Next up were co-stars Rob Riggle and Dave Franco. Franco plays Eric Molson, a popular kid and drug dealer who befriends Jonah Hill’s character, while Riggle plays Mr. Walters, a brash, loudmouth coach. True to his character, Riggle started on me right away.
Rob Riggle: Jerrod, you look very serious.
Don’t be fooled, it’s a thrift store coat. First off, were you guys fans of the original show?
RR: Uh, I wasn’t a hardcore fan. I didn’t watch it, like, every night, but I caught my share of episodes.
I don’t think it was on every night, was it?
RR: No, I mean every Friday night. Weekly.
Dave Franco: I did not ever see the show until I found out about the movie, went back and watched a few episodes, saw that it was a completely different thing and felt like I didn’t really need to watch more. Even though it was a cool show.
I had the first season on DVD and I…don’t have it anymore.
DF: Where’d it go?
It may have been re-gifted.
It’s fair to say you’re different ages, right?
RR: Yes. Barely. I mean, just barely.
It’s like an older brother situation.
RR: Just barely.
Were the cool kids in charge when you both were in high school, or was it like the movie?
DF: (To Rob) What was your experience like?
RR: You know, Hollywood paints a picture and stereotypes and all this. You know, my high school…yes, sports and stuff like that, that was a big thing. But nobody was mean to each other. I don’t remember any of us being mean to each other. So, like, I played football but I also did drama. Everybody kind of cross-pollinated. I guess you could say there were some cliques, but it wasn’t as hardcore as people make it out to be.
DF: I had a very similar experience where there weren’t necessarily “the cool kids” or anybody. Everyone–and maybe this is fortunate—but like everyone got along decently well, considering. My group of friends were pretty social and got along with everyone. But at the same time we were the kids playing Ultimate Frisbee at lunch. We weren’t cool, you know? But everyone got along. I don’t know.
RR: That was my experience.
We had cowboys at my school.
DF: What do you mean?
Like, people that wore cowboy hats…
DF: Oh, okay..
RR: Belt buckles…
They raised pigs and goats on campus.
DF: On campus?
On campus. We had a barn.
DF: Come on.
Well, this is Texas.
RR: I guess…
DF: Wait, they would go have a period to tend to their animals?
DF: Come on. That’s a class?
I assume. I wasn’t in it.
DF: That’s awesome.
RR: Might be an FFA thing or something…
Yeah, it was an FFA thing.
RR: That’s probably what it was.
Rob, you’re a bit of a jock, safe to say…
RR: Yeah, yeah. Here’s the thing, though: 8th and 9th grade, I was pre-pubescent. And everybody else grew and was huge and I was small and scared. I spent those two years running for my life, in fact, hiding in the boys’ bathroom after lunch on many occasions.
DF: Come on.
RR: Fact. And then in 10th grade it hit like a thunderbolt. And I grew and got big–
DF: You got back at those kids?
RR: No, never did, ’cause I remember what it felt like to hide in that bathroom. So it was weird. I had two experiences. The latter half of my high school experience was fun. I played sports. It gave me self-confidence, self-esteem. And then I did drama. I was on the radio and TV station. I kind of came out of my cave a little bit and it was awesome.
DF: I never quite had that second experience. (Laughs)
You never hit puberty?
DF: Well…I’ll get back to you on that.
Was there a coach you drew inspiration from?
RR: Without naming names. For this character? For Mr. Walters?
Right. You’re a big enough star, you can name names now.
RR: No, I would never want to do that. But I did draw from a specific coach that I had. Actually, it was an amalgamation. I shouldn’t say that. He was one guy, I had another gym teacher, and I think a driver’s ed teacher, and I just pulled from all of them. Maybe one drill sergeant in there, too.
So were there any actual teenagers in this movie?
DF: Yeah, this is actually a really bad story. Um…we…this isn’t in the movie…
Do we need to stop taping?
DF: Actually, should I say this?
DF: This actually might get me in trouble.
RR: Yeah, don’t say it.
DF: I’m not gonna say it.
RR: All right.
We’ll talk afterward.
DF: It was bad though.