Seth Rogen Interview ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO

     October 28, 2008



Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub


A little over a week ago I posted some highlights of the roundtable interview I did with Seth Rogen. With his new movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno arriving in theaters this weekend, I figured you might like to read the rest of it.



For those that don’t know about the new Kevin Smith movie…



Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are facing hard times and a mountain of debt. When the electricity and plumbing get cut off, the two seize upon the idea of making a homegrown porno movie for some quick cash, enlisting the help of their friends. The two vow that having sex will not ruin their friendship. But as filming begins, what started out as a business proposition between friends turns into something much more.



As I’ve said a few times already, I dug the film and it has one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen this year…anyway, the interview below is pretty solid. Seth talks about all the various projects he’s working on and a lot more.



As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here. You can watch some movie clips from Zack and Miri by clicking here. And if you’d like to read the interviews I did with Kevin Smith or Elizabeth Banks…just click on their names.



Again, Zack and Miri gets released this weekend.






Q: How did you do it? How did you loose all the weight?



Seth Rogen: It’s the lamest answer ever. I eat well and I exercise.



Q: You are working with a trainer? It’s called the ‘Five…’



Yeah, I couldn’t do this on my own. He’s got a book. I haven’t read it. I lied to him about it. I go there. I go there real early in the morning. I’m barely awake and he tells me what to do and I go home to sleep and it’s like it never even happened.



Q: What are you missing the most?



Just eating hamburgers all the time, I miss that.



Q: Was there a weight you had to reach for the part? Was it contractual?



No, not at all. They didn’t give a shit. Honestly, they didn’t care at all. I mean, I actually see Amy Pascal, I run into her on the lot and she’s like ‘You’re too thin! You’ve gone too far! Stop it!’ But yeah, they don’t care at all.



Q: How quickly do you go back to old Seth shape?



I think it will take three hours.



Q: Is it all worth it?



Yeah, honestly I think it serves the movie, y’know? That’s the only reason I’m doing it. You need to physically believe I can run around and jump over shit and punch people. It’s all just to serve the movie.



Q: How much have you lost?



I dunno. I don’t weight myself.



Q: So, it’s really your commitment to making it a great, believable comic-book movie?



Yeah, it’s just to make it, comic book or not, it’s just a commitment to the movie. I mean it just works better that I’m a guy who is in better shape.



Q: You’re filming ‘Funny People’ – did you have to reach a certain place in weight where you had to stop?



Yeah, so, right now, I’m kind of at my ‘Funny People’ weight and we don’t shooting ‘Green Hornet’ until May so we finish ‘Funny People’ in January so I’ll have four months to transition into Green Hornet



Q: So, I’m going to go into ‘Zach and Miri’ now…



I’m thinner. I was cursed by a man in a Stephen King book. That’s what happened.



Q: Can you talk about the dynamic of working with Kevin and your process versus his?



It was great, y’know, I’m more than happy to – I have no process. I don’t give a shit. I have ways I’ve done things but I’m totally open to new things. So, I’m more than happy to hand myself over to someone and I think it’s interesting to see what they do. Judd goes into am movie and he has no idea what he wants. He knows what the scenes are about, but he doesn’t necessarily know how any of the information comes out or who says it or how it’s said or what the shots are. He doesn’t know any of that. Kevin knows exactly what the shots are and he says, ‘What?’ and you can change the jokes within that, but he basically knows how he wants the scene to go. They both have their merits. They both have things that make them so difficult. But it was really interesting to go into this totally other world and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have to think as much. That was a lot nicer. Just going in every day not having to come up with 13 hours of shit, that was nice. And it was interesting to see how someone directs who has shots planned out. That was interesting also. Yeah, I liked it a lot.



Q: Did it help to have Elizabeth there because you have worked before?



Definitely and Craig, I try to insulate myself with familiar faces. Just because I knew we were shooting in Pittsburgh, I wanted friends around. It was helpful. It was really helpful.



Q: What did you think about having your nude scene?



I was fine with it. Luckily or not, we didn’t have to go too far. I didn’t know what Kevin expected of us. I didn’t really care. I was ready for anything. I have no shame about it. It’s fine.



Q: Is there anything you won’t do?



If it’s funny, yeah, I will probably do it. If I genuinely think it’s funny, there is a good chance I’ll do it. Don’t hold me to that. (Laughs)



Q: We’ve heard this phrase, ‘Seth’s encyclopedia knowledge of porn.’ Is that an accurate statement?



Ah, I would never claim that, but if it’s bestowed on me I guess will take it.



Q: It’s fair to say you didn’t need to do a lot of research?



Exactly, yeah, I didn’t need further research.



Q: You ever have a favorite porn growing up?



That Pam Anderson sex tape was pretty rad when that came out. That was kind of like a dream come true when it happened. It was like, ‘Really? That happened? Wow! I get to see what?” That was pretty good. That was pretty rad when that happened. I was pretty psyched when that happened.



Q: Surely, you have come across an actual ‘Star Whores’?



I don’t know if there is an actual ‘Star Whores’ actually. I think if there was, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. They would have sued us.



