In the 2016 summer movie landscape, the bro-comedy (Neighbors 2, Popstar) has easily outshone all others by being funny, weirdly action-packed, and surprisingly heartwarming. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates—which on first judgment from its trailer, could have fallen into standard bro-territory—is based on the true story of two brothers (Zac Efron and Adam Devine) who post a Craigslist ad looking for wedding dates that goes viral. The tables are turned when the two get paired up with a couple unapologetic party girls (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) who merely want a free trip to Hawaii and threaten to fuck up the brothers' beloved little sister’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) nuptials.
As the bride-to-be, Jeanie could have very well been a one-note bridezilla type or frankly, even worse, boring. Instead we get Beard, who brings the sweet Jeanie to life and steals the film in a series of hilariously escalating scenes that showcase her talent for physical comedy—pretty nakedly so. We hopped on the phone to talk with the Canadian actress, who has roles later this year in Sausage Party and the James Franco-plays-Tommy-Wiseau-psuedo-biopic The Masterpiece, about her Daniel Day Lewis moment, getting naked, and Zac Efron's muscles.
You are so hilarious in this. Tell me about how you got involved.
I auditioned only a few months before we left for Hawaii to shoot, and it was an amazingly quick turnaround. [At first], I thought I was auditioning for Terry, the cousin, so I was just dressed in a power suit with my hair back. At the very last minute, my agent calls me and says “No, actually, you’re going in for Jeanie.” So I quickly read it, switched out my hair, and got the lines down as I was driving from Malibu to the audition.
I went in and banged it out with the cast, like, so hard that I fell on my knees when I was acting out the scene when I’m all stoned. I dropped to my knees. The casting director was like, “Sug, I don’t know what you just did, we have to bring you right back in for the director.” It was one of those auditions where I felt like I was actually high and I was in the scene so hard. When I stood up, I look down and my knees were bleeding, blood dripping down. Two weeks later they called me and told me I had booked it.
That’s very much your Daniel Day Lewis moment!
I’m so dedicated to my craft as a comedian that I bled for the director!
All of your scenes—the ATV scene, the massage scene, the super stoned scene—are all really good examples of physical comedy and getting to a see a lady do it all was great.
It’s so rare that I read a script like this, stuff like this just doesn’t come across my plate. Finding a role which has so much heart and is also so rounded that I get to take it to these other levels. I truly will do anything. Except cockroaches, I won’t do a scene with cockroaches. That’s where I draw the line. But the freedom of playing multiple characters [on my Canadian show] gave me this fearlessness to go in and get excited about having a fucked up face for half the movie, getting high, and all of the rest of it.
You were also pretty naked for like half of those scenes, too. Was that nerve wracking?
People keep asking me that, and I would be like, “Oh I’m modest and it was a hard thing for me to do,” but I loved it. What kept happening is that I was so comfortable that they would have to reel me in. When we were doing the horse scene, I was pretty much just wearing a thong that had hair glued to the front of it, and that’s it! Between the takes they’d put a robe on me and make sure I was covered up, and at some point I was just having so much fun and was so comfortable that I did a handstand when I was naked. Basically they told me, well you’re not uncomfortable, but there are 150 other people here that might be a little bit uncomfortable with a naked girl running around.
You’re very naked in the massage scene with Kumail Nanjiani, which is one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year. How was it working with him? He’s built in a way that I wasn’t expecting…do you know his workout routine?
I’ll speak on the workout routine: I think that any male showing up to be in this movie, knowing that Zac [Efron] was going to be in it, just put in double time. Adam [Devine], during costume fittings, the costumers would be like, “Adam’s body keeps getting better and better as we’re fitting him.” Kumail, I was surprised by him too, he looked so good…
So was it weird being naked with him in that massage scene?
We were naked together for a really long time, and as you can see that’s not digital—our butts are rubbing against each other. But he was such a professional. He had a sack, a little bag that goes over your unit, and there’s a lot of sliding, so sometimes the bag would get loose. By the eighth hour I was like who cares! Just let it go! And Kumail was not having it, he’s such a professional, unlike me. "Just rub your dick on my back, what do I care?" But that day I laughed so much. I’m normally pretty good about keeping it together, but that day I just couldn’t do it. Thank goodness I’m having like convulsion orgasms in that scene because laughing actually worked as I was underneath him.
And the ATV scene when you get hit in the face—that's gonna be your Marcia Brady football scene!
I can’t be more excited about all of this! I mean, right? Can you imagine if that’s my Marcia Brady scene?
Your face gets way more fucked up than hers does.
That fucked up face is going down in history, I’m sure of it. I hope that they make a Jeanie Halloween mask that’s just half of a fucked up face.