Funnyman actor Seth Rogen is taking on hosting duties for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards, being held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on February 25th. To promote the gig, he spoke to members of the press about why he thought it seemed like a fun thing to do.
During the interview, Seth Rogen talked about being as nervous about flubbing or tipping while hosting as he is in any element of his life, that he’s been watching all of the nominated movies in preparation, the hosting advice he’s gotten from Judd Apatow, what films he responded to in 2011 (Take Shelter and Drive) and what he’s looking forward to this year (The Dark Knight Rises), the TV shows he enjoys watching (Breaking Bad, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation), and that Pineapple Express is his favorite film that he’s done. He also talked about how his directorial debut, The Apocalypse, is coming along, that he’d like to do a Kung Fu Panda 3, that he doesn’t know if there will ever be a Pineapple Express 2, and that he doesn’t think there’s any chance of there ever being a Freaks and Geeks movie. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
SETH ROGEN: I guess I’m as worried that I’m going to trip and do something stupid, as I am in any element of my life, which is a pretty constant level of concern with me. But, it’s no more than usual.
If this is successful for you, do you want to go on to hosting bigger award shows?
ROGEN: I find that insulting because, to me, this is the holy grail of hosting gigs. That’s not true. Honestly, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I probably put much less thought into it than most people would assume I did. It was not a part of some grand, calculated scheme to one day replace Ryan Seacrest.
What preparation have you done, to go into this hosting gig?
ROGEN: I’ve been exercising a lot. I became vegan. No. I’ve been drinking nothing but juice. I don’t know. I just watched the movies. That’s pretty much it. That’s the only preparation I could do, really. And I’ve been sitting with my friends, who are writers, trying to write jokes. That’s pretty much it. It’s not as complicated as it looks.
Is there a movie that you’re having the most fun poking fun at?
ROGEN: It’s so easy, and the answer is Shame. There’s no way around it. And “poking” is the exact right word.
Have you gotten any hosting advice from any friends or industry people?
ROGEN: Judd Apatow said I should just try to be myself. That was his advice, which I took.
ROGEN: I don’t know. It always seems crazy to tell people what to expect. Has that ever worked out well? That never works! So, I don’t know what to say, other than that they can expect me, however you interpret that. I hope it’s funny. That’s all I can say. They should expect an award show. Awards will be handed out to the winners, none to the losers. If it’s 50/50, then I may steal one and leave. I don’t want to set anyone’s expectations too far in any direction. The truth is that we don’t know what we’re fully doing yet.
Have you gotten any advice from James Franco, about what to do when hosting an award show?
ROGEN: Just, “Don’t host the Oscars.”
50/50 received nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards, but how do you feel about the Oscar snub of the film?
ROGEN: I don’t know. Overall, I feel like there are very few moments when the Oscars’ tastes intersects directly with my taste. I don’t consider it a snub, to be honest. That implies that I assumed it was going to happen. No, I work under the assumption that, generally speaking, my taste and the taste of the Oscar voters are not one in the same. Maybe the sequel will get nominated.
How is The Apocalypse coming along?
ROGEN: It actually seems like it might happen, so that’s really exciting for us. Studios don’t greenlight movies anymore. They just slowly let you realize that you’re making it. But, if they still did greenlight movies, we would probably be greenlit right now.
Is it still going to be called The Apocalypse?
ROGEN: I actually just heard that Fox owns that title, so I don’t know if we can use it anymore. So, if we end up with a shitty title, you can blame Fox.
Do you think there will ever be a Pineapple Express 2?
Were you a fan of award shows, growing up?
ROGEN: I actually was, honestly. I remember, when I was a little kid, I used to say, “I would rather host the Oscars than win an Oscar.” To me, that seemed like the more appealing, fun gig. I don’t know if that’s still true, but it shows my mentality. To me, that was the fun part. That was when Billy Crystal was really on fire with it, and it just seemed like the tonal sensibilities of the country were perfectly aligning with what he was doing, which was perfectly complimenting whatever movies were nominated. That song he sang about Scent of a Woman is still stuck in my head. I definitely grew up watching that stuff. And then, when I started actually making movies, I completely lost interest in it.
