There is an entire neighborhood full of funny people in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow, Hannibal Buress… just to name a few. But some of the film’s biggest laughs belong to newcomer Beanie Feldstein, who makes her major-studio movie debut as the party-hearty sorority pledge Nora. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native, who has been performing on stage since the age of 5 and calls Jonah Hill big bro, stopped by Yahoo Movies for a Facebook Live chat, which you can watch in two parts above and below. Some highlights:
Feldstein started early.
“When I was like 4, I was in a baby ballet class and they also had shows that they would put on. And my mom took me to see one and I was like, ‘I want to do that.’ I had a really raspy voice as a kid. We later learned that I had nodules on my vocal cords, which are like lumps on your vocal cords that prevent you from speaking correctly… I literally sounded like I had been smoking for 50 years and I was 4 years old… I could sing, it was just really, really raspy. So like from 5 to 9, I became obsessed. And then at 9, I realized I had this vocal issue, I worked really, really hard at 9 to take care of cause I wanted to be a singer, and then solidified my passion. And I did anywhere from three to six musicals a year every single year from 5 to 22, until last year when I graduated from college. So I’m like a serious Broadway girl.”
Her real-life experience at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where she graduated in 2015, was far more tame than the Neighbors movies.
“My college experience was nothing like Nora’s. I was such a lame person. I had never done drugs. They had to teach me how to use a lighter, and how to inhale. That scene where I smoke weed in the movie was actually my first time smoking anything.”
About that fake weed — an oregano-spice blend — and other prop drugs…
“It’s this concoction of herbs that they use. Our prop girl Amy [Giedraitis] was like, 'This is what Seth used on Pineapple Express, so I was like, OK, we’re in good hands.’ This is the good fake weed… It doesn’t taste good. I mean, I don’t know what real weed tastes like, or feels like. This is truthful… But [the fake weed] makes you really tired, kind of dehydrated. And Awkwafina, who is so funny in the movie, she would always be smoking it all the time, the fake stuff. We were like, 'Why?’ She’s like, 'It makes me feel gross.’ We’re like, 'Then stop!’
"The cocaine didn’t make it into the movie, but I had to do it at one point. It was sugar… The pills were sugar pills. I always made our prop people take them with me, because I was like, I don’t know what you’re giving me right now. I’m clearly very paranoid…. Almost every scene we did a take of me off in the corner doing drugs. And then they were like, 'It’s a little much, we gotta tone it down.’ And it still feels like a lot when you watch the movie, but it could’ve been so much more.”
She’s super-close with her Oscar-nominated big brother, Jonah Hill.
“I think he’s just so proud of me. We’re best friends. We literally see each other like five times a week. We both live in New York. He’s just so excited. And I think he’s just really proud that I finished college.”
She did her own windshield stunt. Sort of.
“It was the most amazing day. It was my second or third day of shooting, so I was still really new and all of the sudden I’m doing this huge stunt. J.J. [Dashnaw], who’s our stunt coordinator — he also doubles Zac, so he’s super handsome — basically he took out the passenger seat of the car, Seth was actually driving, and they put down this plank. And I kind of scrunched myself into the back seat of the car on the plank, and then Seth would start to drive, and I would push myself slowly with the fingers rolling. [Feldstein’s stunt double Mandy Kowalski then threw herself through the actual window plane.] She missed the mat. It was actually kind of hard to watch. It was scary.”
She has a pitch for Neighbors 3.
“I always like to say that it should be, me or Chloë [Moretz] or Kiersey [Clemons] or Zac or Dave in Seth and Rose’s shoes, and Stella — who is Seth and Rose’s daughter in the movie — being the terrorizing next-door neighbor. I think that’d be really funny. And then it’s like we call the parents and it’s Seth and Rose.”
And for her next act…
“Not everything’s signed on the dotted line so I can’t say too much, but I have two projects coming up, both are films, and they’re really different than Neighbors, which I’m really excited about, to show everybody a bit of a different side. I’m not flying through windshields or anything.”
Also check out a clip from our Facebook Live chat with Feldstein’s costar, Kiersey Clemons: