According to Vanity Fair’s immensely entertaining oral history of the film’s production, casting the character of McLovin, who was written to be a scene stealer, proved difficult. “It became very evident that there were no actors who were right for the role,” said Goldberg. Casting director Allison Jones was forced to look outside of Hollywood, ultimately wallpapering Southern California high schools with casting notices. A seventeen-year-old Christopher Mintz-Plasse tagged along with his friends to an open audition and was shocked when he earned a callback. After sufficiently impressive Mottola, the non-professional actor read with Cera and Hill, where he went straight at the latter in his final audition.
“Chris was really, really amazing off the bat,” says Hill. “And I think he was really annoying to me at that time.” Mottola adds, “He played it like he was clearly the coolest guy in the room and everyone else was a nerd and a loser. He was Dean Martin instead of Jerry Lewis.” This is, of course, the core of McLovin’s being. He’s a born loser who believes he’s god’s gift. Through sheer, unabashedly dorky swagger, he makes it work. This drove Hill absolutely nuts.
“APATOW: In the audition, he was very caustic and attacked Jonah and did improvs insulting Jonah.
ROGEN: Jonah immediately hated him. He was like, ‘That was f***ing with my rhythm. I couldn’t perform with that guy.’
APATOW: Jonah said, ‘I don’t like that guy. I don’t want him doing it.’ And I said, “That’s exactly why we’re hiring him. It couldn’t be more perfect. The fact that it bothers you is exactly what we want.'”