'The Night Before' Set Visit Report: It's A Kanye Christmas in NYC

Speaking of the comedy of this, you guys also have an incredible supporting cast. We were talking about Jillian Bell. Lizzy Caplan is in this, Mindy Kaling. Could you guys talk a little bit about them? 

Jonathan Levine: Yeah. Well, we have [Michael] Shannon, who is amazing. Lizzy Caplan, who is one of my favorite people in the world, who plays Joe’s character’s ex-girlfriend. We have Jillian Bell who was in 22 Jump Street and she’s on Workaholics. I mean we have these incredibly funny women, which is really great, because I think so often these movies can just become testosterone driven, dick joke driven. And we have plenty of dick jokes. We probably have more dick jokes than most dick joke movies. We have the most dick jokes of any Christmas movies I think is safe to say, and the most dicks onscreen by far.

Who else is in the movie? Jillian, Mindy, who is amazing, Lizzy, Ilana. So it was great to work with all those ladies. Michael Shannon, and then the stuff with the two Jason’s. Who else? Randall Park, we saw a little bit of him, who plays Kim Jong-un in The Interview. He came and did a day with us. He’s on Veep. He’s incredible. It’s just all these funny…Oh, and Nathan Fielder from Nathan for You. So lots of funny people.

Seth Rogen: Oh, they’re all so funny. It’s been awesome. Neighbors was the first movie we really did where we were just like, “What if we filled every single tiny role with the funniest person we could possibly find?” This movie had a lot of really funny female roles. And we know a lot of really funny women. And it was awesome to fill the roles with them. And they’re great. They really drive the comedy in those scenes. Like, Lizzy, she’s awesome…

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Lizzy is so smart and so good at your guys’ style on this. She is so quick at thinking on her feet and coming up with funny things that surprised me while it was happening. That’s kind of at the root of this style of comedy. She’s so good at it.

Seth Rogen: She started with me. I think the first time Lizzy ever acted on camera was in a scene with me and Franco on Freaks or Geeks 15 years ago, which is horrible. And Mindy, again, I’ve known for years, and year, and years. And she’s hysterical in the movie. Ilana [Glazer] is someone that we met more recently, but we’re working with them also on some other stuff.

Her and Abbi?

Seth Rogen: Yeah. But only Ilana is in the movie. But yeah, we’re working with both of them on some other stuff. But Mackie has a lot of stuff with Ilana.

Anthony Mackie: Yeah. Ilana's mine.

Seth Rogen: People get propriety over…[laughs]

Anthony Mackie: She’s all mine. She’s great, though. She has a ridiculousness about her that you don’t find in many adults. It kinda makes it fun. She does it with such an ease. She has the ability of just making it seem like natural behavior. That’s what makes it so unique to me. It’s like anybody else would do it and you are like, “Oh, they’re being stupid!” You see her and you are like, “Wow. You really act like that!” So it just makes it fun. It makes you want to go further as an actor.

The Night Before - Seth Rogen and Jillian Bell

Jonah Hill said when he did 22 Jump Street with Jillian [Bell] that it made him want to quit being in comedy because she’s so much funnier…

Jonathan Levine: She’s like Jay-Z, dude. She’s the best. She’s the only person I’ve ever seen in a scene with Seth where he just was…he kept cracking up. He broke so many times…

People keep saying that. Can you give us some idea of what that scene is? Everyone kept saying that they couldn’t keep it together in that scene.

Jonathan Levine: It’s the scene where he sees his unborn daughter as a stripper in the future. It’s a very surreal scene. We probably shouldn’t talk about it, but it’s cool.

Seth Rogen: Jillian, too, is like…she destroys me. I have a hard time…I wasted several good hours of a scene we were shooting a couple weeks ago because I couldn’t stop laughing.

You two guys [Seth and Joe], obviously you worked together before [on the film 50/50]. But Anthony, this is sort of your first time with them. You are all supposed to be long-time friends. How do you develop that camaraderie?

Seth Rogen: We went to one dinner.

Anthony Mackie: We went to dinner. And we were sitting in like a rape cave…[laughs]

Did you just say a rape cave…? 


Anthony Mackie: It was really weird. It was in a basement. But they picked it, so you know, you gotta go. It was dope. It’s interesting. I feel like both of them are really…everybody on the set is just really easy going. There’s no egos or ridiculousness, which you really usually don’t find when you have stars on set. Usually everybody is like, “Well, my trailer is bigger,” or, “my girlfriend is going to come today,” or, “why is he getting that?” And you don’t really find that on this set. I feel like even in the movie the three of us are so vastly different one by one that it kinda works really well together. So there hasn’t been any stupidness, or conflicts, or…

Seth Rogen: And we seem like friends. I mean we are getting along, but when you watch us in the movie, that was something we were very aware of, is like, “Will we seem like guys who have been friends for 20 years?” I remember the first day of filming we were like, “Yes. It 100% seems like we’re actually good friends...”

Anthony Mackie: And I’ve always known…well, I met Joe once. I’ve always known his work and I’ve always liked him from afar. Like you see somebody and you are like, “I like that guy.” When I auditioned with Seth and everybody…I have auditioned twice in like six years. I love auditioning, but people are like, “You don’t audition anymore.” It’s like, “Fuck. All right.” Because it’s like dating. So I go in the room and I’m like, “All right. It’s Seth. Just play it cool. Be yourself.” So I walk in and they are like, “Hey!” And it’s [him] and they’re making noise and the office is in chaos. And they’re trying to decide if they saw the couch before. And I’m like, “What the fuck is going on?” At that point it was like everything was all good, because I saw they weren’t assholes.

Anthony Mackie in 'Pain & Gain'
Anthony Mackie in 'Pain & Gain'

Seth Rogen: Yeah. You play off each other. They have a lot of energy. Mackie has tons of energy. Levine has a lot of energy. He gets very excited. And when it feels genuinely good what you are doing, then it’s exciting and it makes it way easier also. And because we do it differently a little bit every time, there’s like a spontaneity to it. So it’s not like you are just doing the same thing over and over from different angles and just checking the boxes. Something new could happen at any moment. That’s what I do. If I start to be like, “Ugh. We’re doing it again?’ I’ll be like, “OK. I’ll do something new this time and maybe we’ll come up with something funny and it will be exciting instead of boring.” It’s all how you just convince yourself that you should keep trying to make it funnier and funnier, basically.

Anthony Mackie: And there are no assholes on this movie. Honestly, it’s really surprising…

Seth Rogen: It’s true. Nothing kills the vibe…

Anthony Mackie: …like an asshole. It could be a grip. It could be a driver. It could be an actor. There’s always one asshole where you are like, “Man. I just want to beat the…” You know. But, ironically, there is not one of them on this movie. So it kinda makes it easy.

Seth Rogen: That means it’s you.


Anthony Mackie: I definitely know three people that think I’m the asshole.

Seth Rogen: You see everyone hates him on this set. [laughs]

Anthony Mackie: But I won’t let them win. I’m like, “You’re going to fucking like me by Monday.” So I’m still fighting.

The Night Before will be in theaters on November 25, 2015.

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