Seth Rogen talks Funny People

We talk to the star of Judd Apatow's comedy, out this week on DVD

by | January 3, 2010 | Comments

You are looking fantastic — you’ve lost a lot of weight. How did you do it?

Seth Rogen: Thank You. I had a trainer and I dieted. It was that easy — it drives my girlfriend crazy.

They make quite a joke of your new slimmer build in the film. Was that based on real life?

Seth Rogen: Yeah people make fun of what I’m eating because they can tell I hate it. They know I am not happy eating healthy food. I look miserable — I look like I would rather be eating something else.

Was there any concern that people might look at you differently?

Seth Rogen: For me it’s like a movie to movie thing. Its like your doing a movie — you should probably lose some weight. This was done for Green Hornet and the filming was pushed back a bit. I was always supposed to film Funny People before Green Hornet so it was a mad dash to lose the weight before Funny People, because I couldn’t be losing weight throughout the film.

So you are also Executive Producer on this film. What did that involve?

Seth Rogen: On The 40 Year Old Virgin I was co producer and on Knocked Up I was also Executive Producer. I’m officially there to help him out throughout the pre-production process. It means I go to the rehearsals for the other actors which most actors would not do but as Executive Producer I do that and later I am involved in the conversation about those rehearsals. In this movie Judd had a very clear view of what he wanted to do. He usually finds it more along the way but this one he as very clear what he wanted out of it, so it made my job a lot easier.

Is your character based on Judd’s earlier career?

Seth Rogen: I didn’t know Judd when he was young so it’s kind of what I would imagine Judd would have been when he was young. Judd and I are very different — we don’t act anything alike. We are friends and we work together well but we are not very similar people. I knew the guy he wanted in the movie was supposed to be naïve and wide eyed and who would take a lot from other people but still could be a little sneaky. I think I am much more cynical and I put up walls much more than the character he wanted me to be. To be the sort of person that would take that much crap from someone I needed to be a very different person than what I am. If it was me I probably would have punched him in the face 20 minutes into the movie

That’s what was interesting — he seems to be a guy who would always do the right thing and yet he doesn’t hesitate to stabs his friend in the back.

Seth Rogen: That’s what makes them interesting characters. As a writer it’s bold to do something like that. It’s contradictory because people could say it doesn’t make sense — but it does make sense — the character is doing something complicated. That’s why I really like it.

Do you feel that being in the business you have to learn to play the game even if it’s against your nature?

Seth Rogen: What I relate a lot to in the movie is how much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice in order to become success? Are you willing to stop hanging out with your friends — are you going to become a jerk?

So what is your conclusion personally?

Seth Rogen: No I don’t think so. I think if you want to become the most successful person maybe you have to, but then I look at Adam who is unbelievably successful and he is really nice and seems happy and has a family and kids but generally when I see very rich people I generally assume they are evil. (laughs).

You started stand up at 13. How did you get your first break?

Seth Rogen: They have workshops run out of comedy clubs put on by comics and you learn the basic constructs of joke writing. Then you get up on stage and tell your jokes and that was basically what happened and it was held out of a lesbian bar in Vancouver. It went pretty well and there were some other comics that invited me to do something else, and then slowly you meet the comics and you get more work.

13 is pretty young to be hanging out with seasoned comics, isn’t it?

Seth Rogen: I thought it was hilarious. That’s probably why I have a pretty sick sense of humour now. I still had my friends. It’s not like I only hung out with comedians. I would be there a few nights at week.

What was it like doing stand up for this movie?

Seth Rogen: Judd made us do stand up for months leading up to the movie. It was very helpful in selecting the jokes — for every scene you see me telling a joke, we filmed an entire routine of about 20 minutes. Every moment in the movie may seem random and off the cuff but it is all very meticulously selected.

But you had to write them in character?

Seth Rogen: Obviously I couldn’t write jokes about sleeping on a pull out couch or not having money and I have a girlfriend. I had to write jokes from the point of view of an insecure single struggling guy that has no money. It’s a lot more pathetic than I am, so that was hard, but at the same time I couldn’t go onstage and would have to explain that these jokes are not about me.

Did you think of any other movie references when you were making this?

Seth Rogen: There were a lot of movies we talked about and tried to combine them. We did talk about Lenny because we felt it captured the stand up comedy world really well, and it felt real. We also talked about movies like Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News — those life changing movies, because it was going to be a mix of those.

Did you feel that this was a grown up movie for Judd?

Seth Rogen: I guess. I think it’s a much more complicated movie. I don’t know if it’s because it’s about terminal illness. There are a lot of stories. The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are pretty simple stories. This one is tracking many ideas and it’s a much more ambitious movie.

How did you build your relationship with Adam Sandler for the movie?

