NEW YORK (AP) — Adventure. Suspense. True Love. Royalties!
Those are just a few of the things Mike and Dave Stangle promised in a Craigslist ad they posted in search of dates for a cousin's wedding in 2013. The royalties part — assuring prospects they would refuse Ashton Kutcher for either of their characters — was just in case "our night's story is developed into a romantic comedy."
Fast forward to "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," which opens Friday, July's boozy, degenerate Hollywood take on what transpired after the ad went viral and the two parlayed a slew of crazy dates into book and movie deals.
Oh, and forget Kutcher. Zac Efron and Adam Devine got the parts, along with Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza as a couple of skanks masquerading as classy for the big wedding of a sister in the film rather than a cousin.
"People don't believe that it's completely ironic we put a line about it becoming a movie in there, but it really is," Dave said in a recent interview. "We didn't even know how to get something to go viral. It was sort of before either of us really knew what viral was."
A lot has stayed the same for the two, who grew up near Albany but went on their dating rampage in New York City, where they were living that crazy summer. They've still got regular jobs, for instance. Dave, at 31 the older bro, pushes pet-themed products for a box delivery service and Mike, 27, is a bartender in Brooklyn because, health insurance.
But some things have indelibly changed. For starters, when they visited the movie set in Hawaii to hang out and shoot cameo roles, Kendrick yelled at them to whip out their you-know-whats.
"She did. I think she pantomimed," said Mike.
Dave deadpanned: "I was like, do we have to? I'll do it if I have to. I didn't."
Mike: "She was going full method into her character."
Dave: "I was, like, you don't want to see this. It's not good."
And so it goes as the brothers help promote the film and try to figure out their next move, which — they say — hopefully will involve more writing.
"We've really just held on for the ride and enjoyed every part of it from the same seats we were in before it happened," Mike said of their viral-turned-Hollywood riches. He added: "We have to kind of remind ourselves that it's a dumb-luck crazy thing."
Crazy, indeed, as they so chronicled in their wry but oddly touching book that takes on details of their dating escapades and other adventures, offering their parents props for putting up with them.
The movie takes license, they said, but gets some key stuff right.
"The family dynamics and the characters are very true and representative of us, and that's really all we wanted," Dave said. "They've included enough of our stuff that we kind of deferred to them on what's going to make the movie great, and they did it."
So how many dates did they actually go on in those heady weeks after the internet took hold? Reports at the time estimated up to 800, mostly as doubles. The brothers counted about 20 in the first 21 days or so as they went from seeking out merely crazy companions to the truly insane. Once word spread, the women were well aware of their prospective place in viral history.
"Neither of us were big daters before this," Dave said. "And now we were, like, well we have this opportunity to go on a lot of dates. We probably should."
Mike: "And double dates with your brother is a different story. ... Everyone you got was crazy at that point."
Dave: "It was much different than like dating, dating. ... I love feeling used. It was cool."
There was the girl who jumped off a second-story balcony. Another was a biter.
"I feel like there were a lot of injuries, physical injuries," Mike said.
Dave: "Yeah, mostly to us."
So how did the actual wedding go? They decided against bringing the crazy, unlike their movie selves.
"A lot of them thought it was a competition and so they would just do like really over-the-top things to try to convince us," Dave recalled. "And we were, like, this isn't really a competition, it's just something that turned into something crazy, and that in the end was a little bit what spooked us about bringing really crazy girls to the wedding."
The bride, they said, was grateful.
"She deserves a lot of credit," Dave said. "She was very patient about it all."
Mike: "We didn't really bring any of it with us to the actual wedding. We were very cognizant of that, you know. You don't want to ruin your cousin's wedding and turn it into a circus."
Associated Press writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.