Adam Pally didn’t have to think twice when he was offered a part in Dirty Grandpa, out Friday. The actor, known for funny turns on the TV shows Happy Endings and The Mindy Project, was doing one of his first movies with a major Hollywood player.
“I had no other care except Robert De Niro was in it,” says Pally from the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel. “He’s like the Michael Jordan of acting. I wanted to get a piece.”
Pally plays Nick, the out-of-control cousin of a straight-laced company man (Zac Efron), who travels with his recently widowed, booze-swilling ex-military grandfather (De Niro) to Daytona Beach for spring break before getting married. (For the eagle-eyed Floridians: Beach scenes were actually shot in Tybee Island, Georgia.)
Was it intimidating doing scenes with the legendary Oscar winner? Only mildly.
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“The first thing I told him was, ‘I can’t believe I get to work alongside the star of Analyze That,’ ” Pally jokes. “No, seriously. He was actually really easy to play off of. It was all very normal and even keel. We’re buds. I hope when he dies, his clip with me is in his In Memoriam montage.”
The only person on set Pally apparently didn’t jibe with was costar Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator).
“We have a well-documented hatred of one another that was exacerbated on this film,” Pally deadpans. “This is the new celebrity feud. You heard it here first. I’m charged up!”
Playing a wildman came easily to Pally, who is originally from New York City.
“This role gave me the freedom to be as crazy as I wanted to be,” says the 33-year-old, who claims he based Nick on the rapper Bizzy Bone, of the group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. “And pretty cool that I got to hang with the big boys.”
The Iron Man 3 costar’s next project is another bachelor comedy: Joshy, having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as something for the younger generation, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, based on the 2011 novel by James Patterson.
“As I’ve gotten older and possibly dumber, I try to do different stuff,” says the married father of two. “I also wanted to do something that my kids might be able to see. Not a film with a hard R.”
While in town, Pally got to experience Miami’s varied culinary offerings — “the best Cubano sandwich ever” at a hole in the wall and an “awesome” meal at Quality Meats.
“I’m pretty much Anthony Bourdain right now,” Pally quips. “I’d take over for him in a second. Now that’s a great job.”