Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates was inspired by the true story of the Stangle brothers, whose irreverent Craigslist ad seeking partners for a family wedding ended up going viral. Here, the real-life Mike and Dave sift the fact from the fiction.
First things first: the wedding that forms the basis of the comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates was for the Stangles’ cousin, not their sister, it didn’t take place in Hawaii, and, unlike the movie, it actually went off without a hitch.
Nevertheless, the real-life Mike and Dave Stangle insist that the film is still pretty faithful to the events leading up to the ill-fated nuptials depicted in the movie.
“I think the film was pretty accurate with the facts, actually, until they got to Hawaii – that whole part didn’t happen,” Mike explains. “But we thought the movie was really well done and it captured what was so fun about the original Craigslist ad – and that was Dave and I getting into this ridiculous situation together, which was a legitimate excuse to go on hundreds of double dates. It’s obviously a bit exaggerated, but the fun we had with it was remembering this actually happened to us. In the movie it’s just a better-looking version of us.”
Adds Dave: “They very much captured our characters, which we love. Anyone who knows us, when they see the movie, they will very much know that they nailed exactly how we are.”
The unlikely inspiration for the comedy was the aforementioned Craiglist ad posted by the two siblings in February 2013, which depicted the pair as centaurs and outlined how they needed dates for the cousin’s wedding to ensure that they wouldn’t spoil things by harassing the bride’s friends all night and generally behaving badly.
Describing themselves as “single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon,” and “completely house trained,” their irreverent ad became a viral phenomenon all over the globe, much to the brothers’ surprise.
“I don’t know why it went so crazy, but it had a snowball effect,” recalls Dave. “The more people talked about it, or the more their friends talked about it, the bigger it got. It went international. We were on the Australian Today Show. We were getting emails from people in every different country.”
That said, the Stangles clearly believed their story had movie potential: in the ad, the boys reckoned they had an 85 per cent chance of their story becoming a movie, although they said, “we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either one of us.”
So how did they feel about Zac Efron and Adam Devine, who ended up playing them on screen? “The writers had actors in mind while they were writing and while they were emailing and meeting with us,” Mike says. “First Zac signed on, and we were both totally turned on immediately, and then Adam came in. I forget the exact order, but it did seem like it was getting better and better, and kind of more unbelievable, as the casting played out. We didn’t have a ton to do with the selection, we were just super excited.”
As for their characters’ dates – played in the movie by Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick– in real life, the brothers didn’t end up taking any of the girls who applied for the ad to the wedding. However, they did go on a lot of dates and their experiences also found their way into the movie.
“We had thousands and thousands of women emailing us in the first week,” Dave says. “We did what any two single brothers in their 20s would do, which is pick the best looking, most interesting ones, and go on double dates with them. And it got really addictive, and that’s really where the basis of much of the story came from.
“In the end we didn’t take any of the Craiglist girls to the wedding, but everything that manifests through Aubrey and Anna’s characters in the last two acts of the movie really manifested for us in all these double dates we went on.”
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is out on DVD & Blu-ray on November 9.