Good Boys, produced by Seth Rogen’s company and full of his signature improvisation techniques, is sure to make a lot of young actors into household names when it premieres on August 16th. One rising star from the film is Molly Gordon, who also appeared in another of the year’s best comedies, Booksmart. She chatted at length with Screen Rant about Point Grey Pictures’ specific filmmaking methods and about her thoughts on taking on funny and complex female roles.
Congratulations on the film; it's hilarious. It reminds me a lot of my own childhood in a lot of weird ways. First of all, I have to ask: is it true that you asked if you got cast because your name was Molly?
Molly Gordon: No, that is not true. First of all, I'm so dumb, because I never thought that this would be a question that I would be asked. And that's all I’ve been asked today.
I wonder how this got started. That’s crazy.
Molly Gordon: Yeah, it's a funny connection. Molly's having a good moment right now.
You get to play the antagonist in this film. How does it feel to play the bad guy, technically?
Molly Gordon: It was really fun, I think. Especially [with] female characters, we have to worry about likability all the time. And I liked that Lee and Gene didn't really care about that. They're like, “She's angry at them. She wants to get back at them. There's actually no other thing going on.” That was super refreshing to get to play.
Which one of the three boys do you think you, Molly, is most like?
Molly Gordon: I’m definitely like Keith’s character, because I was really close to my parents. And my jump from like 12 to 13 was huge. By 13, I was ready to go. But at 12, I was still such a kid. And I love that this movie explores that time where some people are still such children and people are ready to be teenagers.
Typically, you are one of the youngest people on a set. How is it acting with people even younger than you?
Molly Gordon: It was wildly different. They were just so ready to have fun and be there. They were not jaded in any way; they were just so excited. And they weren't in their head about making decisions. In these comedies, we do a lot of alts and we try different things.
I would get a new page and be thinking, “How am I going to do this?” they would just get it and try it one thing. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and I didn't care so much what people thought about me. So, I definitely will take that childlike wonder and bring it with me to other jobs.
I know that a lot of this movie, roughly 40%, was improv. Did doing that with these kids make it easier for you?
Molly Gordon: I don't think it made it easier; it just was super fun. I love getting to improvise, and I think the comedy of this movie comes out of the kids not knowing what it is. So, we would just get in loops of them being like, “What is this? What is this?” And me being like, “I'm not going to tell you. I'm not going to tell you.”
So, yeah. I think our personalities in real life are bleeding into the movie.
Talk to me about the three kids. What are your favorite stories or memories with them as individuals?
Molly Gordon: Keith is just the sweetest, kindest person. We would dance together, and his laugh is infectious. Jacob is like a little 75-year-old man. He is a veteran of the business and teaching me how to do it. And then Brady is just so funny in this movie, and it was so exciting to see. I can see him having, like, a Seth Rogen [career]. He's so funny. This was like his first movie; I'm so excited to see what he does.
Speaking of Seth Rogen, is there anything that you were able to learn from him throughout the course of this film?
Molly Gordon: I think that his company makes movies in a really specific way, like improvising and alts. It kind of feels like comedy bootcamp. Because it's crazy to show up on a day when you think you're shooting a scene a certain way, but then you end up completely rewriting the scene. You kind of just have to throw everything away and just go with it and get out of your head. That is their way of filmmaking, and it's really worked for them. They've had incredible movies.
It's crazy to think of it like that, like comedy boot camp. Hannah's best friend Lily is played by Midori Francis. Talk to me about your friendship with her and how you guys had such great chemistry together.
Molly Gordon: She's just a lovely, kind person. She’s a great actor and a really incredible theater actress, and this is one of her first bigger movies. She was just great, and we had such a great rapport. We had to get close, like she could have been a bad [person, but] we would have had to be friends regardless because who else was I gonna hang out with? But she happened to be a really great person.
But it is funny. We were like, “We have to get along!” And then she's also just lovely. I've been really lucky that I've been put in experiences with good people.
You guys shared every scene together, I believe. Did you research any other comedic duos for inspiration at all, or is did everything you did pretty natural?
Molly Gordon: I didn't really research comedic duos, but I think you can't help but think about, like, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids or Melissa and Kristen Wiig. Of course, I think about other people and what worked for them. I think that all those women that I look up to so much just ground their comedy and realism and don't try to make the funny. They just make it real, and I think that's what we tried to do.
Speaking of improv, is there anything that didn't make it into the film where you're like, “Oh, man, I really wish it did?” Because a lot of the kids that I was asking earlier had this mall dance sequence.
Molly Gordon: Yeah, they were very upset that it's not in the movie. I’m upset that this one improv that Keith and I – all of us, Midori and the boys – meet in a garage to give him the drone. And Keith did this amazing improv for like 20 minutes about how he was so upset he had to walk to get to me.
He was like, “Why couldn't you have parked your car closer? My legs are tired.” And I was just laughing. Gene sent it to me, so I have it, but it didn't make it into the movie. When I need a good laugh, I can watch it.
I feel like there's so much that you guys can almost have a full-length film of deleted scenes.
Molly Gordon: Totally! I hope so. I haven't seen that in the recent comedies, like, a really long deleted scenes thing? I hope that they do that for this movie.
I do too. It’s so funny, because you were in two of the best comedies of the year. You also starred in the biggest surprise of the year, Booksmart. Talk to me about that unexpected success and what comedic lessons you may have learned that helped you with Good Boys.
Molly Gordon: Yeah. I can't say enough good things about that movie. I loved working on it. I think Olivia [Wilde] is incredible. I mean, she has like 80 new movies that she's directing; I'm so excited for her. And it was really special for me as a woman to get to be in a movie that had so many incredible female roles. Not 2, there were, like, 8 amazing roles.
I think, coming off of that – I shot this movie like a month later – I just felt really excited about what was happening with movies right now. I hope I get the opportunity to be in more movies like that.
This is such a nice change of pace, especially for me, because I don't usually get to cover a lot of comedies. But there's so much that I kind of reflected on with my own childhood and my friends, but what are you hoping audiences kind of take away from this?
Molly Gordon: Yeah, I hope exactly what you just said. I hope people will go, “Oh, man, I love that. I love my old friends. They're so fucking annoying, but at the end of the day, they’re family to me.” Um, yeah, I hope people will see that, and also remember their first kiss or their first time they drink a beer or something. I think those middle school times are the hardest to look back on, because they’re deeply embarrassing, but they are the funniest.
- Good Boys (2019) release date: Aug 16, 2019