Molly Gordon Cuts Boys No Slack In New Comedy

Midori Francis, Jacob Tremblay and Molly Gordon star in 'Good Boys.″
Ed Araquel/Universal Pictures

Similar to how Jennifer Grey’s character was wise to and constantly infuriated with her kid brother’s antics which never seemed to land him in trouble in the comedy classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Molly Gordon plays the perennially perturbed teenager bent on foiling her troublemaking adolescent neighbor Max in Universal's R-rated comedy Good Boys.

Best known for her role as Nicky on the TNT drama Animal Kingdom, Gordon has revealed her comedic side as of late, delivering memorable turns in Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party and this summer’s sleeper hit Booksmart.

As Hannah in Good Boys, she serves as a source of inspiration to 12-year-old Max, who’s just been invited to his first kissing party where the girl he likes at school is supposed to attend, and he hasn’t a clue what to do. Max decides to spy on Hannah and her much older boyfriend who are making out in what she thinks is the privacy of her backyard. Unable to catch a good view of the action, Max takes his dad’s expensive and supposedly off-limits drone equipped with a camera to spy on the couple. Hannah, who has subsequently broken up with her boyfriend, and her best friend Lily decide to teach the younger kids a lesson about spying and respecting women by swiping their drone. In order to get it back, Max and his two best friends—Lucas and Thor—have to get the older girls drugs that they want to take to a concert. A series of misadventures ensues involving both the boys and the young women.

The film stars Jacob Tremblay, best known for his role in Room, alongside Keith L. Williams as Lucas and Brady Noon as Thor. Will Forte plays Max’s dad and Midori Francis plays Hannah’s take-no-prisoners best friend Lily. The film is directed by Gene Stupnitski (Trophy Wife, Hello Ladies) from a screenplay he wrote with Lee Eisenberg (The Office). The producers include Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who also produced the similarly wacky R-rated comedy Superbad.

How was it working with Jacob, Keith and Brady? Hannah and Lily are pretty unforgiving with these boys.

Molly Gordon: They definitely don’t cut them slack for being younger. When the boys choose to spy on Hannah and Lily it wasn’t the best time because she’s a little over guys mistreating her. And she sees an opportunity in teaching them a lesson that you can’t spy on women. You have to be better. She doesn’t want them turning into her ex-boyfriend.

In working with these youngsters, was it the same thing. Or did you treat them with kid gloves?

Gordon: They’re the leads in the movie and they set a professional tone that I had to match. They were there to work. But, yes, I did feel I had my kid gloves on and everything was handled in a very appropriate way on set, and we’re dealing with inappropriate things. Everyone on the crew made sure that everyone felt really comfortable.

Why did you want to be part of this film? Did you have any hesitation because the stars of the movie are 12 or 13 years old and it’s an R-rated movie?

Gordon: I knew Lee and Gene were good people and they would handle the material in a very responsible way. I find it interesting when R-rated movies about kids being chased with guns, no one really says anything but we’re doing a movie that involves sexuality and everyone’s like, “Whoa, it’s so crazy they’d let kids do this.” This is a movie for adults, like an action movie is for adults.

None of the comedy comes out of the kids doing anything with the (sex toys or drugs). It’s that they don’t know what they are. They’re discovering what they are and saying, “That’s not for me.” We’re also living in a time when kids know things at a younger age. I came of age at the beginning of that. These kids can look up anything (on the Internet). I haven’t seen a movie tackle that age group in that way.

When you were 12, what were some of the goofy things you and your friends would do?

Gordon: I was definitely like Keith’s character. I was not ready to be a teenager. I wanted to play dress up and go to theater camp with my friends. It took me a couple of years and then I was ready to have my high school party. That’s what I like about this movie. It explores that time where you can be in such a different place when you’re 11 or 12. You can feel like a kid while your friends might feel like they’re ready to start drinking.

Did you have a favorite day on set?

Gordon: I remember these kids improvising. They were just so good. I could have never done it at their age. Also, they were so not in their heads. Lee and Jean would throw us new pages, and they’d go, “OK, let’s try it.” Me and Midori, who plays Lily, would go, “How are we going to do this,” and (the boys) would go right into it. It just brought me back to that time when I was 11 and didn’t care what people thought. I was just free. I want to take that childlike wonder and bring it with me as I continue to do this.

Was there a lot of time to just chill out and talk with them?

