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People In Film | Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: From Superbad to Superbully

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the young comic actor who is arguably best known for playing Fogell (aka “McLovin”) in the high school comedy Superbad, is showing a different side of himself in Focus Features' animated horror comedy PARANORMAN. While Fogell was the ultimate nerd, a character so geeky and uncool that he was perfect fodder for bullies, in PARANORMAN Mintz-Plasse takes the role of Alvin, the hefty bully who picks on Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the film's 11-year-old hero. For Mintz-Plasse, it was a part that he relished as it allowed him to get some karmic payback for his own awkward teenage years, explaining that he himself was “picked on in school. Doing this role, I thought of the kids I knew.” Director Sam Fell believed Mintz-Plasse was the ideal choice for Alvin exactly because the actor brought an unexpected quality to the character, explaining that “casting Chris was unusual in that people think of him for nerdish roles. But having him placed a more vulnerable comic voice into this school bully, showing how Alvin thinks of himself as a tough guy yet is still a scared kid.”

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Accidental Auditioner

The son of a mailman father and school counselor mother, Christopher Mintz-Plasse grew up dreaming of a career in drama, but hardly anticipated that success would come to him half as soon as it did. As Los Angeles native Mintz-Plasse said in a 2010 interview, he was integrally involved in all the school productions: “I was Aladdin, and then I was Captain Von Trapp from The Sound Of Music when I was 7 or 8, and then King Arthur. I was always the lead. I’ve always enjoyed being onstage, acting obnoxious, being someone that wasn’t me, hiding behind a character.” However, despite always being center stage, getting the role of Fogell in Greg Mottola's 2007 smash hit teen comedy Superbad came almost by accident, as he explains: “I auditioned because my friends were, but I had been in theater since I was 6. I had been doing all my school plays, elementary school, middle school, and high school, and then summer. I’d wanted to act for a long time, and I thought I was going to go to college and do theater, go that route. But Superbad kind of fell on my lap. I was very, very lucky for that.” Mintz-Plasse's unforgettably funny turn as Fogell/“McLovin” immediately announced him as a potential star of the future. In Rolling Stone, Peter Travers wrote, “Mintz-Plasse, who has never acted before (hell, he's in high school), makes McLovin a geek icon for the ages. Long after you've forgotten a decade of Oscar winners, you'll remember McLovin. Mintz-Plasse knocks it out of the park.” The overnight star enjoyed not only great reviews for his performance but also the endorsement of a legion of young fans in the form of a nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance at the MTV Movie Awards.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Confounding Expectations

After achieving immediate recognition playing Superbad’s “McLovin,” his first ever movie role, Christopher Mintz-Plasse could have easily become one of those actors who slips away slowly into obscurity, hamstrung by being pigeon-holed by casting directors. Talking to The Onion's A.V. Club, he said, “I’ve been pitched a lot of stuff where I’m the nerdy virgin who doesn’t get laid until the last scene by a big-breasted blonde. They’re like, 'Why would he get her? But it’s so funny!' I stay away from that.” He was smart to do so, and indeed actively set out to expand his range. While his second big-screen role, in David Wain's Role Models, was admittedly somewhat geeky too, Mintz-Plasse strode forward with roles as Isaac in the prehistoric comedy Year One (reuniting with Superbad costar Michael Cera), and took voice roles in the animated hits How To Train Your Dragon and Marmaduke. He really flexed his acting muscles playing vampire Evil Ed in the 2011 remake of 80s horror classic Fright Night, and showed an even darker side of himself in Kick-Ass, playing the dastardly Red Mist, the son of gangster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) who tries to prove himself to his father by taking down a group of vigilante superheroes. Music has also been a recurring presence in Mintz-Plasse's career: he was in the videos for both Jimmy Kimmel's “I'm F**king Ben Affleck” and Kid Cudi's “Erase Me” (feat. Kanye West), plays drums in the group The Young Rapscallions, and will soon appear in the barbershop-themed college comedy Pitch Perfect, in which he appears alongside his PARANORMAN costar Anna Kendrick.

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