Seth Rogen & Cast Interview, Pineapple ExpressPosted by: Sheila Roberts
After taking on the sex comedy in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” and redefining the coming-of-age film in “Superbad,” the filmmaking team at Apatow Productions make their first action-comedy in “Pineapple Express,” a “Midnight Run” for the stoner set about two lazy guys on the lam and their comic attempt to stay one step ahead of a band of vicious killers.
Process Server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) has a grudging business relationship with the laconic Saul Silver (James Franco), deigning to visit only to purchase Saul’s primo product – a rare new strain of pot called Pineapple Express. But when Dale becomes the only witness to a murder by a crooked cop (Rosie Perez) and the city’s most dangerous drug lord (Gary Cole), he panics and dumps the Pineapple Express at the scene. When it’s traced back to him, Dale and Saul run for their lives and they quickly discover that they’re not just suffering from weed-fueled paranoia. If they survive, these two just might become real friends.
“Pineapple Express uses comedy to say that nothing good comes from getting high,” says Judd Apatow, producer of the new action-comedy. Apatow wrote the story with Seth Rogen and Rogen’s writing partner, Evan Goldberg, and then Rogen and Goldberg wrote the screenplay. Apatow explains, “All these guys’ lives are a mess, they are going nowhere, and hopefully, almost getting murdered makes them rethink their current ways of life. I always want the movies we make to be hilarious and thoughtful. I want to feel good about what we are saying.”
Director David Gordon Green, best known for such thoughtful independent films as “George Washington” and “All the Real Girls,” was the ideal choice to add the unexpected element. Rogen says that Green’s approach is what they would need to help “Pineapple Express” stand apart from the pack. “David has a great sense of how to tell character-driven stories. We thought that’s what would make this movie different than other comedies of this kind: get a director who, in a way, works against that. His main focus is how to tell the story well and the character work and the acting. That way, we would do what we could to make sure the film has all the emotional relevance that people are used to from an Apatow comedy, but with action and excitement and drugs.”
Here’s what the director, writers and cast had to tell us about “Pineapple Express”:
MoviesOnline: Seth, that was a pretty cool move, exhaling the smoke out and then inhale it back in.
Rogen: It's a pretty good one, huh.
MoviesOnline: How did you learn to do that?
Rogen: Ah, just growing up in Vancouver. You kind of learn that one early on, I guess [laughs]. Is there a name for it?
Goldberg: The French inhale.
Franco: That's through the nose though.
Rogen: Through the nose. I've heard someone call it a Ghost Face.
Goldberg: It's called the Rogen now.
Rogen: It's called The Rogen. Do it with your friends.
MoviesOnline: What was the idea behind writing this? Also, James, this isn't something we'd normally expect to see you do. How did this come to you and why did you say yes?
Rogen: The original idea came from Judd [Apatow] actually. He just kind of had the loose notion of like, 'What about a weed action movie?' Me and Evan thought that could be rad and basically we started thinking about making a movie that was kind of a weed movie and action movie and had a real kind of friendship story to it then that would be our favorite movie ever. We originally actually wrote Franco's part for me and the part I ultimately played just for someone else in general and then when we got Franco involved we thought it was a good idea to switch the roles. I think it worked really well.
Franco: I hadn't done a comedy for a while. I had directed a very low budget movie called 'The Ape' and it was playing at a festival in Austin. Judd was there and he came and saw it and it's kind of funny.
Rogen: I think it's funny.
Franco: Thank you. After he saw it he said, 'I miss the funny Franco.' I hadn't really done a comedy other than 'The Ape' since 'Freaks and Geeks'. So then we started talking about ideas and he said, 'Well, I'm going to do this movie "Knocked Up" with Seth, but after that you guys should do a movie together.' I read it and thought that it was very funny, but I said, 'Oh, Seth, you get to play the good role, or the role that I want – Saul.' They were like, 'Nah. You can play Saul.' I think around that time I met David, or well we all met at 'Superbad' and Judd said, 'I'm thinking about having him direct.' Sounded like a good idea.
MoviesOnline: Your character in 'Knocked Up' in some ways is pretty similar with all the pot smoking.
MoviesOnline: Is this method acting for you?
Rogen: [laughs] I guess so. I mean, no. I don't smoke weed on set all day. I just want to say that, you know, not all day. After lunch you get tired. What can you do? To me the fact that a character smokes weed isn't really what I hang my hat on necessarily. To me Arthur and James Bond aren't the same because they both drink. So I would kind of equate it to that. They're different guys who both have a similar habit. To me they're very different guys though.
MoviesOnline: Seth, can you talk about the action scenes which aren't what we really expect from you? I understand you fractured your finger too.
Rogen: Yeah. We really wanted it to be an action movie. Those are the movies that we love and we're big fans of like Shane Black movies, when we were younger – me and Evan. 'Die Hard' and Paul Verhoeven movies. Shit like that. So those are the movies that we always wanted to make. 'Pulp Fiction'. 'Reservoir Dogs'. The kind of movies where violence and comedy and characters kind of work together really well and it was a great time. We did hurt ourselves. Franco cracked his face open. McBride cracked the back of his head open. I punched Amber in the face just to get her in the mood for things. 'Welcome to the set!' But it was a lot of fun. I loved it.
MoviesOnline: It seems like some serious Bro Love is becoming a comedy thread in the films that you guys are writing together. How much bro love is there between all of you guys?
Franco: A lot of bro love.
Rogen: Mad bro love. Is that the right expression? I think. We get along. I don't know. We're all friends. It's very bonding to beat the crap out of each other. You're very physical and you're in these somewhat homoerotic positions. There's a lot of me on Danny's back. I rode Danny's back for two days.
McBride: Sometimes it wasn't even during the movie.
Rogen: Yeah, totally. Between takes. So, yeah, it was a nice time.
MoviesOnline: For the writers, what action or drug movies were some of your influences?
Rogen: Again, drug movies – we liked 'Friday' a lot when we were growing up.
Goldberg: We didn't go out and say, 'Lets get a weed movie –' or pursue the drug movie. But action more so.
Rogen: For action I really like 'Die Hard' a lot.
Goldberg: 'The Last Boy Scout'.
Rogen: 'The Last Boy Scout'. 'Total Recall'. 'Pulp Fiction' is one of them. I love that movie and 'Reservoir Dogs' and the Coen Brothers movies are really violent, a lot of those early ones like 'Miller's Crossing' and 'Raising Arizona'. They have these crazy fight scenes in them. We were inspired by that I would say.
Goldberg: Also a lot of bad action movies from the '80's.
Rogen: Yeah. Anything with Brian Bosworth in it. Anything with an ex-football player turned actor we were big fans of.
MoviesOnline: Amber, how was it working with this group of guys? Was it ladylike on the set?
Heard: I would say that it was exactly as it seems it might be. I mean, look at them.
MoviesOnline: Did they tease you or what?
Heard: Well, they thought of this brilliant pot, or whatever, movie, an action movie and I guess they figured in a small role for a blonde and they say that I did my part well. I added tears to the movie.
Rogen: It's true.
Heard: But it was really fun. I mean, how could I not have fun? It was exactly what you think it would be [laughs].
MoviesOnline: The opening scene in this movie, was that part of the original script and what was it like shooting that?
Rogen: The 1930's scene? Yeah, that was actually the first thing that we ever wrote for the script.
Goldberg: Yeah. We read in some book that you can introduce a movie with an unrelated scene.
Rogen: It was a writing book. 'The Art of Dramatic Writing'. They were like, 'A thematic introduction will do.' We were like, 'Hey, good. We can write a scene that has nothing to do with the fucking movie. We can say that this book told us to.' [laughs] Yeah, I thought it was just funny. I guess the subtle thread is like if weed wasn't illegal then this whole movie wouldn't take place and the government is to blame.
MoviesOnline: I appreciate you bringing Huey Lewis back to the world of movie soundtracks. Can you talk about that inspiration?
Rogen: Thank you. I mean, we made this movie and I would say that it was somewhat of an homage to '80's action movies and in its own way an '80's action movie in and of itself. We thought ‘what’s the one thing that every great '80's movie has?’ which is a song by Huey Lewis that says the title of the movie [in the song]. I had actually been singing it in my head as we were editing the movie. I just kind of wrote a version of it. As I was driving to the editing room I would be singing, 'Pineapple Express –' and then I ran it by these guys one day, I remember. I was like, 'You know what would be crazy, if we could get Huey Lewis to do a song for this.' For some reason I thought that would be like unattainable, but it was way easier than you'd think. Two days later we had a song from Huey Lewis [laughs]. I didn't realize you could just call him up and he'd be like, 'Okay.'
