Casting Kids For Superbad's Flashbacks Called For Some Creative Camera Work

Fifteen years ago, Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson produced a coming-of-age comedy script from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg about two teens, also named Seth and Evan, that the duo had been developing since their own teen years. The film was "Superbad," and the film became a smash hit thanks to the snappy script, the unwavering friendship of Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), and the relatable high school hijinks the two get into while trying to finally prove that they can be cool once and for all. Directed by Greg Mottola ("Adventureland," "Arrested Development," "Dave"), the film is largely considered one of the great teen comedies of the new millennium.

"Superbad" has remained a popular mainstay over the last decade and a half, due in large part to how endlessly quotable it is. I'll fully admit that I say, "Calm down, Greg. It's soccer," anytime I see someone unnecessarily wilding out online about something that doesn't actually matter ... which means I get a lot of mileage out of that quote. "Superbad" is also home to some hilariously brilliant visual gags, with the flashback sequence to Seth, Evan, and Becca in elementary school being the most memorable. In the scene, it's revealed that Seth's lifelong hatred of Becca (Evan's crush) started years ago, when she discovered that Seth was part of the "8% of kids or something" who sit around all day and draw pictures of dicks. The gag is rib-tickling, but even Apatow, Rogen, and Goldberg knew it wasn't a good idea to have actual kids on set surrounded by graphic depictions of wieners.

'You know how many foods are shaped like dicks? The best kinds!'

In honor of the film's 15th anniversary, Vanity Fair interviewed the cast and crew to provide an oral history of the film. Evan Goldberg said that his brother was an artist when they were kids, so they commissioned him to do all of the dick drawings for the movie in between studying for law school. "I remember when we were shooting the penis-drawing scenes, we weren't allowed to have the children see the penis drawings," said Judd Apatow. "So we had to create these shots where we had a body double for the kid, surrounded by penis drawings, and then we would just shoot the close-up and have them do all these reactions." Similarly to how horror movies often shoot films with children without them knowing they're in a horror movie, the kids cast to play young Seth and young Becca had no idea what was supposed to be on the papers.

"We had to do reactions of the little kids to the penis drawings, but they never knew what they were reacting to," said Apatow. This only enforces Greg Mottola's strength as a director, because young Becca (Laura Marano) looks rightfully mortified and young Seth (Casey Margolis) looks appropriately ashamed. The moment is one of the film's funniest, and it almost didn't make the cut. "When we were thinking about what can go, the editor said, 'Well, the one thing that doesn't move the story forward at all are the dick drawings,' and I just said, 'Over my dead body, we're not taking that out,'" Mottola recalled. Thankfully, the moment stayed in. "We needed a reason for [Seth] to not like the Becca character, so that became a long walk, but worth the walk."