Producers Evan Goldberg and James Weaver Talk Seth Rogen/Kevin Hart Comedy BLACK AND WHITE, Tackling Racism in a Period Setting, and More

     May 8, 2014


Director Nicholas Stoller’s latest film, Neighbors, opens in theaters this weekend, and while tackling the divide between a fraternity and their thirtysomething neighbors certainly provides plenty of comedic material, Stoller’s planned next film offers a unique avenue to explore.  Tentatively titled Black and White, the comedy would star Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart as the first white cop/black cop pairing in history, with the story taking place in the 1940s.

We previously spoke with Stoller about the film and he was very enthusiastic about the prospect of it being his next feature, and when Steve recently sat down with producers Evan Goldberg and James Weaver in anticipation of Neighbors, the duo also discussed Black and White.  Goldberg noted that the setting and premise gives them “a free pass to be racist”, as they’re able to tackle race-centered jokes because the film is about how terrible racism is.  Goldberg also talked about how he thinks the theater-going experience is more important for the comedy genre than big-scale epics, and teased a possible role for Jason Mantzoukas in Black and White.  Hit the jump to read on.

black-and-white-movie-kevin-hartWhile speaking about Black and White, Goldberg talked about how the film is likely to push boundaries as the premise gives them a unique opportunity to tackle jokes that would normally be off limits:

“The genius behind that movie, which is an idea Rodney Rothman had and he’s writing, is that he’s created this world—it’s about the first black/white cop team-up in the 1940s—and it’s like a free pass to be racist because it’s a comment on how racism is bad.  So we’ve created this world where we can do all the funniest racist jokes ever because the base moral is that racism is terrible.”

Goldberg also revealed that, in this current iteration of the script, the film will involve famous musicians as characters:

“[Rothman’s] created this insane world and, like The Interview, there are real characters.  Miles Davis is a character.  Actual jazz musicians are characters and we hope to get talented musicians and hip-hop stars.”

black-and-white-nicholas-stollerAs the script is still evolving, Goldberg said they recently came up with an idea of how The League actor Jason Mantzoukas could fit into the film:

“We also found out, he’s not black but Jason Mantzoukas is a trained jazz drummer.  We were chatting last night that it could be funny like they let him be part of the black circle but they don’t like Seth as much.  It’s like, ‘Oh he’s not black.  He’s not white, but he’s not black.  He can play jazz.’”

Weaver touched upon the idea that cinema is dead by pointing out that outlandish comedies are doing really well at the box office, and Goldberg chimed in with his thoughts on the cinema vs. stay-at-home debate:

“I believe it was Spielberg and Lucas who said, ‘Now only giant epics are gonna be shown in cinemas.’  I just took Seth’s hand-me-down TV ‘cause he got a bigger one—which is how I’ve lived a lot of my life, getting Seth’s hand-me-downs—I got a 60-inch TV.  I’m totally okay watching The Hobbit 2 on my 60-inch TV, but when you watch a comedy alone—like I watched The Wolf of Wall Street and I loved it but it wasn’t as good to me as it was to everybody else ‘cause I was alone, just sitting there.  There’s nothing better than comedy in cinema, so I strongly disagree with Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spielberg, and I think that comedy is even better to see in the giant cinemas than these crazy, giant movies.”

Watch the full video interview below:

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For more with Goldberg and Weaver:

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