionate and ruthless leader of Kappa Nu. The role went to Chloë Grace Moretz, whose fierce intelligence and impressive work in film and television made her perfect for the role. “Chloë is only 19 but is wise beyond her years,” lauds Stoller. “She has a similar energy to Zac as a result of her extensive experience in intense dramatic and action movies. She brings intensity to the role and, although we were shooting a comedy, she was always very present and intense…in addition to being hysterical.”
An exceptional athlete throughout high school, Shelby brings the fierce intensity required in sports to her cause and has no qualms about doing what it takes to protect the principles behind Kappa Nu. Moretz appreciated the heroine’s strength and was excited for the opportunity to play such a strong female character. “Shelby knows how to go after something and has insane tenacity,” the actress says. “She is definitely empowered, is not afraid to say, ‘No’ to someone and doesn’t let herself be pushed over by anyone, male or female.”
The role provided Moretz with the opportunity to test her skills in the world of improv-heavy comedy. “It was different for me because most of the other movies I’ve done have been dramatic pieces and took a much different approach,” states Moretz. “On this set, we were encouraged to mess around with the lines and to go off book. I was able to be a total ham and get away with it…instead of having to hide my ‘hammy’-ness.”
While rushing Phi Lambda, Shelby meets Beth and Nora, who are equally as appalled by the sexist dynamics of typical Greek life and its exclusionary tactics—behaviors seemingly established to serve fraternities. For Beth, who just got out of a long-term relationship, going to college provided the opportunity for her to explore her burgeoning sexuality.
Introduced to audiences in the breakout film Dope, actress Kiersey Clemons was drawn to the film’s themes of empowerment. She appreciated Beth’s good nature and journey of self-discovery. “Beth is a people pleaser and trying to figure herself out,” says Clemons. “She knows what’s right and wrong but still wants to learn and experience new things.”
Also on her own for the first time is Kappa Nu’s Nora, who has never experimented with drugs or alcohol before. Actress Beanie Feldstein didn’t have a lot of experience to draw from for the character’s deep exploration into recreational drug use. “I’ve been given the craziest stuff to do in this film and knew nothing about drugs, so much so that they had to teach me how to use a lighter,” laughs the actress.
A recent college graduate herself, Feldstein could relate to this stage of life and the bond shared among the girls. “They’re just trying to figure it out and seeking comfort in each other,” she reflects. “Shelby and Beth are both smoking, which leads Nora down a path. It can be very scary to come to a new school in a new town where you don’t know anyone, so I get it—the wanting to have your thing with your own set of people at school.”
The young women of Kappa Nu formed a sisterly bond that was felt both on the set and off. “It was so nice to work with a bunch of girls my age that are all talented and fun to be around outside of work,” commends Clemons. “We’d have sleepovers and just talk about boys, give each other advice and do cheesy stuff that’s fun for girls our age.”
Whereas we met the brothers of Delta Psi just as they were closing out their college years and on the brink of adulthood, the young women of Kappa Nu are just getting started and feel relentless in their pursuits. Offers Stoller: “The girls are around 18 as opposed to 22. So putting aside even gender stuff, they’re crazier because that social and moral development isn’t yet there.” The director laughs: “They have less morals and ethics when screwing with Mac and Kelly, and that makes this more of a horror movie this time around.”
The combination of their young age and the valiant nature of their agenda justifies the ruthlessness of Kappa Nu’s approach and tactics. “The girls have a clearer vision and a much more righteous goal, and because of that fact go much further and are a lot scarier,” agrees Rogen. “Personally, I’m much more afraid of Chloë, Kiersey and Beanie than I was of Zac, Dave, Jerrod and Chris.”
Returning as Teddy’s Delta Psi brothers, actors Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael and Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprise their roles as Pete, Garf and Scoonie, respectively. While they remain close, the frat brothers have all begun making their mark in the world—well, with the exception of Teddy. “You grow up, but you don’t necessarily grow apart,” offers Carmichael. “They are still hanging out and still like each other, but you become an adult. Unfortunately, Teddy is still trying to figure it out.”
For Franco, who returns as Teddy’s best friend, Pete, being back together with the same team was a welcome experience. “The first movie was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had on set,” lauds Franco, “and to come back and work with these guys again was wonderful. Because we all know and like each other, there was a comfort that allowed us to have more freedom to fall on our faces; that’s when the best stuff comes out.”
