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As seen through Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and A Five-Year Engagement, director Nicholas Stoller’s brand of comedy is two parts irreverent humor to one part madcap antics, with just a dash of heartbreak in the mix. From nude dudes to drugged out debauchery and fur-adorned cutlery, Stoller favors jokes that teeter on the brink of bad taste. So frankly we’re a little surprised to hear the title of his next movie has changed from the intriguing Townies to the far less evocative Neighbors. Universal seems to be keeping the change on the down low, releasing the info quietly to Box Office Mojo.
We don’t know why Universal has opted to change from Townies to Neighbors, but here is what we do know so far. The project was first announced back in May of 2012, when Stoller was in talks to helm the film which was being groomed as a vehicle for Seth Rogen, who would also produce alongside his recurring writing partner Evan Goldberg. The script penned by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O'Brien has Rogen playing an ordinary family man who is pushed to the brink after being forced to regularly confront members of the alpha male-stuffed frat house nearby. Playing against his sweet and dreamy niche, Zac Efron joined the cast as the head frat boy, who makes Rogen’s life a living hell.
It took some time to get the project developed, but by March of 2013, Rogen found his onscreen wife in Bridesmaids’ Rose Byrne. As she is no stranger to raunchy hard-R comedies, this seemed a match made in comedy heaven. A few days later, the frat house filled out with the additions of Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Dave Franco, who both made memorable appearances in Rogen’s Superbad. It was a casting call that almost seemed too hot to handle.
The last bit of casting news we got was far less expected, reaching way outside the bounds of Judd Apatow’s posse, all the way over to England. Last April, 22-year-old Welsh actor Craig Roberts, who is best known for his stirring turn in Richard Ayoade’s BAFTA-nominated feature directorial debut Submarine, signed up to play another frat boy. Our guess is this seemingly mild-mannered young man will provide a wacky wild card to the proceedings.
Production has since wrapped on Neighbors nee Townies. The final film will be unveiled on May 9th, 2014, facing off against Tyler Perry’s latest drama Single Moms Club and Jon Favreau’s Chef, which boasts appearances from Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, and Dustin Hoffman. Hopefully all three of these features turn out better than their blah titles suggest.