MoviesOnline: James, your outfit was amazingly accurate. How do clothes affect your performance and did you base this guy on anyone that you know or have known?
Franco: I guess that it was originally based on someone that I wasn't allowed to meet.
Rogen: We were trying to keep a distance. There were set boundaries.
Franco: We don't have any changes in the movie and so picking the right outfit was fairly important. So I wasn't a fan of the Guatemalan pants, but I was convinced that I should wear that. Then the t-shirt is a special creation by David Gordon Green. It's a kitten sitting in a shark's mouth, but he's happy about it.
Rogen: A kitten getting eaten by a shark.
Green: No. The shark is rescuing the kitten.
Rogen: [laughs] In its mouth!
MoviesOnline: Did the outfit help you out?
Franco: Certainly, I'm sure. Once I had that outfit on, Saul just came along.
MoviesOnline: You said that Saul was the character that you wanted. So did you take any inspiration from the great past characters who were similar like Jeff Spicoli?
Franco: Yeah. I watched a lot of pot movies before we did this. My favorite were always the characters in movies that weren't necessarily in stoner movies. So, Spicoli in 'Fast Times' which isn't exactly a stoner movie or 'The Big Lebowski' which I think is more than a stoner movie or Brad Pitt in 'True Romance'. I don't know. Somehow they're like goofy stoner guys, but there's something more going on, I guess. So maybe that's the kind of inspiration that they gave me.
MoviesOnline: Seth, I take it that there's no pot smoking in 'The Green Hornet' script?
Rogen: [laughs] We put the green in 'The Green Hornet'. No. There isn't at all actually.
MoviesOnline: That's a very different kind of writing.
Rogen: No. It's true.
MoviesOnline: What have you learned as a screenwriter tackling a project like that and what's the progress of that script currently?
Rogen: We're done with the script. It looks like they're going to make it. We got a release date. June 25th, 2010. So mark your calendars because it’s gettin’ pretty busy. It was actually helpful having made this movie, in the writing of another kind of action movie. We learned exactly how specific you can or can't be.
Goldberg: People have just been like, 'Bullshit that Seth Rogen can do that –' unless 'Pineapple' comes out first.
Rogen: Yeah, exactly, and getting the 'Green Hornet' writing job we showed them some scenes from 'Pineapple' literally in the pitch for that. We were just like, 'Look, we can write action scenes.'
MoviesOnline: Do you have to be more disciplined as a writer, writing something like that as compared to this?
Rogen: No, not necessarily. Luckily the MPAA decided that violence is fine. When you're doing an action movie, you can really have as much violence as you want. In writing 'The Green Hornet' we haven't hit many situations where we were like, 'You know what would make this scene better? If Kato said cocksucker.' That hasn't come up that many times. I mean, I'd say that action-wise we've been able to do anything that we could've ever wanted.
MoviesOnline: Are you going to play The Green Hornet?
Rogen: Yeah, I will. Don't say it like that [laughter]. Soon we want to do a Green Hornet/Green Goblin crossover movie in 2012.
Franco: 'Green Squared'.
Rogen: Yeah. 'Green to the 2'.
MoviesOnline: What do you like about the Green Hornet character?
Rogen: To us it was just kind of this funny notion that when you say The Green Hornet to people, the first thing anyone says is, 'Hey, Bruce Lee played Kato in that show.' We've always wanted to make this hero sidekick movie. That was always an unexplored area to us and for years we've actually been trying to write a movie that was about a hero and his sidekick, and then when we heard that 'The Green Hornet' movie was up for grabs, we thought that could be the most perfect way to do this story because he is the only hero whose sidekick is actually more known than he is. We kind of thought that it would be a good way to tell this relationship story and just do a big crazy action movie basically.
MoviesOnline: You've been in two action movies this year. This one and 'Kung Fu Panda'.
Rogen: Exactly. I did all my own stunts in both of those movies.
MoviesOnline: Which one do you like watching the most?
