Su­per stars

Three un­knowns – Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christo­pher Mintz-Plasse – take the lead roles in new teen com­edy Su­per­bad. They tell Don­ald Clarke about sud­den fame, friend­ship . . . and draw­ing penises

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

SU­PER­BAD, a fine new com­edy from the peo­ple be­hind Knocked Up, con­cerns it­self with the at­tempts of three high-school kids to se­cure booze for a po­ten­tially rau­cous party. Forced to rely on faked iden­tity doc­u­ments and the kind­ness of un­sta­ble strangers, the young­sters are driven to catas­tro­phe by the con­straints of the US liquor laws. It is, there­fore, some­what dis­con­cert­ing to find each of the three stars I am to in­ter­view tucked be­hind a big, juicy pint of Guin­ness in a posh Dublin ho­tel. They all look very happy.

Yes, in­deed. Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christo­pher Mintz-Plasse have landed. Within the space of a month, they have gone from be­ing ob­scure ac­tors or, in Chris’s case, a to­tally un­known school stu­dent, to find­ing their un­usual mugs plas­tered over buses, phone booths and hoard­ings. To­day I find them deep in an ex­plo­sively vul­gar me­dia hub­bub. Dolly birds in Su­per­bad T-shirts hang off their arms while tabloid pho­tog­ra­phers shout in­struc­said ‘shit­loads’. Ac­tu­ally, those are the tions. What have they let them­selves in for? things you have to think about: I must not

“I walked down the street where I live in say ‘co­pi­ous’. I must say ‘shit­loads’.” LA and went to get a hair­cut,” Hill says. “I The gang have just fin­ished a tour of Brithad walked the same way the pre­vi­ous day ain and are gear­ing up for an in­va­sion of with­out com­ment, but now, af­ter the post­main­land Europe, but they still seem to be ers went up, 10 peo­ple stopped to have get­ting on quite well. I won­der if, be­ing the their pic­ture taken with me and peo­ple old­est, Hill has taken on the du­ties of de were say­ing th­ese strange things to me.” facto leader.

It is im­pos­si­ble to wholly ig­nore the “No. I amin the mid­dle of the poster, so I points of com­par­i­son be­tween the ac­tors sup­pose peo­ple as­sume that,” he says. “But and their Su­per­bad per­sonae. Christo­pher we are all in charge of our­selves I guess. Mintz-Plasse, plucked from ob­scu­rity at an Ac­tu­ally, yeah, we do get on sur­pris­ingly open au­di­tion, plays the nerd and, clearly well. We have not had a se­ri­ous blow-up of in no great hurry to shake off that im­age, any type yet.” has turned up to the in­ter­view wear­ing a “Maybe in Rome,” Cera says. “Then we lep­rechaun hat with at­tached red beard. can have a fight and burn a few bridges.” Michael Cera, known for his ap­pear­ances The lep­rechaun re­mains silent. on the cult TV show Ar­rested Devel­opIt’s nice to hear that they get on. Mind ment, por­trays the sen­si­tive thinker and, you, many ob­servers have noted that, in sure enough, quickly de­clares his in­ten­tion the film, the char­ac­ters played by Cera and to write his own ma­te­rial soon. Hill get on very, very well in­deed. Search Jonah Hill? Well, Jonah, the cor­pu­lent, hard and you can find ho­mo­erotic sub­texts sex­u­ally-frus­trated loud­mouth in in ev­ery­thing from Butch Cas­sidy and the the pic­ture, is 23 years old and, Sun­dance Kid to Pinoc­chio, but Su­per­bad strangely, looks it. How on must be one of the gayest straight films evearth did he set about turner made. ing him­self into such a con“Oh, I wish we could put that on the vinc­ing school-kid? poster,” Cera says.

“I think that was the bi­gAt the men­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, Hill, gest act­ing chal­lenge I’ve who starred along­side Seth Ro­gen, co-writyet had,” he says. “I moved er of Su­per­bad, in Knocked Up, be­gins a back in with my par­ents and long, de­tailed an­swer to an en­tirely dif­fer­stayed in the room I grew up in. ent ques­tion. He points out that the ho­moI tried to chan­nel those early pho­bic jokes in both films are meant to be years. Luck­ily I haven’t maseen as the rav­ings of id­iots and that the tured a co­pi­ous amount.” writ­ers are not try­ing to set an ex­am­ple for

“Yeah, but I bet you oth­ers. wouldn’t have said ‘co­pi­ous’ Well, yes, fair enough. But what about back then,” Cera in­ter­jects. the ex­tra­or­di­nary af­fec­tion be­tween Hill’s “That’s right. I would have and Cera’s char­ac­ters in Su­per­bad? It’s like Brideshead Re­vis­ited with tequila shots.

“It’s not ho­mo­sex­ual,” Hill says. “It’s about two guys who can love one an­other pla­ton­i­cally. Hey, I love th­ese guys here. That doesn’t mean I want to put my pe­nis in any of them.”

“What do you mean, you don’t want to put your pe­nis in me?” Mintz-Plasse says in mock out­rage.

“Yeah. Now maybe we are hav­ing our first fight,” Cera adds.

Hang on a minute. In one early scene, Hill’s char­ac­ter re­veals that for many years he had an ob­ses­sion with draw­ing penises. Else­where he ad­mits that he re­ally en­joys pornog­ra­phy only when it in­volves the male or­gan. You don’t have to be Sig­mund Freud to in­fer cer­tain ho­mo­erotic lean­ings in the char­ac­ter. “Yeah, maybe,” Hill says. As­ton­ish­ingly this read­ing re­ally does not seem to have oc­curred to him. Surely he must have asked writer Seth Ro­gen – the fact that the char­ac­ter shares the writer’s first name must be sig­nif­i­cant – about the rea­sons for the young man’s phal­lic lean­ings.

“I think it is more about find­ing penises funny than the ho­mo­sex­ual side of it,” Hill ven­tures. “He is so im­ma­ture that he finds draw­ing penises funny. I didn’t re­ally take it as be­ing a ver­sion of Seth Ro­gen any­way. Who needs two Seths on set? I just saw it as th­ese two friendswant­ing to stay to­gether af­ter school. I didn’t see that as gay.”

Oh well. Per­haps I am read­ing too much into too lit­tle. At any rate, the Su­per­bad boys seem un­per­turbed to dis­cover they may be in the year’s big­gest gay com­edy. They are too busy drink­ing pints, frol­ick­ing with pho­tog­ra­phers and dress­ing as dwarfish mytho­log­i­cal cob­blers.

“Yeah, I do tend to get freaked out when things are this awe­some,” Hill says.

“This is like the most ex­cit­ing thing in my ca­reer and I just get freaked out think­ing: can it re­ally stay this good for much longer?”

Method act­ing: Jonah Hill as seth in Su­per­bad

Bo­som bud­dies: (left to right) Michael Cera, Christo­pher Mintz-Plasse and Jonah Hill in Su­per­bad

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