Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Now a good many of you have had at least a day or two to see This Is The End, so I feel okay in releasing this super spoiler-filled interview I did with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Craig Robinson.
Thanks to Time Warner’s amazing digital phone service which decides to not work at the most inconvenient times, this phoner ended up being done on my cell via speakerphone, which meant a bit of a transcribing nightmare, but I think everything’s squared away and readable.
I loved this movie and couldn’t wait to talk to the guys about it. I’m tempted to list off the highlights up here, but fuck that noise. Read the interview, you lazy bastard! It’s a good one, filled with laughs and some great info.
Oh, one more thing: Craig Robinson joins the interview a few minutes in. Crazy press day schedule juggling, I guess. Anyway, enjoy!
Quint: Congratulations on the movie, guys. I saw it last night and loved it.
Seth Rogen: Oh, thank you so much!
Quint: At the screening, a woman sat down behind me with her five year old daughter…
Evan Goldberg: We had something like that happen in Oakland last night!
Seth Rogen: We introduced the movie and there was like a five year old little boy. We were like “You’re too young to be watching this movie!”
Evan Goldberg: We do not approve of these things!
Quint: I can tell you that this five year old girl seemed to really love the “I’m going to cum on everything” back and forth between Danny McBride and James Franco.
Seth Rogen: Oh, my God. (laughs)
Quint: So, that helped me appreciate the movie even more. Not only was it me laughing at the big dick demon jokes, but also hearing which parts worked for her added another level of enjoyment.
Evan Goldberg: We meant it to be a kid’s movie. (laughs)
Quint: We should talk a little about your approach to this movie. I guess because everybody is playing exaggerated versions of themselves it makes it feel like everybody’s just having fun, but I know how movies are made and if you just hang out and fuck around you don’t have a film. So, how did you achieve that tone?
Evan Goldberg: We really did have a bunch of people goofing around, but they were all professionals. It looked like we were just fucking around, but everybody knows what they’re doing.
Seth Rogen: Everyone’s really good at improv at a technical level. I don’t think a lot of people understand that it’s very technical to be good at improv. You have to understand how movies are edited together, how the coverage works and how the sound works. These guys are all amazing at that. It’s not whether they’re good at improving, it’s whether they are good at it in a way that’s remotely usable.
It’s a lot more technical than people realize. We have to track who said what so we can cover it from a couple of different angels. If something funny comes up and we’ve already covered that, we have to go back and cover it again so we can get people reacting to the new thing in case we want to use that. Sometimes different versions of scenes will effect scenes later, so we have to be aware of that when we’re filming other scenes. It’s complicated, but it’s what makes it looks like were just goofing around. It’s nice to hear that’s how it comes across because that’s what we were trying to achieve. Craig’s here! Hi!
Quint: Hi, Craig.
Craig Robinson: Hello!
Quint: You guys were saying that there’s a lot of coverage and alternate takes. Does that make the editing a nightmare or at least more difficult than your average movie?
Seth Rogen: No, I wouldn’t say more difficult, maybe a little more tedious. As a comedian, you want to have as many bloody options as possible when you get into an editing room.
Evan Goldberg: Yeah, in fact it’s a good problem to have.
Seth Rogen: It’s great having a wealth of material rather than not enough material.
Evan Goldberg: Coming from our Judd Apatow background of all this improv, if we suddenly only had two options… that’d be our worst nightmare!
Seth Rogen: You never want to be in a position where you don’t have a joke that works and if you have 500 jokes to choose from you’ll generally find a joke that at least somewhat works.
Evan Goldberg: We could have shot 300 versions of the movie with 3 different casts with what we had.
Craig Robinson: This is my first time hearing about that.
Evan Goldberg: (laughs) We shot a whole version without you. I’m sorry, it was Tyler Perry.
Quint: Another aspect of the movie that I really loved was the design of the creatures. I know that most of what was on the screen that wasn’t gore was CG, but did you guys have anything practical on the set?
Seth Rogen: Yeah, we kinda fucked that one up. We fell into the classic trap of trying to do more things practically than we probably should have. We didn’t have time to really use them properly. We kind of had a scrappy style and when you don’t really have time to light every shot perfectly and conceal different things… we didn’t make a guy in a suit look great, so we replaced him with a giant fucking dog thing that looked a lot better.
But a lot of the violent things were practical, like Aziz’s arm and the head and…
Evan Goldberg: And Craig’s finger getting nicked…
Seth Rogen: (laughs) Exactly. A lot of that stuff we did practically.
Quint: So, Craig… even though they replaced him later, did it help having a dude in a suit in the big chase through the house scene? Or now do you look at it and go, “Man, that’s a reaction for a guy in a suit, not a CG demon dog!”