Rogen: It's fun to watch this because I'm actually doing it and you can remember all the days of shooting and all the funny stuff that happened. It's fun to watch 'Kung Fu Panda' just to think that some dork in San Francisco has spent sixteen hundred man hours animating my whiskers. I get a kick out of that. I think that's funny for some reason. It's like, 'Some guy is in an office right now trying to get the twitch of my wing right.' I don't know why, but that I find very amusing.
MoviesOnline: Are you intimidated by high school guys in real life and have you ever dated an eighteen-year-old high school girl?
Rogen: I would only date a fifteen-year-old high school girl. Eighteen? Come on. I'm an actor. No. [laughs] I actually live right near a high school and I always walk by – I live in a high school. I actually live in the boiler room of a high school at night. When I see high school guys now I'm actually like, 'Thank fucking God I'm not in high school anymore because they look like they could kick the living shit out of me.' I'm soft compared to these guys. Maybe it's just L.A., but they look like men, like they would have kids and shit.
MoviesOnline: David, you come from the indie world. Can you talk about your experience in making this in the Hollywood system and what it was like working through that process?
Green: Making it was a blast. I'd kind of gotten to the point professionally where I was pretty emotionally exhausted from making dramatic films. So I was looking to do a comedy and found a group of guys that were really supportive of my interests in it though it was a little outside of my wheel house. Strangely, I visited the set of 'Knocked Up' and met Seth and Evan and Judd and Shauna [Robertson] and it was amazing how much their process seemed familiar to me, translating that into the work that I had done and giving actors a lot of freedom and doing a lot of improvisation and a total respect and collaboration with all the department heads and all the crews and just really making it an enjoyable industry rather than just clocking in and doing a job which a lot of movies are. We really decided to blend the two teams and see what would happen and it was a great opportunity for all of us to do something outside of the expected and contrast and push each other to do our best. We had a lot of fun.
MoviesOnline: What was the biggest challenge then in working on this picture?
Green: Honestly, the biggest challenge was that we had a comedy budget. We really got excited the more we got into the development of it about blowing stuff up and having shoot outs. That stuff costs money. When you want to have a car chase and they give you a day to do it and you say, 'Well, we need like a week –' and then you compromise and do it in four. It's all the kind of negotiating the financial things, but we were really fortunate to work with a studio that was really supportive of these guys. It was before 'Superbad' and 'Knocked Up' had even come out, but everyone just felt really great about them and the energy surrounding Seth and Evan and Judd – all of these guys – and the idea of getting Franco back into comedy as well. Then also it was bringing in Danny who I went to college with and a few new faces like Amber and Gary Cole and Rosie Perez. It was just making a lot of friends and trying something new. The challenges were just hilarious things to confront anyway and everyone just kind of looked at each other and would shrug and say, 'Lets just jump into it and do our best.'
MoviesOnline: Seth and James, all of your big scenes seemed adlibbed in a way. Were they or how much adlibbing did you do and how much did you stick to the script?
Rogen: I'd say that we always kind of try to keep it loose. I don't think that any scene is word for word how you'd find it in the script. Some of it was much more loose than others. The last scene with me, Danny and James in the diner there was never even a script for that scene. Usually we write something, but for that scene we literally wrote nothing. We wrote like, 'They talk in a diner.' We just kind of shot stuff, the scene with Danny and the cake and all of that, most of that is improvised I would say. But you would never know, to me anyway, and that's what is always amazing. Some of the scenes that seem scripted or written are improvised and some of the scenes that are improvised seem scripted. I'd say that nothing is word for word how you would find it in the script. That's always just a blueprint so that people get the point of what we want.
MoviesOnline: Did you know that Danny was going to do the dead head?
Rogen: No, and honestly that is the funniest part of the whole movie to me. I watched the whole thing just waiting for the part where he slowly droops down. It kills me every time.
McBride: I die for real then.
Rogen: He actually died there. We woke him up afterwards.
MoviesOnline: When you read the script did you think, 'Why isn't this guy dead?'
McBride: I was glad. When they gave it to me I was like, 'I die thirty pages in? You motherfuckers.'
Rogen: He was like, 'Oh, he's back!' There were weaker takes on that, yeah.
MoviesOnline: Did you wonder if you would play it weak, like you were losing blood or what?
McBride: We did different takes. We were like, 'Let’s just play up the joke that I've been shot fifteen times and I'll just deliver this line normally.' They were like, 'Okay, let’s pretend that you have no blood left and deliver it like that.'
