2014’s release Neighbors won audiences who enjoyed the comical story of a battle between a young couple and their fraternity “neighbors.” For the sequel, director Nicholas Stoller and producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver hoped to catch lightening in a bottle again with a new story, one that wasn’t just a retelling — or expanding — of the first. As Rogen, who stars in and produces the film, says: “The conversation wasn’t how to escalate it; that’s where a lot of sequels go wrong. It was how to evolve it. We weren’t trying to add more and make a bigger version of the first; we wanted to explore what the next thing was that would happen in these people’s lives.”
He continues, “The first film dealt with not wanting to accept the idea of growing up and still having the desire to party and act immature. In this one Mac and Kelly have accepted that they’ve grown up, but don’t want to accept that their kids are going to grow up and eventually dislike them. While the first one was about Mac and Kelly wanting to still be kids, this one is about them trying to control a kid.”
According to the Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising press kit: While developing the ideas for a sequel, numerous story concepts and scenarios were considered: (Delta Psi returns years later! There’s a mythological party dorm called Dormopolis!). But, finally, the creative team came up with the idea of a hard-partying sorority moving into the vacant house next door to Mac and Kelly. It was then that the team made a surprising discovery. “Someone in our office was in a sorority and overheard us talking about the idea of a hard-partying sorority moving in next door,” recalls Rogen. “She offhandedly mentioned that they actually aren’t allowed to throw parties. Once we looked it up, we found that it was true it gave us the idea for the whole storyline.”
In fact, a little Googling dug up the fact that Greek letter sororities are barred from serving alcohol at their residences. With the discovery of this glaring gender inequality, the filmmakers had stumbled on an interesting issue that broadened the scope of the Neighbors universe. “When we started researching how sororities work, we were shocked at how sexist the system was,” says Goldberg. “Seth and I are from Canada and assumed that they threw parties just like the frats did. We knew that having a feminist undertone and storyline would make the movie a lot more interesting.”
Of course, the girls arriving at the film’s college, Braxton, were ready to taste the storied college culture — away from the eyes of their parents and restrictions of high school life. Once they grasped the reality that they couldn’t throw-down as hard as the boys, they found an ideal worth fighting for. Any self-respecting girl has to fight for her right to party.
And thus, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising was born.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is available beginning Sept. 20 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.