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Three bad dudes in a bowling alley

The nerdy stars of 'Superbad' bond over meatballs as they hit the road to promote their buddy film.

August 15, 2007|Deborah Netburn | Times Staff Writer

Jonah Hill, one of the three stars of the raunchy buddy comedy "Superbad," was standing outside the AMF Bay Shore Lanes (a.k.a. Pico Bowl) in Santa Monica. His forehead was dotted with beads of sweat in the late afternoon heat, and he was holding a cellphone.

"I'm calling Jason Schwartzman," he explained. "You can put that in your article and make me look really obnoxious."

Chris Mintz-Plasse arrived a few moments later. He's the skinny one who will soon be known the world over as "McLovin" after the name his character assumes in the film that had its premiere Monday night at Grauman's Chinese Theater, and opens in theaters Friday.

"I'm really nervous," he said as he walked into the snack bar. "I'm doing my first talk show tomorrow."

"Jimmy Kimmel is so easy," said the pretty blond publicist who had set up the interview. "That's why I wanted you to do that one first."

"Yeah. I'm excited for that, I'm just worried about telling stories," said Mintz-Plasse, his voice a little shaky as he took a seat at the counter. He closed his eyes while a makeup artist patted his brow with foundation in preparation for yet another photo shoot.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, August 16, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part Page Metro Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
'Superbad': An article in Wednesday's Calendar section about the stars of the film "Superbad" said they had introduced a band at the Warp Tour in Chicago. It's the Warped Tour.

Michael Cera, the third in the film's starring troika, who looks even sweeter in person than the impossibly sweet character he used to play on "Arrested Development," was asked if he was also wearing makeup. "Mmm hmm," he said distractedly. "I wake up with it on."

The three had already been on the road promoting the film nonstop: They'd hit Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco. They also introduced a band at the Warp Tour in Chicago and did a panel discussion with Judd Apatow (who produced the film) at Comic-Con in San Diego.

"This is our third interview in a bowling alley," said Hill, who split a meatball wedge with Cera before the bowling got underway. "It's weird because bowling isn't even a part of the movie."

But Cera and Hill both have a history with this bowling alley. Cera, who lives in Ontario, but spent a lot of time in Los Angeles while shooting "Arrested Development," swears the meatball sub here is the best in town. And Hill, who grew up in Los Angeles and attended the private school Crossroads, had his 18th birthday here five years ago.

Mintz-Plasse, who just graduated from El Camino Real high school and had never acted in a professional production of any kind before getting cast in "Superbad," had never been here before, but he used to be on a bowling team with his dad.

Hill has been hanging with Apatow, Seth Rogen (who co-wrote the film) and their crew of comedy friends since he played the weird kid who wants to buy platform boots from Catherine Keener in "The 40 Year-Old Virgin." (According to Hill, Keener still adores him).

Cera and Mintz-Plasse, however, are new to the Apatow fold. (Hill and Cera had met before they started shooting the movie, at a birthday party for Cera's "Arrested Development" costar Henry Winkler).

The pair said they hoped they would become a permanent part of Apatow's crew, but Hill, a firmly established member, said he took offense to any suggestions that it was a dude-fest.

"I don't think it's male dominated," said Hill, adding that the reporter who interviewed him recently had asked if he was a feminist. (He said he was, because one definition of feminism is that women have equal rights as men, and he agrees with that).

Besides, there are several women who make up the Apatow entourage: Shauna Robertson who produces most of Apatow's films, the comedy writers Jenny Konner and Ali Rushfield, comedian Charlyne Yi who has a small part in "Knocked Up" and is currently dating Cera, and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann.

Then it was time to bowl. Despite Hill's age advantage, Cera and Mintz-Plasse were beating him so soundly that 15 minutes in he decided to leave and make another call.

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

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