Though it was clear from his days on Freaks and Geeks that Seth Rogen was a comedy talent to watch, few could have predicted that he would go on to become one of the most successful comedy writers—and burgeoning directors—working today. Rogen and his longtime friend Evan Goldberg made their feature screenwriting debut with the 2007 future comedy classic Superbad and followed that up with Pineapple Express in 2008 and The Green Hornet in 2011. The two made the move to directing to enormous success with last year’s excellent This Is the End, and now they have a number of exciting projects in the works as writers, directors, and producers.
While attending SXSW in support of the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy Neighbors, which he produced, Goldberg took some time to speak with us about a few of his upcoming projects. He talked about the editing process of his and Rogen’s next directorial effort The Interview, the status of the video game project Console Wars, and also provided some insightful comments on their take on Preacher, which he and Rogen are adapting as an AMC TV series. You can watch the interview and read his full comments after the jump.
While speaking with Collider’s SXSW correspondent Perri Nemiroff at the film festival in Austin, Goldberg discussed the TV adaptation of the Garth Ennis comic Preacher, for which he says they’ll be making some structural changes but will keep the essence of the comic intact:
“We just had a meeting with AMC and Garth Ennis, who’s the writer, and we all kind of seemed to agree that we’re gonna stay as true to the comic as we can. We need to change some stuff but we’re not gonna change much, I hope. We’re just gonna do a little more of the preamble instead of doing flashbacks and restructure how we dole out the information a little, but we’re gonna [do the] same characters, same story, same ending. We’re gonna try to stick to Preacher as best we can. We’re making it with Sam Catlin who did Breaking Bad, and so he might tell me I’m wrong about all of this and that the real way to do it is different because he’s much smarter and better at all this than I am. But we’re gonna try to stick to what it is as best we can.”
Studios have been trying to get a feature film adaptation of the dark property off the ground for years, but Goldberg says a TV iteration is the best way to tell that story:
“We’re beyond excited, we’ve tried to make it for 10 years. The big difference is everyone else tried to make it a movie and it shouldn’t be a movie. It should be an AMC show, that’s the proper way for it to get done… It’s too big; you can’t do that in a movie. It’s just too big. You’ve gotta learn the characters, it’s all about a love triangle and you need to grow with them and see the woman swayed one way or the other, and in a movie you just can’t accomplish all that.”
Goldberg also discussed The Interview, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as a television personality and his producer, respectively, who travel to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-Un and get wrapped up in a CIA plot to assassinate the dictator. Goldberg and Rogen wrote and directed the pic and they’re currently in the editing process:
“We’re in the process of editing, we almost have our first three-hour cut. We watched a four hour and forty-five minute cut, which is too long. We don’t really tend to make movies over two hours, or over an hour and forty-five minutes even, so it’s gonna be a lot of work but it’s super fun.”
Goldberg spoke a bit about the plot of The Interview and how Franco’s character is a bit of a riff on Ryan Seacrest:
“It’s about a Ryan Seacrest kind of [person], except instead of mega-talented and super hardworking the guy’s a moron. It’d be kind of like if Ryan Seacrest was an idiot and had an Oprah-style talk show, and so there’s also a lot of other news shows that report on what’s happening with the Franco character in North Korea, so we’re getting into talks with different people, like we’re trying to get Chris Matthews and Bill Maher to do little bits. That was something that we didn’t know how it was going to play out until now, but I’m pretty excited to actually talk to real news people.”
Finally, news recently broke that Goldberg and Rogen have been set to write and direct an adaptation of author Blake Harris’ upcoming book Console Wars for Sony, which chronicles the battle between Sega and Nintendo to become the dominant video game console in the 1990s. Goldberg said that project is still a ways off, but they’ll get to work on it in earnest once they finish preliminary work on Preacher:
“The dudes wrote a book and we’re about to sit down and read it. The dudes did a cut of their documentary on it and we liked it and there’s gonna be some more work done on that, and then we’re gonna sit down and right it. We haven’t really dug into that one yet, we’re kind of focused on our Preacher project a little right now, and then we’re gonna tackle Console Wars once we get the outline for Preacher done.”
Here’s what Goldberg had to say on the projects. Click here to catch up on all of our SXSW coverage thus far. Neighbors hits theaters on May 9th and The Interview opens October 10th.