Is Kung Fu Panda 3 going to happen?
ROGEN: I have no idea! That’s a good question. I would like it to, but I don’t know for sure.
Being a part of the indie film community, how was Sundance for you, this year?
ROGEN: Oh, it was amazing! I was honestly mostly there as a +1, for the most part. My wife (actress/writer/producer Lauren Miller) was really the reason we were there, honestly. But, to be able to observe a tiny movie (For a Good Time, Call . . .) go from being conceived to made for no money to getting into Sundance to selling at Sundance was unbelievable. It was truly an amazing experience. I’m in her movie for two seconds, but it was mostly just something to watch. And it really actually made me think that [it can happen]. Sometimes you get disillusioned with the independent filmmaking process, in some regards, and people complain about Sundance being over-commercialized and stuff like that, but seeing something like that happen was really inspirational to me. I’m sure it was less inspirational to the people whose movies didn’t sell.
With hosting essentially just being stand-up, when was the last time you actually went out to a club and did some stand-up?
ROGEN: Probably while we were preparing for Funny People, so that must have been almost four years ago, at this point. That was the last time I actually did stand-up in a nightclub. I’ve hosted little things and presented little things at charity events since then, and that definitely has a stand-up feel to it. But, the last time I was in a club was probably in preparation for Funny People.
Is that something you feel like you’ve moved on from, or do you see yourself doing it again sometime?
ROGEN: No, I don’t think so. I remember, when I was an up-and-coming comic, how annoyed I would be when the famous guys would show up and just take everyone’s spots. On top of that, I’m just not that good at it. When there are guys like Louie C.K. out there, there’s no reason for me to be doing stand-up comedy. I don’t make the best movies in the world, but at times, I do feel like I’m adding something to the cinematic community. I don’t feel like I’m adding anything to the stand-up community.
With so much hype around The Artist, what are your thoughts about the film just winning so much this award season?
ROGEN: I actually haven’t watched it yet. It’s one of the ones on my list. I have to watch it before the award show next weekend. It’s not surprising that a black and white silent film is getting a lot of artistic acclaim, I guess. If I was to write a joke in a movie, that’s what it would be.
ROGEN: Take Shelter was awesome. I think there are a few movies like that. I’m not the most in-tune guy with what is getting nominated and winning these awards, in general. I’m not on the awards blogs, generally speaking. On the grand scale, I’m not awards savvy. I honestly don’t know which of these movies have been nominated or won other awards, and shit like that. I just know which ones I thought were awesome, and I’ll probably make that clear while I’m hosting.
Is there anything that you feel should have been nominated that wasn’t?
ROGEN: I honestly thought Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was one of the best movies of the year. It got no love from awards, whatsoever. I loved that fucking movie! It was great! And, I thought Drive was awesome too. That got nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, but didn’t get any Oscar nominations. I thought that movie was awesome!
What did you like about both Take Shelter and Drive?
ROGEN: I’m just a huge Michael Shannon fan, so that’s what attracted me to Take Shelter. And I like apocalyptic-themed movies. That got me into it. I knew it was one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, and it was awesome. With Drive, I like action movies and I like violent movies, and I also like movies with Ryan Gosling not talking for hours on end. Those things drew me to that movie.
ROGEN: Yeah, I watch a lot of TV. I love nothing more than having a good TV show on DVD, to just plow through. I just watched all four seasons of Breaking Bad, in a matter of weeks, with my wife. I love that! To me, that’s awesome. And, I watch shows that are on. I watch 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. I watch The Soup. I watch comedies that are on television. I think Breaking Bad will start to give me bad dream, eventually.
Do you actually go to a theater to watch some movies, or do you watch screeners of everything?
ROGEN: No, I go to the theater, all the time. I’m not one of these secret movie, watch a 35mm print in my living the weekend it comes out guys. I’m not Jon Bon Jovi. I go to the Arclight, like a regular asshole.
Are you anticipating any of the movies that are coming out this year?