Rogen: I will say that in the original script Danny did die that first time that he gets shot. Then we were like, 'Ah, fuck. We want Danny to come back.' So then it was like, 'What if he lived?!'
MoviesOnline: Danny, can you talk about that fight scene in the house and talk about what you were wearing?
McBride: Yes. One of the first things when David asked if I wanted to do this movie he said, 'The first thing is that you're going to have to shave your armpits.' I was like, 'Why, David?' He said, 'Well, that's what you're going to need to figure out.' The fight scene was actually a lot of fun. We spent like a week doing that, right?
Rogen: That was like five days of shooting. We just beat each other up. It was a good time.
McBride: It was pretty hardcore. We would just beat each other all day long. Break fingers, yeah, It was fun.
Rogen: Good times.
Goldberg: I remember standing there watching as they ran through it the first time. It was like, 'Wow, okay. We're doing this.'
Rogen: We're really fucking doing this, yeah [laughs].
MoviesOnline: How was getting hit with the bong?
McBride: That was great. Franco is a dedicated actor and he obviously didn't pull anything. It was a breakaway glass bong, but it was actually filled with water and so it had a little weight to it.
Rogen: So it broke his head open. He wasn't all there after that.
McBride: I got a little concussed.
Franco: You were a little different after that.
MoviesOnline: James, you've got 'Milk' coming out. Can you talk about that?
Rogen: He’s the comic relief in that movie.
Franco: I've been a huge fan of Gus Van Sant since the early days with 'Drugstore Cowboy', 'My Own Private Idaho'. I watched those before I was even an actor and I loved them. So it was basically a chance to work with two of my heroes, Gus and Sean Penn. We shot in San Francisco and it was an amazing experience.
MoviesOnline: James mentioned that he wasn't allowed to talk to the person his character was based on. Is that true, and also I know that you and Evan are from Vancouver and you did 'Superbad' based on a lot of your friends there too – are those people based on Vancouver people or L.A. people?
Rogen: I'm not answering that question [laughs]. From what I remember, they're literate.
MoviesOnline: When you guys were filming the scenes where you're getting high, what were you actually smoking?
Rogen: It's this shit called Wizard Smoke. I didn't like it. Franco didn't have that hard of a time with it. Franco will smoke anything.
Franco: Whatever. Any plant.
Rogen: One thing about this guy, if you put it in front of him he'll smoke it.
Franco: It tastes like near beer for weird.
Rogen: It is. It's like non-alcoholic weed. It's like the O'Doul's of weed.
MoviesOnline: What's the most enjoyable action scene to shoot?
Rogen: The fight in the house was a lot of fun. It's always fun to do something that you really think is funny and that fight, as we were doing it, we thought could actually really be funny. It goes on and on and we just destroyed that house.
MoviesOnline: How long does it last in the film?
Green: It's twenty-seven minutes, right?
Rogen: Yes. Twenty-seven and a half minutes. No. I don't know. It's probably around four and a half, five minutes, something like that, which is a lot of time to spend on a fight, but we just do it. 'Deer Hunter' has a two-hour wedding. So what the fuck?
MoviesOnline: James, are you going to continue doing comedy on FunnyorDie.com and are you going to give acting lessons to your brother?
Franco: Actually, I think the latest is that my mother has a comedy troupe in Palo Alto. She's been taking acting lessons through Stanford Extension. So that'll be the latest episode in the Franco household.
Rogen: Mrs. Franco teaches acting?
James: As far as I know Funny or Die is filming her this week.
MoviesOnline: Two people have talked about this concussion, James, but we haven't heard it from you.
Franco: No. Danny got the concussion. I took a head shot but I’ve got a hard head. In the woods when we're running around like morons, there's a shot where I run into a tree and that's actually me hitting the tree and I make a sound like that. [Rogen makes a weird sound]. That's the sound that I actually made. My head got cut and I got stitches. Evan took me to the hospital.
Green: That's why he wears a headband after that scene. He had stitches in his head.
Rogen: We had to cover it up.
Franco: But you can see that I finished the shot. I got up and ran off-camera.
Rogen: He stayed in character.
Franco: Then I looked around and everyone had very wide eyes because blood started pouring down my face. If you buy the DVD, I'm sure it'll be on there in the behind-the-scenes.
