Superbad is more than just a raunchy teen comedy filled with lust and (detergent-flavored) booze. It’s also an epic bromance between two friends coming to terms with the fact that they'll soon graduate from high school and go their separate ways. When Superbad hit theaters in 2007, it was a critical and financial success. It brought in almost $170 million at the worldwide box office on just a $20 million budget.
Directed by Greg Mottola, the film was the brainchild of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, a creative duo responsible for a number of box-office successes in varying writing, directing, and producing capacities. The best friends grew up together in Canada. At the age of 13, they realized Hollywood didn't make movies that depicted what it was really like to be a teenager in high school. Armed with dirty jokes but no screenwriting experience whatsoever, they decided they could write a more accurate high school comedy.
The 2007 film took more than a decade to reach the big screen. Here are some behind-the-scenes stories all about Superbad’s trials and tribulations, how it almost didn't get made, and how the raucous set was almost as epic as the film's climactic house party.
Seth Rogen and his production partner Evan Goldberg were childhood friends growing up in Canada. When they were 13 years old, they saw a movie they didn't think was any good, and thought that they could write a better script. The boys retreated to Goldberg's parents' desk and began writing the seeds of what would become Superbad.
Over the years, the two friends would go back to the script and do rewrites. Eventually, Rogen moved to Hollywood and landed acting roles on acclaimed television shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. However, the script was never entirely shelved, and the two friends worked on it regularly, even writing together in different locations by telephone.
Underneath all the profanity and the quest for booze and girls, Superbad is a love story betweeen two best friends, Seth and Evan. The casting of both lead characters came easy. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera had already broken into show business. Rogen and Goldberg weren't familiar with Cera's work on Arrested Development, but they had a mutual friend in Jay Baruchel, who recommended Cera for the part of Evan. Cera went on to crush the audition and was cast immediately.
The part of Seth was expected to be a bit tougher to cast, mostly because the character had to thread the needle between obscene teenage boy and lovable oaf. Enter Hill, who had a small part in Apatow's Knocked Up (2007). While they were on set one day, Apatow asked Hill to read for Seth. It didn't take longer than an hour for Hill to land the part.
“We were literally standing outside Seth’s trailer,” Hill recalls. “We went in, made a tape, and they literally ran it upstairs to Amy Pascal’s office.”
“It was one of those things where within five seconds of him starting we were all like, he can totally do this," says Rogen.
The casting of Fogell, AKA McLovin, proved to be much more difficult. The actor needed to be both dorky and somehow extremely cocky at the same time, while also being antagonistic to Seth. Fogell is the odd man out of Seth and Evan's friendship. Unknown actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse covered all the bases for the character. Despite being green to the acting world, he immediately displayed improvisational chops. Plus, there was the added bonus that in real-life, Hill could not stand Mintz-Plasse - at least at first.
“Chris just immediately shut me down,” says Hill. “So combative. I was really annoyed because this guy wouldn’t let me say anything. And I told Seth and Evan that and they were like, ‘He’s perfect.’”
“Jonah f*cking hated him,” says Rogen. “He was all over Jonah’s lines, completely disrespectful of the process, probably due to a lack of experience. I remember he walked out of the room and Jonah was like, ‘Not that guy.’ And we were just like, ‘Oh my god, you don’t understand how much more that makes us want him.’”
A lot of the events in Superbad actually happened in real life, either to the writers themselves or one of their friends. In 2017, to celebrate the film’s 10-year anniversary, Rogen took to Twitter to answer questions and post a few interesting facts about Superbad. One particular admission put one of the film's most memorable scenes into unexpected context: "The period blood on the leg scene in Superbad actually happened to my friend at a high school dance and we discovered it after the dance."
If you’re unfamiliar with Superbad, or if you saw the movie and somehow forgot about the scene, here’s a refresher: Evan and Seth are at a wild house party. An extremely inebriated girl begins to grind up against Seth. Afterward, she walks away, and Seth notices there's blood on his leg - and shortly thereafter figures out the origin of the blood.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse was only 17 years old when he filmed Superbad. It was his first movie appearance and, thus, his on-screen hookup scene was also his first. Because he was a minor, his mother had to be on the film set at all times, which made filming the intimate scene awkward for both mother and son.
The actor was able to find the positive side of shooting that type of scene in front of Mom: "It was real awkward but it worked out okay because when I watched the movie with her, the [intimate] scene wasn't awkward because she'd been right there when it happened. Afterwards we didn't talk about it; we still don't speak about that moment."