Gordon: Yeah, especially with Midori. She’s a wonderful actress. She’s doing a play at Williamstown right now. We’d both done theater so we connected on that. And with the guys, it was a completely different energy. I’d only done movies or TV shows with people my age or older. I’d never really worked with kids. And they’re parents were lovely too. It was just a wildly different experience.

At 23, you’re probably not around a lot of 12-year-old boys that much. So, how did you prepare to work with these young actors?

Gordon: It's different. Actually, it wasn't that different; it just was like more hyper. When you first start to work with actors, especially male actors, they can be guarded and you have to kind of find your way in with them, but these guys were just so open so excited to be working. On the first day, we were checking each other out, and by the end of the day we were hugging and all together, so that was fun. They made it easy.

Jacob Tremblay seems to really be so professional and mature beyond his years.

Gordon: When we were promoting Good Boys at SXSW, we all were doing a panel discussion, and they were going down the line with mics. I got really nervous but he's like, “Hey guys, welcome!” When the mic got to me, I’m like shaking, and I’m 10 years older than he is. He’s so made for this. He feels it. It’s amazing.

You grew up in L.A. in a show business family and appeared in your mom’s film, I Am Sam. Do you feel you had a normal upbringing?

Gordon: I had a very realistic view of what being in this business was because my parents have beautiful years of success and then years of nothing. I knew that if I did this, it was because I really wanted to do it—for the creativity of it and not because I’m going to be “successful” or make a lot of money or be famous. It’s a hard job and it’s not consistent in any way.

I grew up watching movies and visiting sets, so I was around (show biz) at a younger age. It definitely didn’t make me want to be a part of “Hollywood.” I just wanted to be in the creative vibe of the friends and collaborators they had.

Did they give you helpful advice?

Gordon: My mom always says to me, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” You just need to slow down and enjoy your life. Both of them told me that I should have other things that I love to do because that can fulfill you and make your work deeper because an actor can sit around and wait for work to come to them.

So, what do you like to do when you're not working?

Gordon: I love to sing and one day I’d like to write and direct. I’m also a big foodie. I like to write sketches with my friends, and I like to read.

You’ve done a lot of theater, so do you like the instant feedback from the audience that you get?

Gordon: Yeah. Totally. I’m a little more shy as I’ve gotten older. When you do theater, you have to go right after and talk to people. When you do a movie, it’s been months since you’ve shot it, and so you’ve been away from your performance. Theater is a beautiful thing and feeds your soul but it is way more vulnerable. So, I’d love to be able to do both.

You've gotten great reviews for Booksmart. Audiences really connected with it as they are probably going to connect with Good Boys because it’s just fun. How is it being in two summer movies?

Gordon: I feel really lucky that they’re both are coming out over the summer. I love Booksmart; it’s such a special movie. I'm so excited to see the journey it’ll have on streaming (video) because it'll be a movie that young girls return to as a sleepover movie and then I'm really excited for Good Boys because it's a wildly different movie and I think people need a big laugh right now. I hope people turn out to see it because there’s nothing like being in a theater with people laughing. Some of my favorite memories are seeing Anchorman in a theater or Bridesmaids.

You’re going back to shoot the second season of Ramy for Hulu. When do you resume production on that?

Gordon: I don't know exactly but sometime in the fall but Ramy’s (Youssef) become a good friend of mine this year and I'm just so excited for him to get to continue to tell the stories he has because he's such a genius and I think the show’s so good.

Do you watch a lot of movies?

Gordon: I just saw The Farewell, which I thought was amazing. I saw The Lion King at midnight; it was a gift. I love Beyonce. I saw Toy Story 4—a lot of animated films. I live in New York now so in the summer it’s important to me to go see a lot of movies.

Why did you move from your hometown of L.A. to New York? Are you looking to do more theater?

Gordon: I did a play this year that was enjoyable. But, because I’m from L.A., I just like being somewhere else. I think it's funny to be from the place where people go to do this job. I think probably I still maybe feel like a like a kid here. But I also think in New York you just can't beat the energy and the pace and I think you're around people that do other kinds of things and I like that.

Since you’ve been around show business most of your life, what’s your advice for young actors?

Gordon: I actually didn’t start acting professionally until I was 18. I would say there’s no rush. Just keep learning and watching things and just don't put so much pressure on yourself because you have a long time to get that part.

Do your parents keep you grounded?