Green: You just said, 'Am I okay?' No one wanted to be like, 'No.'
Rogen: 'No, dude. You fucked yourself up.'
MoviesOnline: James, what are you planning on doing with your university degree now?
Franco: A lot of useful things with a liberal arts degree.
Rogen: You can teach liberal arts.
MoviesOnline: Would you go into teaching if you got tired of the acting?
Franco: I think I would teach enjoy teaching as you can see if you go to ‘Funny or Die’. I think that would be a great thing. Maybe I’ll do it on the side. I'm going to continue school and get my graduate degree.
MoviesOnline: In liberal arts?
Franco: In writing and directing.
Rogen: If you want to make it, you're going to have to do that, dude. You should probably get on that.
MoviesOnline: What can we look forward to on the DVD and will there be any bonus stuff on the Blu Ray edition?
Rogen: I don't know about the Blu Ray aspect of it all.
Green: I don't know about that either.
Rogen: With Blu Ray you can actually download material onto the DVD from the internet and so I think they're putting the videogame and stuff on the internet and it's like the shittiest videogame you've ever seen, but it's a videogame and you can download it. It's like Donkey Kong kind of. In 1983 it would've been amazing, but it's a game so you can kill some time at work. We did shoot a lot of extra stuff. We shot a lot of actors we know playing weird characters and coming and buying weed off of Saul in the apartment, guys like Martin [???] and Justin Long and a bunch of actors – whoever was around – Craig Robinson and people in the movie.
Franco: Danny had something weird happen.
Rogen: Yeah, we hooked you up with his ex-wife who we refer to. There's a little guide to marriage with his wife who's in jail. We did more experiments in the '50's. We got every actor we know to come in and do kind of little item nine experiments, as we called them. I don't know if any of it is funny. It could all suck. I haven't seen any of it.
MoviesOnline: What scenes look amazing on the Blu Ray version?
Rogen: I imagine the whole beginning looks pretty good on the Blu Ray version.
MoviesOnline: The black and white stuff?
Rogen: Yeah, the black and white stuff. Tim Orr, our DP is an amazing guy. I feel like I should give him some kind of recognition. He's just a great man. He's so little and cute.
MoviesOnline: You mentioned your mom in Palo Alto, James. What would your character be doing there?
Franco: In Palo Alto? I don't know. Saul's cruising around Stanford University getting crazy. Saul goes to college. I don't know. We certainly – I don't know – in high school I smoked a fair amount of marijuana and got in trouble for it and that was it.
Rogen: Then you stopped and learned your lesson.
MoviesOnline: Until this movie?
Franco: No. Wizard Smoke isn't the same.
MoviesOnline: Is '227' actually watchable if you're high?
Rogen: It's only watchable if you're high.
Green: That's one of the things that when I read it in the script, in the script it was ‘Family Ties’ and I was like, 'Absolutely not.'
Rogen: ‘227’ Dave had a lot of really strong opinions about really weird things. I was like, 'Okay.' 'This cannot be ‘Family Ties’. I'm walking.'
Goldberg: For a while David wanted no sideburns and you pretty much did it.
Green: I wanted everyone to have a box haircut for a while and no sideburns.
Rogen: Everyone has the same haircut in this world.
MoviesOnline: James, I know it was cut, but can you talk about what inspired you to bite Rosie's ass?
Franco: We were kind of justâ€¦
Franco: We had a fight scene and it was kind of unusual, a male/female fight scene which is fairly unusual. Then we had one take where we were like, 'Let’s just wrestle and see what happens.' I had my shot and I went for it. I didn't think I bit her that hard, but she said there were teeth marks and I think that one of her cousins was after me after that she said, one of her family members. I'm joking.
MoviesOnline: Does Judd come to the set or help in terms of ideas for writing or in postproduction, anything like that?
Rogen: On this one Judd helped out the most in the pre-production, I would say. He helped a lot with the script, a lot with the emotional story and the relationships in the movie, but again, this is a script we started writing around seven years ago. So it was pretty ready to go by the time that we finally got going.
Green: He would show up for important emotional scenes.
Rogen: He would show for important scenes.
Franco: He did a lot of the telephone calls and stuff.