Q: Was that scene a lot of fun to do?



It was hilarious and I was surprised they were able to do it. I guess he got permission from George Lucas or otherwise we would have been sued promptly. Yeah, I thought it was hilarious and I know so many people will masturbate to that scene in the future. So many. There will be lots of freeze frames of Katie in that outfit.



Q: I heard you were a huge fan of Kevin’s before working with him. Can you talk about that?



He was really influential on me as a writer and he just really laid the groundwork for the type of movies we make now and it was always something I would have hoped to do was work with him. It’s like one of those things. It’s amazing to me that I get to work with the people who directly influenced me. Like I’m working with Adam Sandler now, I got to work with Kevin Smith, it’s crazy.



Q: I’ve heard your new comedy ‘Observe and Report’ has turned out much differently than people would have expected. Can you talk about it?



Well, it’s the exact movie we wanted to make. It’s a super dark comedy. It’s really dark. It’s like ‘Taxi Driver.’ It’s like a comedic ‘Taxi Driver.’ That’s literally what we wanted to make. Jody and I sat down and we were like, ‘We want to make a comedic ‘Taxi Driver.’ If martin Scorsese put me in a movie and wanted it to be kind of funny, but still very dark.’ And that’s exactly what it is and I love it. I think as a film fan I watch it and go, ‘How in the hell did we get away with this?’ It is fuckin’ crazy. It is by far the most edgy movie I’ve been in. The most balls to the walls and most unabashed movie I’ve been in. But I love it. I could watch it over and over and over again.



Q: My friend who saw a test screening said he saw things in that film that have never been done in film history.



I think so! We really push it and it’s my pleasure. Y’know? In comedy I think it’s always important to push the envelope in some ways and Jody I was always such a big fan of and I’m just glad he got to make that movie the way he wanted to make it and I’m glad I’m in it. I don’t think it’ll get neutered throughout the process of it getting released. I feel like it’s so far in the direction that it is you’d have to take some major work to take it out of that direction. So, I feel good about it. And I’m excited for the world to see it.



Q: For years, Stephen Chow has dismissed attempts to make movies in America. What did you say to him to get him to come stateside and make ‘The Green Hornet’?



We gave him the goods man. Um, I don’t know. We didn’t know that. We had no idea if he had been approached by anyone. We had just heard he was very hard to get in contact with. But, we sent him the script and heard he wanted to do it. It was as simple as that.



Q: No personal phone call or anything like that?



Nope. Nothing like that. Literally sent him the script and then we heard he was coming. He’s in hotel right now somewhere.



Q: I think you said you hope he doesn’t realize you’re not the Wachowski’s.



Yeah, he’s a big fan of them. He’s a great guy. He’s really funny. And we’re just thrilled Every time we’re in a room with him we’re like ‘How the fuck did this happen? We got him! We actually got him!’ It’s really exciting and it’s exciting because a lot of people want to work with him so as we hire our production designer and cinematographers were getting to choose from very good people because, and we didn’t know this, apparently it’s as exciting to everyone else as it was to us that Stephen is making a movie in America. So, it’s great. We’re amazed and thrilled that we ultimately might be the thing that brought him to America and his first American movie is also our movie. Honestly, it’s more exciting that I’m in a Stephen Chow than the ‘Green Hornet’ even.



Q: What can you tell us about ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’?



Oh, it’s so awesome. I don’t know if you saw that illegal trailer that leaked online. Did you? It’s really rad. You can watch it somewhere. I think they are releasing a trailer for it on the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ DVD which comes out in a few days. And it’s amazing. It’s really awesome. It’s kind of more adult oriented like ‘The Incredibles’ and it’s blown my mind what I’ve seen. It’s really, really funny.



Q: What kind of voice do you do? What’s the character like?



I play a blob. We’re monsters and I play Bob, he’s called, and he’s a gelatinous blob with no brain so he’s stupid. It’s a very funny character actually. It’s a great movie. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.



Q: Your own voice or?

I don’t have other voices. Have you seen me?



Q: How long have you known Elizabeth and can you talk about your friendship and your opinion of how her career is going?



Yeah, I met her on ‘The 40-Year Old Virgin’ is when I met her? It was in 2005 I guess? Maybe 2004 when we shot it? And we got along well and she’s friends with Paul Rudd and y’know those Stella guys and I kind of know those people so we’d hang out and see each other and we got along really well. She kind of has a dirty sense of humor and I always thought it was crazy she wasn’t in these kinds of movies. That she wasn’t the main girl in a romantic comedy. So as soon as Kevin said, ‘Is there anyone you can think of?’ It was like, ‘Elizabeth Banks, obviously. It’s weird that you didn’t think of that.’ So yeah, I am thrilled for her. She’s doing a lot of different stuff and I’m a big ‘Definitely Maybe’ fan. But yeah, I’m glad it’s all happening.




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Q: Your name has unofficially been attached to ‘Ghostbusters 3.’ Has anyone talked to you formally about that?



No. Not at all.



Q: Were would you fall on that?



