Actor/director/producer/writer Seth Rogen’s involvement in the controversial North Korea assassination comedy The Interview and the development of AMC series Preacher kept him in the headlines over the past year, but his raunchy 2014 comedy Neighbors proved to be the most critically and commercial successful.
In that film, Rogen and Rose Byrne played a married couple who wind up going to war with a fraternity living next door, led by Zac Efron. Each faction retaliates against the other, leading to some over-the-top results. The comedy proved fresh and funny despite a somewhat rote premise, and word of a Neighbors 2 has persisted since June of 2014.
After a report from this past February that Neighbors 2 would indeed be moving forward to meet a May of 2016 release date, word on the sequel went quiet, until now. Production Weekly confirms the title of the next movie: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, with Carrie star Chloë Grace Moretz joining the cast (via /Film). The actress confirmed her involvement with the following tweet:
Excited to announce I’ll be apart of #Neighbors with @Sethrogen – Buckle up people …it’s the girls’ time to take over.. 😉
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) July 23, 2015
The subtitle and the casting of Moretz gives us a fairly broad idea of the plot – it’s safe to assume that a sorority, led by Moretz, moves in next door to Rogen and Byrne, who are forced to recruit Zac Efron’s character to help them out, in the face of off-the-hook girl power. Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) will return to helm the sequel, and is co-writing the script with Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg.
The Neighbors 2 premise seems painfully obvious, but then so was that of the original. Neighbors proved to be a hit, due to the way it managed to subvert many (but not all) of the cliches associated with this type of basic plot. The addition of Moretz should inject some welcome new blood into the burgeoning franchise, and while the actress is known for her darker, dramatic turns in films like Let Me In and Carrie, she was dynamite in a scene-stealing recurring role as an antagonist to Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock, and her role as Hit Girl in the Kick-Ass films managed to effectively blend comedy and drama.
As of now, Neighbors 2 has a release date all set, and will arrive a week after Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. The original Neighbors was a successful bit of counter-programming itself, and with a new addition like Moretz, the sequel could prove just as big a hit… unless it becomes yet another Hangover 2-style rehash, rather than try for something more.