Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising finds our favorite young couple, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner, making a new addition to their family. After they sell their house, it is put on a 30-day escrow. But when Kappa Nu, led by sorority sisters Chloe Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein, move in right next door, the Radners worry that their neighbors’ hard partying antics will force the buyers to pull out. To prevent that from happening, they recruit their old nemesis, Teddy (Zac Efron), to their team to force Kappa Nu out of their neighborhood.
We were recently invited to sit down with a group of our fellow journalists at the film’s press conference to talk to Moretz, Clemons, and Feldstein about what it was like to join the successful comedy franchise, getting asked for their input on their roles in the script, the laws that affect current sororities, and much more. Check out our interview below.
Geeks Of Doom: How does it feel coming into a franchise with an already established crew? Were they welcoming? Did they offer any advice?
Chloe Grace Moretz: I was the first coming into this project. I think what is interesting about this project is that even though it is a sequel it is almost like an anthology because it feels along the lines of the first film because Mac [Seth Rogen] and Kelly [Rose Byrne] are here, but it really is its own standalone project because they kind of went through a more societally relevant driven film in a sense they decided to tackle a lot of gigantic issues that all of us young women are dealing with right now, and they decided to do it with levity in a sense that not to beat us over the head with some educational movie but to make it fun and exciting which was interesting for all of us to come into which made it not feel like a sequel but more like something that was more individualized.
Kiersey Clemons: Doing a sequel can be really scary depending the set you’re in, but I trust Nic Stoller. I trust Seth, I trust their choices and the actors that I am working with. So it was really exciting to jump into something that does feel like its own separate movie. You don’t have to see the first one to know what’s really going on here. It’s also cool to be able to give something to everybody that is relatable and starts a political conversation without shoving it down your throat. The whole movie starts a conversation. It starts an open conversation and I think we need that right now is to be able to have an opinion and have a conversation. We’re always worried we’re jumping down each other’s throats.
Beanie Feldstein: Yeah, it was incredible to come in as far as everyone was so welcoming, ridiculously warm, and kind, and generous with their time and I am very new to all of this. This is my first movie in theaters. So for me, these girls and all of the returning cast, and Nic were so kind to me as far as helping me out when I was confused or all of that stuff, and just being a totally warm group of people. It totally feels like its own movie, I think you could see this movie without having seen Neighbors 1 and enjoy it just as much and not be confused about it. Because we are all completely new not only to the story but to the setting.
Geeks Of Doom: What do each of you think people in college can do to make these parties better?
Chloe Grace Moretz: PSA about making parties better in college. Don’t feel peer pressure to drink a ton of alcohol. It’s a like a big issue with teenagers in general. It’s okay to hang back. It’s okay to be that person fake texting in the corner. It’s okay. We all can do that.
Beanie Feldstein: I did go to college and I think that it can be really scary. I think that’s my favorite thing about our part of the movie is that it shows the genuine fear that the first couple weeks of college come with and I love that you see us being really scared and you see our friendship grows throughout the movie and that’s how making friends at college works. Just hold on to your drink. Hold on do that drink. Clutch it real tight. If you put it down, pick up a new cup.
Chloe Grace Moretz: That’s so dark.
Kiersey Clemons: It’s so true.
Geeks Of Doom: When males write for female parts it generally sounds like a male wrote it, so Nicholas Stoller said that you guys had some input because he wanted to avoid that. Could you talk a little bit more about that process?
Kiersey Clemons: It is obviously very exciting, like you said, to collaborate with someone like that. He has a such a platform and as a director, he has so much power to make any movie that he wants to, being Nicholas Stoller. He took that opportunity to do something for women.
Chloe Grace Moretz: He is so pro-feminine. Him and his wife and his daughters. He is one of the most emotionally in touch man to deal with this.
Kiersey Clemons: He trusted us when we would come to him and we’d be like “this isn’t how girls talk. This isn’t how we get to know each other.” Because there was that conversation of like “we don’t talk about that stuff.” Like when we are having a conversation about sex for the first time, the funny questions that you ask a girl, like “well, does your mom know?” Those little moments that are really important, he trusted that those actually happened.
Geeks Of Doom: There is a scene in the film where Kappa Nu has a complete conversation via text. Growing up in a digital age, do you feel that there is a disconnect or do you feel more connected?
Chloe Grace Moretz: We were just talking about this recently because we are old enough to remember when Facebook started, Twitter, and like Instagram, and when apps became a thing, and when the first iPhone came out. We saw that happen. But when we try to talk to kids that are like 12 or 13, they are so more apt in terms of social media and electronics and stuff. There is so much more of a disconnect and it’s very strange. For us, we are slightly in touch with what it was before.
Beanie Feldstein: I remember when we first got to Atlanta, we were doing rehearsals and doing a pass through of the script and I remember Nic’s eyes looked up and said “there are no phones written into this movie,” and that’s insane. Every college kid you know is on their phone and that’s how they socialize, that’s how you know about plans, you know extra curricular, etc. I remember the moment that he was like “we need to put phones into the movie,” and there ended up being a great scene with Zac, where Kappa Nu has a moment around Teddy, and it was definitely important that it’s in there because it is true to what’s going on right now and our movie is very of the times.
Kiersey Clemons: I don’t know, there are pros and cons to us being able to be so connected. Obviously, it is amazing when you say you are living away from your family and you can keep being updated with what everyone is doing. Then there’s also it’s not always the safest. It kind of stumps conversation. Like I don’t need to ask Chloe what’s she’s been doing, I know what you have been doing because I can look at your SnapChat. I meet her friends and we think we’ve met each other. We see each other. It can help friendships and conversations or it can hurt it.
Chloe Grace Moretz: It also makes our attention spans really short, I realized. Unless the conversation is incredibly enthralling it makes you really shut off really quickly.
Geeks Of Doom: Is Zac Efron anything like his character off screen in terms of personality?
Kiersey Clemons: He’s so earnest. I feel like he’s like that in the real life like he is in the movies in terms of being like, “Hey guys, what are you doing? Oh, you’re hanging out in the trailer? Can I come, too?” It’s like, “Of course!” He gets in the conversation. He is very earnest.
Beanie Feldstein: We appreciate you asked us about his personality before you asked us about his body. We’ve gotten so many questions like, “How do you stop yourself from licking him?” I’m like “He’s my co-worker.” He is just as earnest and kind and warm as Teddy is. He’s just like a really great dude and we all really respect him a lot.
Chloë Grace Moretz: It’s like you’re a woman you cannot have a man in front of you without swooning.
Kiersey Clemons: And his body is nice, okay.
Chloë Grace Moretz: It is. It’s a lot of dedication.
Geeks Of Doom: How many of you were aware that sororities could not have their own houses because there are some laws that would consider dozens of women living and drinking under one roof as a brothel? Do you hope that it does raise some awareness out there?
Chloë Grace Moretz: Wait, did you know that?
Beanie Feldstein: Yeah.
Chloë Grace Moretz: Really? I thought that was just a good joke.
Kiersey Clemons: Yeah, me too!
Chloë Grace Moretz: Clue me in.
Beanie Feldstein: These laws are insane! They’re so stupid. I went to college and only a few fraternities had houses and our one sorority didn’t have a house. But it’s just insanity. I was vaguely aware of it. I don’t know if I realized it was to that extent, it’s so stupid, and I hope our movie helps in some way.
Chloë Grace Moretz: I mean it seems unrealistic, so antiquated at this point in time. But then again, there are a lot of things in the collegiate system that are incredibly antiquated and have not changed. There’s a lot of sexism and issues for women in the college system sadly.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising opened in theaters on May 20, 2016