Certain roles are so singular, they inevitably become synonymous with the actors who brought them to life. Take the cast of Superbad, for example. 15 years on, despite the tremendous evolution of their respective careers, the mention of Michael Cera conjures up the awkward silhouette of Evan, Jonah Hill the foul-mouthed smartass Seth, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse will forever be associated with McLovin (Fogell).
According to Vanity Fair’s recent oral history of the classic millennial film’s production, the casting of Fogell / McLovin initially proved to be a Herculean task. Nobody who’d auditioned prior to Mintz-Plass quite fit the bill. Eventually, casting director Allison Jones found the perfect candidate outside of Hollywood… in the classroom of a Southern Californian high school.
“My buddies, who I was in a drama class with when I was in my senior year of high school, heard of an open audition for this movie,” revealed Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
“We all auditioned. I was the only one who got a callback, which was a little weird. And I went in a second time and read with Greg [Mottola] the director, and then got a third callback, and read with Jonah [Hill] and Mike [Cera].”
“I was just, like, a scrawny kid. I was super stoked to be there. I had Seth and everyone sign my script because I didn’t think I was going to get the part.”Christopher Mintz-Plasse, “Fogell / McLovin”
“He played it like he was clearly the coolest guy in the room and everyone else was a nerd and a loser,” said Superbad director Greg Mottola.
“He was Dean Martin instead of Jerry Lewis.”
“Christopher Mintz-Plasse was really, really amazing off the bat — and I think he was really annoying to me at that time,” admitted Jonah Hill.
But apparently, “annoying me” was quite a diplomatic way of putting it. At least if producer Judd Apatow and screenwriter + co-star Seth Rogen are to be believed.
“In the audition, he was very caustic and attacked Jonah and did improvs insulting Jonah,” recalled Judd Apatow.
“Jonah immediately hated him… he was like, ‘That was fucking with my rhythm. I couldn’t perform with that guy,'” added Seth Rogen.
“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,'” said Apatow.
The chemistry was, indeed, perfect.
How does Christopher Mintz-Plasse feel about the inescapability of his breakout role these days?
“Everyone thinks that they’re the first one to think of like, ‘Do you have the other ID?’ And you can only fake laugh so many times before you’re just lying to yourself,” explained Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
“Young me would’ve been so annoyed with all that. Because there was a really good four-year period where I had that screamed at me everywhere I went. And it was pretty draining.”
“Especially as a 20-year-old, who is trying to figure out who the fuck I am. My brain is still developing and trying to figure out my career path.”
For the time being, the man appears to be at peace with his fate.
“I think it was when I started to hear McLovin in rap songs is when I was like, ‘Oh wow. This is a cultural thing,'” said Seth Rogen.
“Things aren’t referenced in rap songs unless they are a cultural thing. You start to see McLovin T-shirts at fucking Urban Outfitters and stuff.”
“I wondered, ‘Is Chris Mintz-Plasse going to be called McLovin for the rest of his life?’ I still wonder that.”Emma Stone, “Jules”
You can read Vanity Fair’s complete oral history of Superbad here.