Gordon: Definitely!

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Similar to how Jennifer Grey’s character was wise to and constantly infuriated with her kid brother’s antics which never seemed to land him in trouble in the comedy classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Molly Gordon plays the perennially perturbed teenager bent on foiling her troublemaking adolescent neighbor Max in Universal's R-rated comedy Good Boys.

Best known for her role as Nicky on the TNT drama Animal Kingdom, Gordon has revealed her comedic side as of late, delivering memorable turns in Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party and this summer’s sleeper hit Booksmart.

As Hannah in Good Boys, she serves as a source of inspiration to 12-year-old Max, who’s just been invited to his first kissing party where the girl he likes at school is supposed to attend, and he hasn’t a clue what to do. Max decides to spy on Hannah and her much older boyfriend who are making out in what she thinks is the privacy of her backyard. Unable to catch a good view of the action, Max takes his dad’s expensive and supposedly off-limits drone equipped with a camera to spy on the couple. Hannah, who has subsequently broken up with her boyfriend, and her best friend Lily decide to teach the younger kids a lesson about spying and respecting women by swiping their drone. In order to get it back, Max and his two best friends—Lucas and Thor—have to get the older girls drugs that they want to take to a concert. A series of misadventures ensues involving both the boys and the young women.

The film stars Jacob Tremblay, best known for his role in Room, alongside Keith L. Williams as Lucas and Brady Noon as Thor. Will Forte plays Max’s dad and Midori Francis plays Hannah’s take-no-prisoners best friend Lily. The film is directed by Gene Stupnitski (Trophy Wife, Hello Ladies) from a screenplay he wrote with Lee Eisenberg (The Office). The producers include Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who also produced the similarly wacky R-rated comedy Superbad.

How was it working with Jacob, Keith and Brady? Hannah and Lily are pretty unforgiving with these boys.

Molly Gordon: They definitely don’t cut them slack for being younger. When the boys choose to spy on Hannah and Lily it wasn’t the best time because she’s a little over guys mistreating her. And she sees an opportunity in teaching them a lesson that you can’t spy on women. You have to be better. She doesn’t want them turning into her ex-boyfriend.

In working with these youngsters, was it the same thing. Or did you treat them with kid gloves?

Gordon: They’re the leads in the movie and they set a professional tone that I had to match. They were there to work. But, yes, I did feel I had my kid gloves on and everything was handled in a very appropriate way on set, and we’re dealing with inappropriate things. Everyone on the crew made sure that everyone felt really comfortable.

Why did you want to be part of this film? Did you have any hesitation because the stars of the movie are 12 or 13 years old and it’s an R-rated movie?

Gordon: I knew Lee and Gene were good people and they would handle the material in a very responsible way. I find it interesting when R-rated movies about kids being chased with guns, no one really says anything but we’re doing a movie that involves sexuality and everyone’s like, “Whoa, it’s so crazy they’d let kids do this.” This is a movie for adults, like an action movie is for adults.

None of the comedy comes out of the kids doing anything with the (sex toys or drugs). It’s that they don’t know what they are. They’re discovering what they are and saying, “That’s not for me.” We’re also living in a time when kids know things at a younger age. I came of age at the beginning of that. These kids can look up anything (on the Internet). I haven’t seen a movie tackle that age group in that way.

When you were 12, what were some of the goofy things you and your friends would do?

Gordon: I was definitely like Keith’s character. I was not ready to be a teenager. I wanted to play dress up and go to theater camp with my friends. It took me a couple of years and then I was ready to have my high school party. That’s what I like about this movie. It explores that time where you can be in such a different place when you’re 11 or 12. You can feel like a kid while your friends might feel like they’re ready to start drinking.

Did you have a favorite day on set?

Gordon: I remember these kids improvising. They were just so good. I could have never done it at their age. Also, they were so not in their heads. Lee and Jean would throw us new pages, and they’d go, “OK, let’s try it.” Me and Midori, who plays Lily, would go, “How are we going to do this,” and (the boys) would go right into it. It just brought me back to that time when I was 11 and didn’t care what people thought. I was just free. I want to take that childlike wonder and bring it with me as I continue to do this.

Was there a lot of time to just chill out and talk with them?