It’s hard to imagine that would be good, isn’t it? I mean just as a movie fan I am the first guy to be skeptical of that. It sounds like a terrible idea when you first hear it. At first hearing it sounds like the worst idea ever. I dunno. Maybe. I mean, that would have to be one mutherfucking good script.



Q: But you’ve worked with Ramis before. If he was involved would it be harder to say no?



It all depends on how bad the script was. (Laughs.) There is a point where it’s so bad it’s really easy to say no. I have enough insulation around me now that I don’t have to say anything.



Q: So with all your newfound popularity, how do you keep it real?



I keep it real. I drink with my homies every night…No, dunno. I don’t do anything. I just do all the same shit I always did. Luckily, I think, I never really wanted to be famous, I just wanted to make movies. My lifestyle, I have always worked a number of hours a day and I came home and did the shit I liked doing. So, I still do that.



Q: Out of all the character’s you’ve played, who do you think will make the best Halloween costume?



I hope to see some Dale and Saul’s out there. I feel like it’s an easy costume to effect. I feel like if you have a tan suit and some Guatemalan pants and a friend then you can do that.



Q Would you ever like to write a comic book?



Yeah, me and Evan have looked into that actually.



Q: Is there a character you’ve got your eye on?



No, I’m not sure right now. We’ve talked about it, it just seems so crazy to take on more responsibility right now.



Q: One more question on Stephen Chow, did you guys have a different opinion on the direction of the project when you brought him in?



Right now is we are just beginning the conversations. I mean, we haven’t started shooting yet. But, no, we wanted his input. We gave him the script in a very early phase hoping that he’d have a lot of ideas to add to it. When we do something, I don’t know if it’s the best idea ever and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to writers, but we send our scripts out to directors at a very early step in the process. To the point where it just scares some directors off all together and they go, ‘Blugh!’ And some people get and say, ‘I get what they are going for and I have a lot o f ideas that can help build this’ And Stephen had a lot of ideas and that’s exactly what we wanted and I feel like – we want our directors to feel like it’s there movie too. We don’t want them to feel like they are just guys brought in to film what we wrote. We want them to feel like they can stand behind it also. So far we haven’t disagreed, we’re all just trying to figure out who he should be.



Q: Any chance we’ll see IMAX on ‘Hornet’ or other upcoming films?



Yeah, actually, Evan has been doing a lot of research into that lately. As far as 3D goes and IMAX stuff and different ways of shooting stuff. He’s now the resident expert on that if you see him, because he’s really been boning up on the exact price ramifications of shooting on that stuff and how much it traditionally gains you in the box office versus just how cool the filmmakers think it is to have that. So, Evan is boning on that. We’re considering it.



Q: You’re in ‘Fanboys’ which is finally coming out…



Is it? I bet you a million dollars it won’t. (Laughs.)



Q: I talked to the director on the red carpet last night and he said the Weinstein’s have a release date…



Yeah, yeah, OK.



Q: You play 5 million parts in that film and you’re really good in it…



I do. Thanks. It’s been ridiculous. I play a lot of different characters. I had a good time doing it. I made that movie — you have no concept of how long…I made that movie before I made ‘Knocked Up.’ I made that movie a really long time ago. I had a lot of fun making it. I pretty much did it because Jay Baruchel was in it and we’re really good friends and I didn’t know any of those other guys, but I went and I had a good time. They let me put on prosthetic make up and I got to play a Star Trek fan. I play a pimp in one scene. It was a lot of fun and then I don’t know what the fuck happened after that. They bumbled that one. I think it’s a good lesson in not listening to people on the Internet. I think they got scared by Internet buzz and I’m of the thought that Internet buzz is literally influenced by 500 people with laptops. And I think they let Internet buzz change it and then change it back and then make some other weird version of it. And I don’t know what the hell they are going to release. Let the filmmakers make their movies and don’t worry about early reactions are. If the people who made it like it, I would release like that. I don’t know why. To me, it has been a very mishandled project.



Q: What’s your take on the changes made to Zack and Miri to get the ‘R’ rating?



They didn’t have to change anything. Did they? But I think alternately he didn’t have to change anything to get it. I think every thrust he wanted is in there which makes me happy?



Q: Can you talk about what Judd has been like on ‘Funny People’ compared to the others?



It’s a different movie. It’s tonally a little more dramatic at times. So, that actually makes it a lot easier, so we don’t have to think of jokes all day. We’re not constantly pressuring ourselves to make it hilarious in every scene. The fact Janusz is shooting it takes off a lot of pressure. The one problem people have with our movies sometimes is that they don’t look that good. So, it’s somehow a battle of how can we improvise a lot and keep it visually interesting, but Janusz is such a genius he’s found a way of shooting with three cameras at once and it looks as beautiful as anything you’ve every seen. So, that has actually made it a lot easier and taken a lot of pressure of and it’s been a lot of fun. Working with Sandler is great. He creates a very relaxed environment. It’s actually been the most relaxed shooting experience I’ve ever had.



Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your screenplays?



My friend and my life and just kind of things that happen. Day to day stuff.



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