Michael Cera wanted ‘The Thong Song’ to become ‘Superbad’

Few, if any, 21st century comedies have stood the test of time as well. super bad has. The film’s incredible dialogue and subversively affectionate story are as effective today as they were when it first hit theaters in 2007. super bad also serves as ground zero for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, like Michael Cera. Among his best scenes in the film, his character, Evan, sings “These Eyes” from The Guess Who at an increasingly sketchy house party. In an oral history based on super bad 15th birthday, the actor revealed he wanted to sing a different song.

Michael Cera is one of many future stars who got their chance in ‘Superbad’

(LR): Actors Michael Cera and Jonah Hill arrive at the premiere of ‘Superbad’ at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on August 13, 2007 in Hollywood, California. | Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

super bad the origins are well known at this point. But it bears repeating given how miraculous it is that the film turned out so well. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg began working on the screenplay in college. They continually added their real-life experiences to the script for over a decade before Judd Apatow helped steer the film toward production.

Stars Emma Stone and Christopher Mintz-Plasse had never been in a movie before. However, Cera and Jonah Hill had a bit more pedigree as actors. Their portrayals of Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera) as an odd couple of teenagers who need the entire runtime of the film to realize how much their friendship means to them was eye-opening. Hill gets more outlandish laugh lines, but Cera’s awkward routine also leads to some incredible moments, like the one in question.

He had different ideas for how the “These Eyes” scene should play out.

During Seth and Evan’s trip to find booze, they find themselves at a house party with a group of older strangers. At one point, Evan finds himself locked in a room with men preparing to do cocaine together. One of them mistakes Evan for a singer they met at a previous party. After a light pressure invoked by fear, Evan leads the room in a chant of “These Eyes”.

In a Vanity Fair retrospective on the film, Cera revealed that they shot different versions of the scene using other songs. His first choice was not the one that was used. “[We did] one where I just dance, one where I sing ‘The Thong Song’, and then this version with ‘These Eyes’,” he said. “I personally had high hopes that ‘The Thong Song’ made it into the movie, but now it undeniably feels right that it’s ‘These Eyes’.”

The filmmakers made the right choice. With all due respect to Sisqo, “The Thong Song” is too obvious a joke to really land. A more sentimental and obscure track like “These Eyes” adds a level of surprise and absurdity to the storyline that makes the whole situation funnier.

The cast knew they were part of something special while filming

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First selection tests for super bad were very positive. Unfortunately, good execution wasn’t enough to make it a box office hit, especially with a then-unknown cast.

For a while we didn’t follow. We had a great trailer. But it looked like it wasn’t going to open,” said Judd Apatow, one of the film’s producers. “And I remember jumping on a call with [Sony Pictures Co-Chairperson] Amy Pascal begging her to throw more money into ads because we all felt like when people found out about this it was going to take off. And she went there. »

To spread the word, the cast hosted watch parties at colleges across America as part of a worldwide promotional tour that Cera calls a “publicity rocket.” As the tour went on, a trend emerged: people loved what they saw.

At the time of its release on August 17, 2007, super bad was now an event. The film ended up grossing $170 million on a $20 million budget, became a cultural landmark for a generation, and transformed the careers of all of its leading actors. “[I] definitely started getting recognition about 10,000 times more the day it came out than the day before,” Cera recalled.

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