With Michael Sheen being cast, I have to assume there was someone who had seen him on 30 Rock and wanted to revive that relationship between him and Tina Fey.
It's interesting, he was just really good for the part. I saw it, and I thought he was really good. Tina being relatively self-deprecating, said "Michael Sheen would be great for this." [I asked] "Are you worried that he played opposite you on 30 Rock?" And she said "Oh, nobody watches that show. Nobody will notice."
I went to Wesleyan, like you did, and my admissions process to college was relatively similar to this, but I had kind of forgotten about the experience. This movie brought it all back, but I wondered if you worried about making people care about this relatively rarefied world.
I was worried about that, and I was also worried about falling into the trap of denigrating, as one might have it, Princeton. I felt very lucky to go to Wesleyan, it was just what I needed. But, my wife went to a community college in eastern Connecticut, and I know a lot of people who have had a really good experience at community college, and I know a lot of people who have been to Ivy League schools and not had particularly happy lives. I'm suspect of the whole thing, so I was worried about what you're talking about.
There were a few moments that seemed like parody, like the GPS reading out the ridiculously named streets near the high schools. Did you slip in that kind of parody to avoid criticism of it being elitist or disconnected from reality?
That kind of stuff is just seeing what the balloon can hold without it bursting, comedically. It was a pretty small balloon, frankly, because you can't do certain things in a comedy-drama. You can't do certain jokes without it blowing the realism. There are certain aspects of the Northeast college experience that do lend themselves to parody. That a cappella group is a real Princeton a cappella group.
Oh yeah, they look just like Princeton guys.
As diverse as the university has become, there still is that element of exactly what you think of when you think of an Ivy League institution.