ROGEN: Yeah, a lot! I just saw Chronicle, which I was really looking forward to, and I thought it was fucking awesome! I’m excited for the Batman movie (The Dark Knight Rises). I’m excited for The Avengers, but it seems like it might be too much of a good thing. But, I’ll definitely go see it, 100%. Joss Whedon has not ever horribly failed me, so that could be good. Jeremy Renner looks a little goofy in the costume. That, I will say.
ROGEN: I’m going to go crazy. It’s more about what I’m going to do when we don’t win any awards. I’ll be happy, if we win. It’s nice to win an award, I would assume. I’ve never won one, but I would imagine it’s great. I have no idea what I’ll do. The good news is that, since I’m hosting, I get to read my acceptance speech, whether we win or not. I’ll just read it before the award is even announced.
What’s more nerve-wracking, hosting or finding out if you’ll win?
ROGEN: I would say probably hosting. It’s much more painful to bomb in front of a group of yours peers than it is to not win. Tons of assholes ain’t winning awards, but only one guy will be bombing. So, that’s much more nerve-wracking.
If there was one award out there that you could have, what would you want it to be?
ROGEN: I’ve already won the one award that I would want to win, and I won it twice, and that is High Times magazine’s Stoner of the Year. I actually lost the title to James Franco eventually, but I think I get a point for the assist on that one.
Would you like to do more drama, in the future?
ROGEN: I did a movie (Take This Waltz) with Michelle Williams that Sarah Polley directed, that was definitely more dramatic, and I enjoyed it. I don’t know. I like all types of movies, but I don’t plan ahead that much. I just see what idea is entertaining to me, at the moment that it’s time for me to think of the next movie to do.
Were you surprised that Jonah Hill got an Oscar nomination, or did you always know that was a possibility for him?
ROGEN: All my friends are talented enough to get nominated for awards. I just am always surprised when things and people I like are also liked by things like the Oscars. [James] Franco got nominated last year. Jay Baruchel is one of my best friends, and he’s in Million Dollar Baby. I remember us being stoned off our asses, watching the Oscars in my tiny, shithole apartment, and Clint Eastwood won and thanked Jay, who was sitting right next to me, in his underwear, on my couch. That was the first moment I realized that the people who do these Oscars are actually aware of these guys I’m friends with and it could break through, in some way. It’s awesome when it happens, but it’s always surprising to me, to be totally honest. It’s not because I don’t think they’re skilled or talented. It’s just because I always view my taste as more on the outside of what I assume those people’s tastes are. I should say that I’m an Oscar voter, so I am literally one of these people.
Do you think there is ever a chance of a Freaks and Geeks movie happening?
ROGEN: I don’t know. I just don’t even know if they could legally actually do that. It’s not something anyone has ever actually seriously talked about. It would be funny if they did. They don’t usually make movies out of TV shows that nobody watched for free. I think they figure, if no one watched it for free, the odds that people are going to pay $15 to leave their house to go see it is probably pretty slim. Maybe one day. They made a Firefly movie, but it probably didn’t do well enough to ever justify making a movie out of a failed TV show again.
ROGEN: Pineapple Express is our favorite movie, and we didn’t expect it to get any more critical response than it got. Me and (co-writer) Evan [Goldberg] talk about it all the time, just because I can’t believe they let us make that movie.
For The Apocalypse, you’re stepping into the director’s realm. How did that come about?
ROGEN: Over the years, we’ve become more and more creatively involved in the movies. We’ve been executive producers on our movies for years. We’ve been producers now on a couple. When I look at the movies we’ve written, I’m really thrilled that they’ve been directed by the people who directed them, and I think they’ve added a lot to them. It’s going to be really interesting to try to execute our own script for once, and see how that goes. I think that’s more what it is. We were like, “Well, we always write these and give them to someone else to do. Maybe we should just try to do it.” That’s how it came up. We’re the writers, producers, directors, and I’m one of the main actors in the movie. It’s going to be the first time we are almost completely in control of the product.
The 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be televised February 25th at 10pm ET/PT on IFC.