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This Is The End Feature

This Is The End Feature

In Australia to promote their new outrageous comedy, This is the End, co-writers and directors Seth Rogen (who also stars in the film) and Evan Goldberg took some time out to have a chat – and what great guys they are – so friendly and upbeat. Shaking hands, we exchanged pleasantries, talking up everything from Porky’s to Channing Tatum and Donnie Darko. From the outset, they really appreciated my knowledge of all things movies.

Shane A. Bassett – Observe & Report is one of your most underrated movies.
Seth Rogen – I couldn’t agree more, I was actually going through a box recently and found the badge I wore.
Evan Goldberg – It is one of my favourite movies of his and I had nothing to do with it.
SAB – You have made one of the funniest movies I’ve seen since Porky’s.
Both laugh really loud and nod back – Thank you that’s a compliment.
SR – Oh nice, also a Canadian production (Seth keeps laughing that very familiar Seth laugh). A classic.
EG – You just made me want to watch Porky’s again.
SAB – It’s one of the greats and let’s just hope nobody remakes it and ruins it.
EG – Oh they will.
SR – If anyone does, it will be us (keeps laughing). I’m surprised we haven’t been offered that.
SAB – That I will accept.

At any point with This is the End, did you think you were going too far?
EG – Lots of times, yes it felt good to go to far. We were encouraged by that.
SR – Yeah that feeling is almost what we pursue the most, is that we could be doing something possibly horrible and people might hate it. That to us is the sweet spot to where you want to be. Keeping audiences guessing.
EG – It’s like a cookie, you can experiment or have taste tests and that’s what we did with the film – test with an audience.
SR – It’s like completing a higher degree of difficulty to be different, so if we fail we die. Kind of like Russian roulette.

Did Sony pictures actually read your full script before green-lighting the film?
EG – Yes, some of the craziest ideas were some of their suggestions. Never has a studio for us taken a movie dirtier than they did on this one. They were into it and not afraid of what you might think they would be afraid of filming.

Channing Tatum is seen briefly towards the end of the film but is mentioned near the start. Were any of his scenes cut?
EG – You’re like the first person ever to notice this.
SR – We just wanted to lay the idea that Channing Tatum exists in the world of this movie (laughing) and made it subtle, just drop his name in your head to kind of subconsciously set him up a little bit.
EG – We were always wondering if anyone got that, you did, well done.

The houses in the film are both unique. Do either of you live in modern houses or are interested in architecture? Or was it simply a way to ham it up from an actors perspective?
EG – He’s big into architecture, I enjoy it but not into it.
SR – I like architecture (laughing). I have a-lot of subscriptions to architectural magazines whatever that means. I don’t live in a fancy modern house, I live in a Spanish style house.

Was James Franco’s house based on a real building?
SR – No, just based on a bunch of houses we drew from in a ton of magazines & books.

A large array of stars appear in the film. Did you approach anyone to be involved but they couldn’t participate for whatever reason?
SR – Morgan Freeman refused to take part in the role of God. Others such as Edward Norton couldn’t do it for scheduling reasons, Bill Hader, Elizabeth Banks and Cameron Diaz were the same. Everyone we told was into it, which was kind of shocking.

The final scene was genius in white (the boys laugh again, nodding) and quite a surprise. Was it always going to end that way?
SR – No, it actually ended when what happens right before that, which is (I don’t want to ruin it) but me and Jay are going ‘UP’ then it fades to white, that’s actually where we ended it. But even though our script had more, we were running out of time and wanted to leave it like that. But reassessing it we realised, you know, what we need more, then went back and filmed it afterwards.

Your friends are all playing obnoxious versions of themselves. Do you think fans or audiences may perceive them a little bit differently now?

SR –  (long pause) Probably………not (laughing)
EG – Either the same or worse for sure.
SR – We’ll be liked either less or the same, exactly.

As directors, did you direct or just let them go for it?
EG – We had to direct a little.
SR – Jonah (Hill) acts nothing like that in real life, it was a real variable character he was doing.

Will the DVD have many deleted scenes?
EG – Tons, there is a lot of Channing Tatum.
SR – All of his cut footage is disgusting (laughing)

Early in the film, a paparazzi was following you at an airport. Does that kind of thing happen to you at all?
SR – Yes sometimes, but not that often. It’s like that scene though, just one guy following me for a bit.

Last but not least Seth, what are your memories of being on the set of Donnie Darko?
SR – You’re good. Oh man, I remember being really uncomfortable and not knowing what I was doing and remember not getting what the movie was about. There were a lot of young people there I got along with. Especially Jake (Gyllenhaal) and that guy Alex Greenwald who played my partner in the movie. He was a really nice guy, I run into him every once in a while. To be in it was a fun experience.

© Shane A. Bassett

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