Also welcomed back to the Neighborhood are Mac and Kelly’s best friends, Jimmy and Paula—this time with greater participation in the plans to defeat the new Greeks. “Jimmy and Paula are about to have their first child and are freaking out, similar to what Mac and Kelly were going through in the first one,” provides Rogen. “They are still the same monsters they were the first time around…and are the grossest people ever.”
Director Stoller elaborates: “Jimmy and Paula are bored, just trying to relive their glory days and are around helping out Mac and Kelly.”
What they lack in intelligence, Jimmy and Paula make up for in commitment and intensity. “Carla and I had such a fun time on the first one, and they have somehow found out a way to make us dumber in this one,” notes Barinholtz. “While the theme of the film is moving into the next phase of life like Mac and Kelly are doing, Jimmy and Paula seems to have almost regressed. Our characters are impervious to arcs because they are so dumb.”
Gallo admittedly has a soft spot in her heart for the vapid couple and, alongside Barinholtz, was excited to get back to her vacant, gum-chewing ways. “It was ridiculously fun,” states the actress. “Half the time we were just trying to make each other laugh. My main goal with this film is that it’s good enough that we get to do five more.”
“Ike’s character says the most inappropriate things but does it with a certain charm where he can get away with it, and Carla is brilliant and such a hysterical comedienne,” lauds Byrne. “She always finds the most strange and offbeat perspective of a scene and was just brilliant.”
Considered scene stealers by other cast members, the duo of Barinholtz and Gallo always provided the most laughs on set. “You have to tune them out because the craziest stuff comes out of either of their mouths. I broke constantly, more than I have on any other movie,” agrees Efron.
Also returning to the Neighbors universe is the stable of supporting characters that made an indelible mark on the rich landscape of characters introduced in the first film. The list includes Lisa Kudrow as the unsympathetic Dean Gladstone, comedian HANNIBAL BURESS as one of Ardendale’s “finest,” LIZ CACKOWSKI as Wendy the Realtor and BRIAN HUSKY as Bill Wazakowski, Mac and Jimmy’s boss.
To fill out the cast of both new supporting characters and cameos, the filmmakers assembled a cast of some of the funniest actors working in comedy today. “One of the things we learned from the first one was that it was valuable to cast every small role with the funniest person willing to do it,” explains Rogen. “It worked brilliantly, and everyone provided us with something extremely funny.”
New to the world of R-rated comedies, actress and singer Selena Gomez was brought on for the role of the Phi Lambda president, the prissy sorority that Chloë, Beth and Nora initially rush upon arrival at college. “The Phi Lambda president was written as the quintessential example of what the girls run up against,” states Weaver. “We got to have fun with how beautiful and charming Selena is in a role that represents that over-the-top stereotypical sorority girl.”
“I was such a fan of the first film so it was a no-brainer for me,” provides Gomez. “Comedy brings out this side of you where you are forced to be a little uncomfortable, but you have the best time. You’re let loose and no one judges you. I got to spend the day laughing with some of the most incredible comedians.” She laughs: “My favorite piece of direction from Nick was ‘Smile…but be dead inside.’”
“Selena is one of my favorite cameos because I didn’t see it coming,” says Goldberg. “She was funny, chill and a lot of fun to be around. We only had her for a short time because of her schedule and had her do a ton of stuff; she was totally game.”
Sharing the Love:
Improv on the Set
With Stoller, Rogen and the majority of the cast back, the atmosphere on set felt less like work and more like a family reunion. “Coming back and having the whole team together was one of the greatest experiences ever,” states Efron. “Seeing the first movie do as well as it did made us so much more excited to return and hit it even harder. We have all been that much more energized to make a great movie.”
The new characters and actors brought a new dynamic to the process. “There’s a lot of new energy because of the addition of the girls; they made it equally as fun as the first,” adds Rogen.
Although any Nicholas Stoller film dictates that there will be a heavy dose of improv on set, the creative team worked diligently to craft a strong screenplay to provide a solid base for the storyline and thematics. Says Rogen: “A script is like the worst-case scenario, and this script was something we spent a lot of time on. But, it is impossible to predict if everything is going to work, and improv allows the actors to be organic and real in the moment.”
Stoller loves the collaboration among his cast and fellow producers. He offers: “I’m always writing from behind the camera and like to do a ton of improv, and try a lot of things. We have an amazing group of writers on this one who are hysterically funny and smart, and that allowed for us to do a lot of deeper story writing while shooting.”