Seth Rogen: We didn’t really hang out but we rehearsed for a few weeks. Luckily in real life Adam is someone I idolized my entire life growing up and I’m in awe of and nervous around so we didn’t need to work on that dynamic. Obviously he is way meaner to me in the movie than he is in real life but that’s easy to fake. We didn’t need to work that hard on it because the dynamic was already there.

Tag Cloud

Marvel Avengers Emmys Brie Larson latino festivals Action Pride Month Musicals Marathons Polls and Games diversity Election hispanic Freeform USA Network ITV cartoon Sundance TV Family psychological thriller book Character Guide what to watch Certified Fresh robots Ghostbusters Rom-Com Country foreign El Rey BET technology Red Carpet dogs children's TV PaleyFest Film Festival Nickelodeon The Arrangement crime MCU SDCC Winners movies disaster FOX Podcast A24 Best and Worst CBS casting Ovation historical drama teaser TruTV ghosts E3 Columbia Pictures Crunchyroll indie 20th Century Fox E! Hallmark Christmas movies game show Biopics golden globes comiccon LGBT Valentine's Day Fall TV batman psycho TLC Amazon Prime Video Toys Box Office Infographic The CW Year in Review screenings 2018 cooking video RT History movie mockumentary President USA Television Academy TCA Winter 2020 romance Countdown Fantasy 2019 cops TCM YouTube Premium Cartoon Network Crackle Music supernatural Arrowverse spinoff 24 frames Women's History Month Holidays crossover sitcom 2015 2017 Netflix Christmas movies WGN Marvel Studios Thanksgiving Lifetime Christmas movies biography FXX Teen TCA 2017 television Oscars series Musical Rocketman Classic Film YouTube zombies Stephen King sports Spike canceled TV shows renewed TV shows zero dark thirty NYCC composers Vudu Sundance Now anthology GIFs Disney ABC Family X-Men Lucasfilm TNT travel Animation Awards Tour Writers Guild of America Creative Arts Emmys Rock spider-man Reality The Witch war richard e. Grant kids Discovery Channel Quiz award winner romantic comedy DirecTV screen actors guild streaming finale HBO comic LGBTQ Film Mindy Kaling Reality Competition versus boxoffice documentary 2016 DC Comics FX GoT discovery Nominations Photos cancelled political drama DGA TV Land Comedy DC streaming service Peacock APB Academy Awards Martial Arts Premiere Dates Cosplay cults Kids & Family BBC Apple TV+ quibi dc Amazon Studios Spring TV Anna Paquin Rocky Superheroe Sci-Fi Chilling Adventures of Sabrina natural history spain Paramount Network name the review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt rotten movies we love IFC werewolf canceled First Look Chernobyl singing competition Ellie Kemper animated Warner Bros. zombie Spectrum Originals Horror Elton John Acorn TV social media VH1 Mary Poppins Returns comics based on movie CW Seed breaking bad Dark Horse Comics Mary Tyler Moore Turner nature south america Universal spanish language Super Bowl Shudder Nat Geo TIFF Winter TV docudrama tv talk Video Games miniseries blaxploitation 21st Century Fox Christmas Disney Plus ABC WarnerMedia revenge ESPN Esquire Fox News Schedule dragons Sneak Peek ratings dramedy Superheroes Grammys Logo directors Starz 007 serial killer Song of Ice and Fire elevated horror Black Mirror History 2020 Apple TV Plus witnail halloween Emmy Nominations Sony Pictures Lionsgate Star Wars Mary poppins aliens Awards Paramount MSNBC SXSW Trailer cancelled TV shows Mystery Tubi Pirates Trophy Talk Tarantino joker theme song Amazon Prime Cannes American Society of Cinematographers anime MTV National Geographic YouTube Red The Walking Dead hist TV thriller Trivia Epix sequel independent Showtime PBS Syfy Captain marvel Calendar doctor who Hallmark dceu Pixar Apple Marvel Television Disney+ Disney Plus VICE New York Comic Con NBC HBO Max binge Holiday BBC America Walt Disney Pictures green book crime drama adaptation blockbuster Bravo cats reboot Comic Book period drama stand-up comedy CMT jamie lee curtis medical drama TBS Netflix Food Network Opinion First Reviews Extras politics game of thrones Sundance RT21 space A&E CNN DC Universe Set visit science fiction Baby Yoda Binge Guide See It Skip It unscripted The Purge Heroines christmas movies Masterpiece Adult Swim Disney streaming service adventure OWN crime thriller 45 Pet Sematary cancelled television OneApp IFC Films mutant justice league TCA cancelled TV series Mudbound Drama Lifetime Shondaland AMC San Diego Comic-Con Comedy Central police drama true crime Pop Tomatazos Comics on TV Watching Series 71st Emmy Awards SundanceTV cinemax Hulu Endgame strong female leads spy thriller GLAAD Britbox harry potter TV renewals free movies slashers sag awards Star Trek Turner Classic Movies Interview talk show Disney Channel YA Western vampires transformers Amazon cars toy story Tumblr CBS All Access Summer facebook