Want to feel old? Ask Chloe Grace Moretz about things that make her feel old. The 19-year-old actress brings new energy to “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” which this time finds young parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne terrorized by a house of girls, not fratboys. Moretz plays the new clan’s fearless leader: a freshman with some new ideas about a girl’s right to party.
First of all, the approach to feminist issues in this is pretty impressive, especially for a raunchy comedy.
I mean, that’s what was always very interesting. I think in all honesty comedy always hits harder in society when you take on very real and modern-day issues and you disguise them under the guise of levity and comedy. They end up hitting you harder and becoming more memorable. It was a cool opportunity to try my hand at comedy and work with some of the comedic geniuses of our generation — and also be a part of a very big societal conversation going on right now and try to influence some people in the right direction.
Why is it so hard for some people to comprehend the idea that women can just wear whatever they want to wear?
No, totally. Growing up in this day and age, it’s always been an issue thrust on women, so I think it’s nice to do something as simple as that. With these parties, these girls think that they’re trying to be someone that they didn’t need to be. They realize that they end up being happier and more successful and they have more friends when they just be themselves and do what they want and wear what they want and just be who they are — which I think a lot of people are still afraid to do, but it’s a very simple concept.
So how many obnoxious questions about the college experience — or a lack thereof — have you gotten while promoting this?
Oh, tons. Hundreds of them. “How many sorority parties have you been to? What do you know about sororities? You never went to college! How do you know anything about college?” [Laughs]
How do you humor that kind of invasive questioning?
It’s just one of those things you kind of have to take in stride. Some people just don’t know the life I come from or why I didn’t got to college, so I just try to not be annoyed or biased or rude.
I don’t think playing a freshman in college is that much of a stretch for you.
Right, it’s not a totally foreign concept. [Laughs] It wasn’t that big of a stretch. I mean, no I didn’t go to college exactly, and I never went to high school, really, or anything like that. But it’s definitely not hard to imagine what it would be like if I had.
What is your approach to nailing the comic tone and timing for this?
Honestly, I’d never really tried improv like that before, so jumping into this movie was a whole new set of skills that I had to just try to run with and go with and not be afraid of. I didn’t necessarily know what I was jumping into, so I just tried to go with it. The comedy came naturally. I come from a very comedic family — my family is kind of wild — so timing is something that I grew up with. I just try to run with it and not be self-conscious.
How was taking on improv for the first time?
It was fun. It was really nerve-wracking in the beginning. You fall on your face a lot and you totally struggle most of the time, but you also have those moments where it’s really funny. It’s honestly a lot more grueling than making a drama, which is interesting.
It’s mildly terrifying that Zac Efron’s character realizes he’s “old” now in this film. Were there any discussions on set that involved the word “millennial”?
Oh, definitely. I always joke about the word millennial and what that entails and what that means. Honestly, I’m only 19, but when I try to talk to a 12-year-old I have no way of being able to stay in the conversation or understand what apps they’re talking about or anything like that. I thought I was quick at doing social media and being on my phone, but talk to a 12-year-old for five seconds. It makes me feel old, which is weird.