Love Wins: Dave Franco’s ‘Neighbors’ Character Pete Is Gay
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising doesn’t hit theaters ’til May 20th, but it’s already kinda winning in the diversity department.
Dave Franco’s character, Pete, is gay.
And although his role in the sequel isn’t as big as it was in the first film, it’s nonetheless nice to see this unexpected but welcomed character arc. Director Nicholas Stoller explained that Pete is now in a relationship with a man played by 30 Rock’s John Early and that he actually had this change in mind when making the first Neighbors.
According to Yahoo, “[Stoller] was particularly inspired by the climactic scene that found frat mastermind Teddy insisting that his bromantic sparring partner Pete flee the scene of a crime — a firework-ravaged party house — so that Teddy could take full responsibility. ‘I love you,’ Pete wistfully tells Teddy before darting off.”
Stoller commented in an interview with Yahoo last month:
Clearly, we’re playing with the homoerotic tension there, and I was like, ‘He should just be gay.’ Then in this one, it came up again. [Co-writer] Evan Goldberg brought it up, and he said, ‘I think he should be gay, and part of [his arc] should be the proposal.’ It was kind of all of us coming to the same conclusion.
His decision to make Pete gay was also influenced a bit by a question once posed by a reporter during a press junket for Neighbors, in which he asked why he’s never had a gay character in any of his films (Stoller’s resume includes Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek,, and more).
I was like, ‘I don’t know why. I literally don’t know. I have no good answer for that.’ So this seemed like an organic way to have that happen.
And although the character arc for Pete felt more natural, he didn’t feel the same for Zac Efron’s lead character Teddy.
A lot of Zac’s motivations in the first movie, especially with his girlfriend and stuff, seemed pretty straight. It felt like it might seem like a stunt if we made him gay. But it seemed to just work with Dave.
As for how Franco reacted when he found out about Pete’s sexuality? He said at CinemaCon, “I was so excited. Even though I’m not on screen for a significant amount of time, hopefully it will be very memorable. And of course I was excited to try something new with the character while still maintaining his essence.”