What what happen if the world was ending and you were trapped inside James Franco’s house, Emma Watson had just stolen all your food and Danny McBride wanted to eat you? Awesomeness, of course. Pedestrian had the pleasure of catching up with hilarious Canadian entertainer and owner of the most infectious laugh in Hollywood, Seth Rogen, and his childhood friend and writer-director partner in crime, Evan Goldberg, to discuss the making of their uproarious directorial debut, This Is The End, how to get Rihanna to star in your film and how we’ll know they’re just doing things for the money.
Pedestrian: Hi guys, how are you?
Evan: Great how are you?
P: Great. Welcome to Australia, have you been here before?
Seth: Evan hasn’t but I have a couple of times.
P: Have you given Evan any tips?
E: Don’t fight a kangaroo?
S: Don’t fight a kangaroo, they’ll cut your belly open. That’s what they say. And ask for no beetroot.
P: So let’s get into it. Who’s the actor who plays closest to who they actually are?
S: Probably Jay. Not now, but when he first moved to LA he was exactly like that. He hated it. He was very vocal. Her wouldn’t want to go to parties. He was a little self-righteous at the time, I think. I think of everyone he’s probably the closest to his character.
P: So is Jay himself or is he a bit of an Evan surrogate?
E: There’s a little bit of me there, too. I didn’t love moving to LA either. It’s all hot, I didn’t know anybody, it’s a confusing city and a confusing business. Most Canadians who move to LA are pretty shocked and it takes them like a year to adapt. Me and Jay probably dealt with it the least well.
S: I can agree with that.
E: But then again, we weren’t out here when you did it.
S: That’s true.
E: We missed the part where he was all upset about it.
S: That is true and people used to give me so much shit about how I would be all like, “oh in Canada we do this” or, “in Vancouver we do that.”
P: So on the flip side who plays furthest from themselves?
E: Mostly Danny [McBride] and Michael Cera. They’re really nice, sweet guys in real life and they play despicable people in the film. They’re specifically sweet and gentle people like Danny loves photography and taking pictures of flowers and he’s married with a kid. He’s never tried to kill us.
P: What was the casting process like? Had you written the parts before you secured the actors?
S: Before we wrote it we told them each, individually, that we were thinking about writing this movie where we all play ourselves and would they be open to that? And they all said “yes”. Then we wrote the movie. As far as the little cameo parts go, we went to tonnes and tonnes of people and we got almost everyone. It didn’t take much convincing. We didn’t want people who were sceptical we wanted people who were enthusiastic, which was everyone.
E: The only two people who were real stabs in the dark were Emma Watson and Rihanna and they just said “yes” like everybody else. That was just luck.
S: Yeah, We’d never even met either of them before. But literally everyone else in the movie is someone we have a personal relationship with like Kevin Hart, Jason Segel and Aziz Ansari.
P: Was there anyone else who you didn’t get at all because I read that you guys originally had written a part where Morgan Freeman played god.
E: Actually, you’re right. That’s one person who rejected us.
S: He did. Fuck you Morgan Freeman. But I think our ending is actually much better because of it.
E: But he still could have been in it.
S: Yeah, he could have been in it also. But we wouldn’t have thought of the ending we thought of if Morgan Freeman didn’t say no. So thank you Morgan Freeman. I take it back.
P: Though that sounds like an amazing ending, too. Possible on par or better…
E: Just below par.
S: Just below par. Not on par.
P: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like in that environment of having actors make fun of themselves?
S: It was great. They didn’t really care about what elements of their personality we made fun of.
E: We knew we were all coming and we were going to make fun of each other’s hard work that everyone put their heart and love into and that’s just what was going to happen.
S: It was less about themselves and more about who they were “playing” as actors. Like Franco wanted to like me and he thought that would give him something. And Jonah wanted to act really nice. But no one was like “I don’t want to make fun of Moneyball”. Everyone was totally cool with all that stuff.
P: Speaking of firing shots you guys actually fire shots at yourselves. You make Green Hornet jokes…
E: But only about the acting. No jokes about the directing.
S: And the writing was spectacular.
P: What does it take to fire shots at people. Do you have to cover your assess a bit?
S: We encouraged it, definitely. We were hoping people would do it.
E: Also, you would just mock yourself hard to start it off.
S: I would just make fun of myself and other people would kind of do it. Franco would do it then slowly, like a week into filming, everyone else was doing it. The first few days I would have to really take the lead sometimes. Franco just really dove into it, he didn’t care at all.
E: And if it went too far in any capacity the outcome would literally be the other dudes going “oh, c’mon” and then we’d stop and move on. No one was ever like, “why did you say that about Moneyball?”.
P: How did Jonah Hill become an Academy Award nominated person?
S: He just worked harder than all of us.
E: He genuinely said “I want to do this”, then he did it.
S: James Franco is an Academy Award nominated person too. There’s a couple of them in this movie.
P: Now that you’ve had the experience of directing your own screenplay, will you guys ever not direct something you’ve written?
E: Yeah I think that from now on, if we write it we’re going to direct it.
S: Unless we’re just writing it for money, which could still happen.
E: That’s only happened twice.
S: OK. If we write it and we care about it then we’ll direct it. But from now on if you see that we’ve written something and we didn’t direct it, it means that we only did it for the money.
‘This Is The End’ is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray through Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia.