With Judd Apatow comedies raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and traditional leading-man vehicles floundering, a pretty face no longer automatically equals a big opening weekend. Suddenly the nerdy boys next door are wielding a whole lot of clout.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse made his first-ever late-night talk-show appearance two weeks before Superbad’s theatrical release last summer. His plans for the future, he told host Jimmy Kimmel, included making up a failed high school Spanish class at community college. “Yeah, that’s not happening anymore,” admits the pale and lanky 18-year-old, who has leveraged his role as the ID-faking, cop-befriending McLovin into a packed filming schedule, including work on Little Big Men with Paul Rudd and the Harold Ramis–directed Year One.
Mintz-Plasse, who spent two full weeks growing the puny handful of hairs now sprouting from his chin, had little more than a drama class on his résumé when he auditioned for Superbad. So he isn’t yet weary of hearing shouts of “McLovin” everywhere he goes. It’s a character that will go down alongside Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s Jeff Spicoli in the high school movie hall of fame. “I recently went to Chipotle for a burrito, and there were, like, 40 teenagers there staring at me,” he says. “But this one girl kept saying to them all, ‘He’s not McLovin; he just looks like him.’ It was really annoying, and finally I just shouted at them, ‘I. Am. McLovin!’”
Aside from ambushes by fans, the L.A. native maintains a typical teenage life. He lives with his parents, tools around in his new Honda Civic and deals with girl problems (though he admits his prospects have increased since his film debut). He recently did an ad for Declare Yourself, a Web initiative to get young people to vote. “I’m a Democrat,” he says with confidence, before adding, “I’ll probably vote for who my parents say—I don’t know too much about politics yet.”