Gordon: Yeah, especially with Midori. She’s a wonderful actress. She’s doing a play at Williamstown right now. We’d both done theater so we connected on that. And with the guys, it was a completely different energy. I’d only done movies or TV shows with people my age or older. I’d never really worked with kids. And they’re parents were lovely too. It was just a wildly different experience.

At 23, you’re probably not around a lot of 12-year-old boys that much. So, how did you prepare to work with these young actors?

Gordon: It's different. Actually, it wasn't that different; it just was like more hyper. When you first start to work with actors, especially male actors, they can be guarded and you have to kind of find your way in with them, but these guys were just so open so excited to be working. On the first day, we were checking each other out, and by the end of the day we were hugging and all together, so that was fun. They made it easy.

Jacob Tremblay seems to really be so professional and mature beyond his years.

Gordon: When we were promoting Good Boys at SXSW, we all were doing a panel discussion, and they were going down the line with mics. I got really nervous but he's like, “Hey guys, welcome!” When the mic got to me, I’m like shaking, and I’m 10 years older than he is. He’s so made for this. He feels it. It’s amazing.

You grew up in L.A. in a show business family and appeared in your mom’s film, I Am Sam. Do you feel you had a normal upbringing?

Gordon: I had a very realistic view of what being in this business was because my parents have beautiful years of success and then years of nothing. I knew that if I did this, it was because I really wanted to do it—for the creativity of it and not because I’m going to be “successful” or make a lot of money or be famous. It’s a hard job and it’s not consistent in any way.

I grew up watching movies and visiting sets, so I was around (show biz) at a younger age. It definitely didn’t make me want to be a part of “Hollywood.” I just wanted to be in the creative vibe of the friends and collaborators they had.

Did they give you helpful advice?

Gordon: My mom always says to me, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” You just need to slow down and enjoy your life. Both of them told me that I should have other things that I love to do because that can fulfill you and make your work deeper because an actor can sit around and wait for work to come to them.

So, what do you like to do when you're not working?

Gordon: I love to sing and one day I’d like to write and direct. I’m also a big foodie. I like to write sketches with my friends, and I like to read.

You’ve done a lot of theater, so do you like the instant feedback from the audience that you get?

Gordon: Yeah. Totally. I’m a little more shy as I’ve gotten older. When you do theater, you have to go right after and talk to people. When you do a movie, it’s been months since you’ve shot it, and so you’ve been away from your performance. Theater is a beautiful thing and feeds your soul but it is way more vulnerable. So, I’d love to be able to do both.

You've gotten great reviews for Booksmart. Audiences really connected with it as they are probably going to connect with Good Boys because it’s just fun. How is it being in two summer movies?

Gordon: I feel really lucky that they’re both are coming out over the summer. I love Booksmart; it’s such a special movie. I'm so excited to see the journey it’ll have on streaming (video) because it'll be a movie that young girls return to as a sleepover movie and then I'm really excited for Good Boys because it's a wildly different movie and I think people need a big laugh right now. I hope people turn out to see it because there’s nothing like being in a theater with people laughing. Some of my favorite memories are seeing Anchorman in a theater or Bridesmaids.

You’re going back to shoot the second season of Ramy for Hulu. When do you resume production on that?

Gordon: I don't know exactly but sometime in the fall but Ramy’s (Youssef) become a good friend of mine this year and I'm just so excited for him to get to continue to tell the stories he has because he's such a genius and I think the show’s so good.

Do you watch a lot of movies?

Gordon: I just saw The Farewell, which I thought was amazing. I saw The Lion King at midnight; it was a gift. I love Beyonce. I saw Toy Story 4—a lot of animated films. I live in New York now so in the summer it’s important to me to go see a lot of movies.

Why did you move from your hometown of L.A. to New York? Are you looking to do more theater?

Gordon: I did a play this year that was enjoyable. But, because I’m from L.A., I just like being somewhere else. I think it's funny to be from the place where people go to do this job. I think probably I still maybe feel like a like a kid here. But I also think in New York you just can't beat the energy and the pace and I think you're around people that do other kinds of things and I like that.

Since you’ve been around show business most of your life, what’s your advice for young actors?

Gordon: I actually didn’t start acting professionally until I was 18. I would say there’s no rush. Just keep learning and watching things and just don't put so much pressure on yourself because you have a long time to get that part.

Do your parents keep you grounded?

Gordon: Definitely!

I am a formally trained reporter who spent years covering hard news for various print and television news outlets before discovering Hollywood nearly two decades ago. M...