Rogen: We shot it at the same time as 'Sarah Marshall' and I think that 'Walk Hard' was also at the same time. So he was kind of busy with other stuff for a lot of it. He was mostly helpful in leading up to the movie on this one.
MoviesOnline: You and Kevin Smith are in your own ways kings of the vulgar comedy.
MoviesOnline: What kind of stuff do you guys come up with when you get together?
Rogen: What kind of stuff do we talk about? A lot of comic book stuff. The nerdiest shit that you can ever imagine in the entire world.
MoviesOnline: But in the movie? How dirty is the movie?
Rogen: What movie? 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno'? I would say that it's pretty dirty language-wise. To me it literally doesn't even register in my brain anymore. It doesn't seem that dirty to me. I actually just saw it at a test screening about a week ago and it was really like a romantic comedy to me. Yes, it is dirty, but more than anything it's like a romantic relationship movie with a lot of porn and balls. I said balls.
MoviesOnline: Your balls?
Rogen: No. My balls are not in it.
MoviesOnline: Is it true that you were having trouble getting an R rating for that?
Rogen: It is true. That's all there is to it really. We live in a world where you can disembowel someone in a youth hostile in Romania, but you can't show people having sex. I think it's weird. I don't know what to do about it. I'm taking suggestions, but I mean when I watched the movie part of me felt like, 'Yeah, let’s go for an NC-17 rating.' But when I watched it, I honestly don't think it deserves it. We've done some dirty stuff and this isn't anything outside of what we've done before, I feel like. I just feel like since the word ‘porno’ is in the title and that kind of freaks people out, even though it is like the number one industry in the universe.
Rogen: It's weird. I don't know why. To me it's a mystery that you can show these horrific things, but not some sexual stuff which everyone does.
MoviesOnline: You guys met as young actors on 'Freaks and Geeks'? Did you bond then?
Franco: Yeah, we hung out quite a bit with Jason [Segel].
Rogen: We all hung out. I think at that point in our lives the age gap was a lot more significant. James is a few years older than me.
Franco: I’m not that much older.
Rogen: You didn't hang out that much with me, dude. You would bail. You bailed a lot. I remember we'd all hang out and order steaks and sandwiches and you'd order like a chicken breast and vegetables and that's when we were like, 'This is never going to work.' But yeah, we did hang out a lot. We were saying this while we were shooting [this movie] too, like, ‘Who would've thought when we were doing "Freaks and Geeks" that one day we'd get to make a movie.'
MoviesOnline: So this was a nice reunion?
Franco: Yeah. There was one episode of 'Freaks and Geeks' where his character and my character had a thing where he had a crush on a girl and he got advice from me. For me that was one of the cooler episodes. That kind of dynamic was great, getting to work together again is cool.
MoviesOnline: Who do you play in 'Milk'?
Franco: I play a guy named Scott Smith who was Harvey Milk's lover. I think they were together the longest of all of Harvey's relationships. They met in New York and Scott was a struggling actor. Harvey was a businessman fully in the closet and then one day – I don't know how sudden it was, but eventually he decided he didn't want to live that way anymore and so they both moved out to San Francisco and were part of the gay movement at the time. They opened the camera shop together which has become famous. Castro Camera. That's where Harvey then eventually ran his campaigns out of, that store. They knew nothing about cameras and I think that Scott knew even less about politics, but he ran Harvey's early career. He was his campaign manager. Harvey ran four times and I think that Scott was the campaign manager for the first two.
MoviesOnline: Did you get to know Scott?
Franco: He passed away in the mid '90's, but after Harvey died he was known as the Widow Milk. Even though they had broken up before he kind of took over his estate and inherited all of the stuff. It's good. It's really good.
MoviesOnline: Can you talk about working with Diego Luna?
Franco: He's great. I love Diego. I've known him for a while. He's incredible. I love 'Mr. Lonely' and he was really funny in 'Milk'.
MoviesOnline: Does your grandma still live in Brooklyn Heights?
Franco: Shaker Heights. She's the queen of Shaker Heights. I'm supposed to do 'Letterman' for this and I'm trying to get my grandma to come out. We'll see.
MoviesOnline: When are you going on?
Franco: I think I'm going on in July or August.
[Note: Goldberg says that his grandma called her mom “bubby” and that’s where he got it].
“Pineapple Express” opens in theaters on August 6th.