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Dave Franco is a real ‘frat brat’ in ‘Neighbors’
NEW YORK – In “Neighbors” (opening Friday), Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play a young 30-something married couple with a little baby girl who discover — much to their horror — the house next door, in their quiet suburban town has been sold to an “Animal House”-like fraternity.
After initially attempting to schmooze their wild party-loving neighbors, Rogen and Byrne despair, call the cops — and things then turn ugly, with all kinds of revengeful stunts pulled both by them and the frat boys.
In the film Dave Franco plays the Delta Psi’s vice president and best pal of Zac Efron, who is the frat’s president.
Q: Considering how much you and Zac appear with your shirts off in this movie, is it safe to say a lot of time was spent in the gym getting in even better shape for those scenes?
A: I had to especially get my butt in shape for that key scene where I’m having sex with Zac’s girlfriend. And key is the operative word there!
Q: There’s also the scene where you [and the other fraternity members] have to channel your inner Robert DeNiro — portraying some of his most famous characters. How did you find inspiration to play DeNiro’s “Meet the Fockers” character?
A: That was the scene I was most anxious about to be honest. So, for weeks leading up to it, I was looking up impersonators online, watching clips of DeNiro himself and stuff like that. But I just couldn’t quite get it. The night before we filmed the scene. I stood in front of the mirror and started pushing my face around. Then you put the mole on, you put the pleated khakis on, you have the [stuffed] cat in hand and it all falls into place.
Q: Was there a lot of improvisation with the script?
A: Definitely there was. With a movie like this you need it, and I think you can feel it too, when you’re watching it — thinking that must have been 90-percent made up on the spot, and it was. When you’re working with someone like Seth [Rogen] it creates such a safe environment to do that. Now, in the beginning, it can be intimidating, because you don’t want to be the first one to do that — worried that by going off-script you will slow down the scene and make the filming take longer. But with Seth, it’s like you can say the dumbest thing in the world and he’ll take that and make it really funny. You can’t fail with a guy like that — or frankly anybody else in this cast.
Q: Whether or not you’ve been to actual fraternity parties, I assume you’ve been to some similar wild parties in Hollywood. Channel any of that for this film’s really wild, over-the-top parties?
A: Yes that’s true. But here’s an interesting side of that. Each party scene in this film took like a week to film. At first it’s really exciting. You walk into the house they used for the fraternity and they set up this whole black-light party. They put a lot of work into this and it looks awesome. But then, five days later, with the smoke constantly blowing, constantly going, it was pretty gruesome. [Co-star] Christopher Mintz-Plasse ended up in the hospital because of the smoke and we all felt lousy. As glamorous as it might seem to party for a week — it’s not!