Truly new to the whole R-rated comedy experience was Efron, coming from a Disney filled past. Speaking to us on set while paired with Rogen, the young actor explained that he had been looking to be a part of an R-rated comedy and that the opportunity to work with the
Signing on to the film also opened him up to a whole new style of filmmaking that Judd Apatow graduates like Stoller and Rogen have been practicing for years. Stoller directs by letting the camera roll and throwing out suggested lines to his actors from behind the camera, evolving the scene with each take and working to find which version is the funniest. This was a new experience for Efron and one that left him with an appreciation for both spontaneous and heavily practiced material.
"I'm definitely new to it compared to Seth, but there is something great about acting and finding it in the moment, and there's also something great about finding it rehearsed," Efron said. "It's somewhere where you meet in the middle and you're sort of out of control where it's like really, really good. That's what Seth does, and that's what we had to do on this."
In the film, Rogen and Efron play characters with diametrically different viewpoints that come as a result of being at very different points in their lives, but one thing that both actors wanted to stress about the movie is that neither character is really the hero or the villain. Instead of taking one character’s side over the other, the movie works to be even-handed in its approach to both Mac and Teddy, showing them both occasionally as the good guys and the bad.
"I think part of what's funny about the movie is that [Teddy] recognizes that he might be [Mac] in 10 years," Rogen told us. "It's about not wanting to grow up and kind of not accepting that you are either on the verge of that or that itself."
"There's a scene where we talk on the couch and [Teddy] seems to be doing everything right," Efron said, continuing from where Rogen left off. "At whatever this age is, he's doing it correctly. And I sort of get the feeling that I'm really good right now. I've sort of hit my peak, you know? And it really makes me afraid. So, when [Mac] starts one upping the fraternity, I have this crazy vendetta against him. Literally we almost kill each other."
"It's true, 'cause it's like I'm ruining his perfect moment," Rogen continued. "It’s this moment in his life where there are really no repercussions, and he's kind of not really an adult yet. And because I'm so kind of jealous and resentful, I try to destroy that."
The two actors come together to make a bizarre pair to co-lead a movie, but according to Stoller it’s exactly that bizarreness that will help give the film an extra push.
"I think the movie is going to work because it's just funny seeing them share the screen," the director explained. "It's just they don't make sense on screen together, and I think that that the best battle movies are like that."
Neighbors will be in theaters on May 9th, and stay tuned for more about our trip to the set!