Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Seth Rogen

The Zack and Miri star reveals his movie list.

by | October 29, 2008 | Comments

Seth RogenAfter a steady ascension to leading man status through cult TV work
(Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared) and supporting roles (Anchorman, The 40 Year
Old Virgin
), Seth Rogen fulfils another Hollywood dream this week:
headlining a Kevin Smith movie, reported to have been Rogen’s goal when
starting out in L.A. He stars in Smith’s
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
with Elizabeth Banks as one of two roommates who embark on a porno shoot to
pay off debts, while slowly realizing the possibility they could be more
than just friends, roommates, and on-screen amateurs.RT spoke to Rogen for his five favorite films ever (click
here for Monday’s
Five Favorites article with Kevin Smith), and followed up with an interview
about Zack and Miri, opening this Friday.

The Big Lebowski (1998,
77% Tomatometer)

The Big Lebowski
amazing. It’s hilarious. I can watch it over and over. Unbelievably funny.

Ghostbusters (1984,
93% Tomatometer)


That was just good ol’ high-concept fun. Evan and I always like to take
ridiculous situations and handle them as though they were real. That’s kind of
where the idea of Pineapple Express came from. These ridiculous action movie
situations and you handle it just how two idiots would handle it. And that’s
kind of what Ghostbusters did. It’s a ridiculous concept but it was handled very
much, “How would four dudes do that, you know?” And it’s great. I love that

The Last Detail (1974,
91% Tomatometer)

The Last Detail

I saw that more recently in life. Hal Ashby shoots very simply. He kind of takes
a step back and shoots stuff as it happens. Things are never about the shot,
you know? It’s always about the joke. It’s never about how the camera moves.
That’s a very interesting style.

Superbad is very
Last Detail-ish. We wrote Superbad before we saw Last Detail, but after we saw
it, it helped clarify what we were going for, I think.

Total Recall
(1990, 79% Tomatometer)

Total Recall

Total Recall‘s just f–king rad. And super violent. That movie is a good
indicator that you can take things much farther than you think you could.
[Laughs.] And they will strike a chord with the mainstream, I think. That movie
goes really far. It’s pretty crazy. I love Paul Verhoeven. He’s the man.

Goodfellas (1990 96% Tomatometer)


I just love that movie. It’s a rad
movie. It’s beautiful.

Our interview with
Seth Rogen continues as we discuss his upcoming projects, including The Green
and Judd Apatow’s Funny People.

Freaks and Geeks is now a show that means a lot to people. When fans
talk to you, do you feel like you’re required to be knowledgeable about the
show, Star Trek-style?

SR: I’m not that familiar with some of the episodes
because I’m not in all of them. [Laughs.] I actually have not seen the ones I’m
not in as many times as the [ones I am in]. But, no, [the fans] are nice, and I
know it pretty well. I feel that I don’t disappoint those people too much.

So among your upcoming projects is writing a Simpsons episode.


Yeah, we did it.

When is it airing?

SR: I don’t know. It takes a while to
animate them. It was the greatest thing we ever did. It was the smartest idea we
ever had, trying to do that. The greatest day of my life.

And you also voiced a character?

SR: Yeah. You do it all together, which is amazing. The
whole cast is in one room. So it’s me and Homer…you’re talking to Dan

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

Considering animated films now record everything
separately, it surprises me The Simpsons still records in a single room.

SR: Surprised me too. I can’t believe they
do it like that. I haven’t even met half the people [I co-star with] in
[animated] films.

And [the episode] is really funny. I think. I hope. I hope it’s a good one. The
fact that we came up with an idea at all that they hadn’t done before was
shocking. And I just got the script in the mail signed by the whole cast and I’m
all, “This is the f–king best thing we ever did.”

Before you came on board for The Green Hornet, Kevin Smith was attached
to the project. Did you discuss your versions during the Zack and Miri shoot?

SR: Yeah, I asked him what his version was. I told him what we were
doing. It seems that we have totally different takes. They’re totally different
movies. I had no idea that he was ever involved with it when we first came on.
It’s funny. Funny how things work out. But it’s happened before. I’ve been fired
from movies that my friends are later hired on. Everyone knows each other. It’s
bound to happen. [Laughs.]

Right now you’re filming Funny People, rumored to
be more dramatic than comedic?

