When the comedy troupe trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Scaffer — better known as The Lonely Island — were brainstorming ideas for their first feature film, they looked to real life for inspiration. “We’d been talking about this new genre of movie, the popumentary, if you will,” says Samberg. “It’s a glossier version of a rock documentary and all these pop bands have had them. They’re sort of like borderline propaganda from their own camp — just, like, fluffy documentaries that track their tours and lives and are really bubbly and awesome to look at and fun to watch.”
And so, Conner4Real was born. (You can check him out, in his full glory, in the trailer for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping here.) Samberg says he’s not based off of any one person — though you can surely see a little Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Macklemore in his DNA. Real life started to imitate the fictional, too. “It has definitely been trippy how many things we wrote two years ago have since happened in real life and are no longer a joke,” he says. “It’s just indicative of the big theme of the movie, which is that things happen so fast. With social media culture and everything? You can get chewed up and spit out quick.”
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That said there is one part of Conner that has more hometown roots. “We wanted a character we could fall easily into. The voice we chose is everyone we went to high school in the Bay Area,” Samberg says. “We made the character from Sacramento so it wasn’t too blatant, but the characters definitely all have a big Bay Area vibe. I’m not known as a super deft character actor,” he says with a laugh. “Doing that voice was easy.”
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping arrives in theaters June 3.