The creative process established on set could be best described as an unconventional frenetic obstacle course of comedy filmmaking. Among the actors, Stoller and the team of writers, all pistons were firing. Armed with a stack of notebooks and paper at Video Village, the creative team of producers, writers and occasional talent—who were not in the scene—would jot down numerous ideas and jokes on paper as the scene was unfolding. After a few takes, the stack of papers were run to Stoller on set, who would immediately sift through them to throw the lines and/or jokes to the actors.
This process continued throughout the day; watch…jot…run…laugh…repeat. Compliments Weaver: “It was a very collaborative environment: one with Nick as the tip of the spear. He is the most open and collaborative person, while having the entire movie in his head at all times.”
Reflects improv master Barinholtz: “Nick’s super funny, a great writer and constantly has hilarious lines. He’s a great laugher, which is also important. Whether you’re doing stand-up, UCB or a movie like this, if you have a good idea and a good handle of who the character is…it’s important to have a director who has the confidence to let you run with it.”
For the young actresses representing Kappa Nu, the affable dynamic on set and encouragement to improv allowed them to add their voices to the choir. Recalls Moretz: “How can we have a social commentary on women within a movie written and created by a bunch of guys? It was cool that these dudes laid down their armor and encouraged our jokes…and they wrote what we wanted them to write.”
Moretz is new to intense comedy improv, and she found it quite helpful to have the full support from her collaborators. “Improv tests your writing and acting skills within the rights of your character,” she says. “It’s rewarding and exciting when you get it right and can hear everyone laughing off-camera.”
For the returning cast, it was an opportunity to build on the trust and shorthand established during the first film. Explains Byrne: “What makes this one stronger this time around is that we all know the strengths and chemistries of all the characters and players, and Nick has honed in on what works. Every day on the set we would work hard to get the scene to where it should be.”
Rogen and Byrne had a fan in their characters’ former biggest nuisance. “Watching Seth and Rose banter back and forth, their chemistry was insane,” commends Efron. “They are the funniest couple I’ve seen in a long time, and they make me want to be a parent. Being in a scene with them was so fun that I was constantly breaking and laughing.”
Byrne is the first to admit that the new comedy was a welcome opportunity to work with Rogen once again. She offers: “Seth is a comedy genius; it’s in his brain and how he sees every situation. I follow his lead, but he’s very generous and never dominates a scene. He does all the heavy lifting with our work.”
Regardless of whether or not he was on-screen on the shooting day, Rogen was a constant presence on the set in his role as producer. “Seth had his eye on the ball and was there every day,” says Stoller. I love working with him and feel like we’re strong creative partners along with Evan and James. I’ve known him since he was 18, so I sometimes forget how much of a comedy genius he is.”
Barinholtz sums up the thoughts of the rest of the cast: “Seth is always five steps ahead of everyone.” He pauses: “Working with him is like working with an incredibly smart Jewish teddy bear…who has marijuana smoke cascading off of his body.”
Back to the ’Hood:
Design, Locations and Shooting
With much of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising again taking place between Mac and Kelly’s home and the Kappa Nu house, the production team geared up returning to the scene of the crime…sort of. While the first film was lensed entirely in L.A. with two existing neighboring houses, the majority of filming this go-around took place between the same two neighboring houses in Atlanta, Georgia. “It was interesting to produce a movie that is set in the same place, without filming it in the same place,” notes Weaver. “So we’ve had to be creative with our choices.”
Production began in August 2015 and took place over a nine-week period with Atlanta filling in for Los Angeles filling in for the fictitious Ardendale. Production designer Theresa Guleserian and her team were put to the task of re-creating both houses entirely on stage. “The original interiors were not in neighboring homes, so the challenge was to find a way to put in the interiors and exteriors together so the characters could interact. We had to redesign the schematics of the houses so that they could see in each other’s windows,” explains Guleserian.
The process took place over several months of construction and utilized three stages to build the various settings in and around both houses. One stage housed the side exteriors and driveway between the houses—and almost the entire first floor of Mac and Kelly’s home. The second stage housed the exterior and full first floor of the Kappa Nu house, where the girls host their epic parties and sorority meetings. Finally, the third stage held the second-floor rooms of both homes: Mac and Kelly’s room, Stella’s room and Shelby’s room at Kappa Nu.