SR: I don’t know if I’d say it’s more
drama than comedy. I’d say [there’s] more drama than our movies generally have.
But it’s still played pretty funny. I feel just the nature of having Adam
Sandler in every scene is [making] it funny. But it definitely is about
something more serious, in that it deals with death in a lot of ways. It’s a
really interesting tone. Normally, our movies balance sweet storyline with the
dirty jokes, but this one seems to balance more dark, depressing storyline with
the dirty jokes.


Craig Robinson and Seth Rogen.

With the dramatic elements in Freaks and Geeks and
Knocked Up, is Funny People not actually that big of a leap anyways?

SR: I do feel like I’ve done quite a bit
of drama. [The upcoming film] Observe and Report also has a lot of very dramatic stuff in it, so
that was good preparation. I think it’s actually easier to do drama to be
honest. Like, because, you just…you just don’t have to try to be funny.
[Laughs.] For me to act natural and real but also try to be funny while doing
that [is hard].

Why was The Green Hornet the project that convinced
you to work out? Had it ever come up before with any other roles that you should
get into shape?

SR: No, it never had. [Laughs.] No, it
just never came up really. [Laughs.] I honestly think it serves the movie more.
I don’t need to be in incredible shape for it. But it’s definitely served by [a
hero] who’s into his image, a guy who’s a little more physical attentive than
some of my other characters. A guy who physically who just has to do a lot of

When was it known that Stephen Chow was going to
direct in addition to co-starring?

SR: It was simultaneous. We sent him the
script. We said, “The world is yours. Tell us what you want your involvement to
be, and that’s what it’ll be.” He wrote back that he wanted to direct it and be
Kato. And that was it.

Was Chow familiar with your work when you sent him
the script?

SR: I think maybe he was familiar with
The Green Hornet. And then he heard that a comedian was involved in it. I think
he had heard of our movies but I don’t know if he had seen them. He has seen
them all now, and he’s liked them. Enough to read the script, I guess. And we
got along really well.

And vice-versa: how familiar were you with Chow’s

SR: I remember when Shaolin Soccer came
out. I saw Kung Fu Hustle and that was the first I really saw of him. And it
just blew my mind. And then I went back and watched all the other stuff, God of
and all that.


Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

How did you originally get involved with The Green

SR: You know, you tell your agent, “We
want to work on our next movie. Is there anything out there that’s interesting?”
She’ll tell you one ten things and one of them’s The Green Hornet. “Oh,
[producer] Neal
Moritz has the rights to The Green Hornet. Maybe you can pitch an idea to the
writers. Maybe you can pitch an idea if you have one.” Me and [writing
partner] Evan [Goldberg] knew of The
Green Hornet
, we liked it. I wasn’t, like, f–king crazy about it or anything.
But we’ve always wanted to write a movie about a hero and his sidekick. And we
always thought that was an interesting story. And one that’s never been told
well. It’s a funny relationship. And we thought that’d be the perfect one to do
that with. Get the one thing where the sidekick’s more famous than the hero.
Like, everyone knows Bruce Lee. We just pitched our idea. And I could be him in
this version because it’s about not really being your traditional hero. He needs
[Kato]. He can’t do it on his own.

In the new wave of superhero movies, you can’t have
a sidekick anymore.

SR: Exactly!

Do you think a superhero/sidekick movie is
inherently funny or campy?

SR: Yes. It’s impossible for that
relationship to not be slightly comedic. It just by nature is. That is why we
always wanted to make a movie about that. And our movies are all about
relationships. That’s where we always start. From Pineapple Express to Superbad,
as dumb and weird as those movies are, we always start with the relationship.
Again, yeah, we were huge comic book fans, but with this, it seemed like our way
in. It seemed like, “Ah, we get to make a comic book superhero movie, but it’s
also based on a relationship.” And that’s something we know how to make movies

And not that many people are fans of it. Which is also good. There’s very few
people to piss off. No one knows s–t about The Green Hornet.

There’s four guys on a message board who are out for blood.

SR: [Laughs.] There’s four guys who are
real pissed off about it, and f–k those guys. Who cares, you know? The fact
that anyone right now is excited about a Green Hornet movie is a miracle. Like,
it is unbelievable that we somehow got people talking about The Green Hornet.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opens in theaters this Friday.

Want more 5 Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with
Kevin Smith, Dane Cook,

Paris Hilton
, and Judd Apatow.