Jonah Hill ‘Hated’ Christopher Mintz-Plasse on ‘Superbad’ Set at First: ‘Really Annoying to Me at the Time’
McLovin’ originally was McHated.
“Superbad” co-screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg remembered how lead actor Jonah Hill “hated” newcomer co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse at first on set. Casting director Allison Jones had put up flyers at local Southern California high schools to cast the 2007 teen comedy, leading Mintz-Plasse to audition.
“Jonah immediately hated him. He was like, ‘That was fucking with my rhythm. I couldn’t perform with that guy,’” Rogen, who also starred in the film, told Vanity Fair as part of the 15th anniversary oral history for the iconic film.
Executive producer Judd Apatow added, “Jonah said, ‘I don’t like that guy. I don’t want him doing it.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly why we’re hiring him. It couldn’t be more perfect. The fact that it bothers you is exactly what we want.’”
According to Apatow, Mintz-Plasse was “very caustic and attacked Jonah and did improvs insulting Jonah” during his third callback audition for the role alongside Hill. A self-proclaimed “scrawny kid,” Mintz-Plasse was “super stoked” to even be auditioning for a feature film in the first place.
“I had Seth and everyone sign my script,” Mintz-Plasse shared, “because I didn’t think I was going to get the part.”
As “Superbad” director Greg Mottola recalled, “He played it like he was clearly the coolest guy in the room and everyone else was a nerd and a loser. He was Dean Martin instead of Jerry Lewis.”
Hill even later admitted that “Chris was really, really amazing off the bat. And I think he was really annoying to me at that time.”
But Hill’s role was even debated: director Mottola revealed that while Hill “was great,” the filmmakers felt he looked too old to play a high schooler opposite Michael Cera, Emma Stone, and Mintz-Plasse.
“I got it in my head that we had to be careful to cast people who felt young,” Mottola explained. “I was like, ‘Let’s just read people who are closer to the actual age,’ because Jonah was in his early 20s.”
But Hill’s determination to be cast as the lead showed through.
“Jonah was like, ‘I should play Seth. I should play Seth. I should play Seth.’ And we said no like, 100 times,’” co-writer Goldberg said. “‘You are too old looking.’ And he said, ‘No, you’re too old looking. I’m not! I can do this with makeup and hair.’”
As Apatow remembered, Hill was advised to “go shave really well and put yourself on tape reading these two scenes,” and it was “immediately clear” that Hill “should’ve been cast a long time ago” regardless of his age.
“It was ridiculous that we ever thought there was an option other than him,” Apatow concluded. And as they say, the rest is cinema history.
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