For continuity purposes, the art department was required to re-create and replicate even the smallest of details on the stage—down to matching the worn bricks, aged paint and driveway cracks. “We shot the bulk of the schedule on stage, which influenced the level of commitment required for the houses,” explains the production designer. “The trees were sourced to match the bark color, shape, texture, and fullness—since we would be filming a small portion of the film at the actual exterior location.”
At the end of the schedule, the company packed up everything and headed to Los Angeles for three days of shooting at the houses used in the first film. That provided the shots needed for editor Zene Baker to create seamless edits on screen.
Both houses had several “modes” throughout the filming process (for sale/empty mode, party mode, ransacked mode, rush mode) that kept the art department busy with constant changeovers. The interior of the old Delta Psi house was transformed into a more feminine space, a far cry from the abundance of phallic symbols and first-to-second floor bongs found when inhabited by the frat.
“We set out to feminize the house and tried to imagine how these young women with limited resources would decorate with what they might think is cool,” says Guleserian. The result? Less penis, more glittery mobiles, vintage furniture and a bunny wall. And echoing Delta Psi’s party wall of fame is Kappa Nu’s shrine to powerful women like Serena Williams, Rhonda Rousey and silent actress Theda Bara. “We called it the bad-bitch wall,” laughs Guleserian.
With potential financial ruin at risk for Mac and Kelly, and Kappa Nu fighting for equal party rights, each side was willing to do whatever it takes. The result is more intense stunt sequences that included barbeque-grill jumping, car-windshield throws, dangerously clumsy minions and a return of the good-old airbag gag. Offers Stoller: “It’s all pretty insane; we’re verging on Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin territory with this movie.”
The largest sequence orchestrated in the Neighbors universe thus far takes place at one of Ardendale’s Braxton University’s tailgate events. To raise the rent required to keep their sorority house, the Kappa Nu girls cleverly ratted out all the local weed dealers and are selling the only weed available in the area at the school’s tailgate—naturally, at inflated prices. Mac, Kelly, Teddy, Jimmy and Paula set out to steal the weed and shut them down, resulting in an extensive foot chase sequence through the raucous crowds of inebriated college revelers.
A self-professed expert at throwing fake parties, Stoller and cinematographer Brandon Trost pride themselves on upping the ante with the parties and visuals that represent contemporary college life. “We had to push ourselves because the parties in the first movie looked so awesome,” notes Stoller. “The tailgate is our first daytime party, and we had lots of barbeques with different-colored, disorienting, Mad-Max smoke.”
Shot over a four-day period, the tailgate sequence involved several hundred extras, a full marching band, special effects and a stunt sequence that felt much more Jason Bourne than Mac Radner. “There’s a giant chase with numerous elements to it,” recalls Goldberg. “We had people pole-vaulting using American flags, people running on barbeques, tackling each other and stealing things and a grand chase through dense smoke. It was very exciting.
“Brandon has the job of delivering the familiarity of Neighbors, which people responded to the energies of the parties and how it was shot,” continues the producer. “What he was tasked with on this one was to deliver the same feeling while adding the girls’ perspective and a wider scope.”
Moretz is no stranger to the action genre, and she was the first to jump into the fray. “The tailgate was a gigantic action sequence, and we were all running around fighting while I was checking people like a linebacker,” she concludes. “All of our greatest instincts and fighting abilities came out in that moment, and it got pretty intense.”
Universal Pictures presents—in association with Perfect World Pictures—A Point Grey/Good Universe Production of a Nicholas Stoller Film: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz. The comedy’s casting is by Francine Maisler, CSA, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler. The music is by Michael Andrews, and the music supervisors are Manish Raval, Tom Wolfe. The film’s costume designer is Leesa Evans, and the editor is Zene Baker, ACE. The production designer is Theresa Guleserian, and the director of photography is Brandon Trost. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is executive produced by Nathan Kahane, Joe Drake, Ted Gidlow, Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, and it is produced by Seth Rogen, p.g.a., Evan Goldberg, p.g.a., James Weaver, p.g.a. The comedy is based on characters created by Andrew Jay Cohen & Brendan O’Brien. It is written by Andrew Jay Cohen & Brendan O’Brien & Nicholas Stoller & Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is directed by Nicholas Stoller. A Universal Release © 2016 Universal Studios. www.neighbors-movie.com
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