Evan Goldberg: We probably made it harder! The guy in the suit wasn’t… unscary…
Seth Rogen: Craig could have beaten the shit out of him.
Craig Robinson: I probably could have, but in the land of imagination it was a demon chasing me. I mean, he moved like a ballerina, but that was part of his superpower or something. That’s what we were reacting to at first.
Quint: I don’t know, man. If I turned a corner in my house and saw a demon dog I’d be scared, but if I saw a dude moving like a ballerina I’d probably be more freaked out.
Seth Rogen: Exactly! (laughs)
Craig Robinson: We were.
Quint: Speaking of demons, we have to talk about the rape scene…
Seth Rogen: (laughs)
Evan Goldberg: I believe that’s actually Satan. That was the devil himself raping him. It’s really erotic.
Seth Rogen: That was definitely inspired by the scene in Rosemary’s Baby.
Quint: I noticed that. You shot it almost exactly the same, too, with the close up of the eyes…
Evan Goldberg: We shot it very similarly. The shot of his eyes is literally exactly the same shot from Rosemary’s Baby and we pretty much recreated the face from Rosemary’s Baby.
Quint: I don’t seem to remember the massive cock in Rosemary’s Baby…
Seth Rogen: Yeah, there’s no giant dick in Rosemary’s Baby.
Evan Goldberg: Yeah there is, it’s just off camera.
Seth Rogen: Yeah, we raped Jonah with a fucking giant dick. It was hilarious! We thought it was funny. Honestly, we were shocked we were able to show as much we did. They tell you to make dirtier versions so that when the MPAA watches it you can scale it back. So we added a lot more texture to the dick and we hold on it for even a fraction of a second longer than we would have and that’s the version they approved, so we left it in!
Quint: Well, you guys are artists, so…
Seth Rogen: (laughs) Someone’s gotta do it.
Quint: So what was Jonah’s reaction to seeing Satan’s dick? Or did you shoot it like The Goonies where the kids didn’t see the pirate ship until they were rolling?
Seth Rogen: Literally he was never in the same place!
Evan Goldberg: We shot it weeks apart.
Seth Rogen: And every time you see the hands… those are actually my hands. I actually was wearing the demon hands when I’m rubbing him and fondling him and stuff.
Evan Goldberg: Seth’s wearing the hands, I’m pitching jokes and we spent, like, 45 minutes just raping Jonah.
Quint: It’s a great scene, which I might add was also a hit with that five year old girl in my audience.
Seth Rogen: She loved it! But Jonah’s reaction to it is what really gets the big laugh.
Quint: I know this is getting into some spoiler territory here, but I’d like to talk about your version of heaven. I mean, it makes sense to me that there’d be rollercoasters in heaven, so I was glad to see that there… Can you talk a little bit about the design choices for what made it into heaven?
Seth Rogen: Honestly we kind of just went with what we could afford for the most part. We shot that all on a greenscreen set, but yeah… we thought it would be funny if there were buildings from all different kinds of eras, like futuristic buildings and ancient buildings.
Evan Goldberg: If we had more money there would have been people flying around with wings and people throwing balls of energy back and forth.
Seth Rogen: We could barely afford those halos!
Evan Goldberg: The idea that we could have halos that we could light joints off of was something very special.
Seth Rogen: But yeah, the rollercoasters… and there’s no lines for those rollercoasters either. That’s the best part.
Quint: Craig, did you get to keep the glittery heaven version of his Take Yo’ Panties Off shirt?
Evan Goldberg: Good question!
Craig Robinson: Yes, I actually have two of them.
Seth Rogen: The glittery version of that tee-shirt was amazing.
Craig Robinson: Yeah, I don’t know where I could ever wear it though.
Evan Goldberg: Wear it to the premiere!
Seth Rogen: (laughs) He liked that idea!
Quint: Speaking of, we can’t talk about you in this movie, Craig, without bringing up your duet with Rihanna.
Seth Rogen: Yes, sir.
Quint: Did you know she was going to contribute to that scene when you were singing initially or was it a surprise?
Craig Robinson: Well, that song Take Yo’ Panties Off is something I do in my act normally. I’ve done it for years, so Rihanna just hopped in and improvised what she did. Pretty much what you saw was what we did. It went down exactly like that.
Seth Rogen: Everybody’s reaction was totally genuine. The look on Jonah’s face is like “What’s about to happen?” and she starts singing and everybody’s like “Woohoo!” Nobody knew that was going to happen!
Evan Goldberg: When she got there we were all “If you want to sing that would be great, but you don’t have to. You do what you want.” You don’t want to be the asshole that asks Rihanna to sing in your movie.
Quint: Well, it worked. I’m glad she did. Thanks a ton for your time, guys. Congratulations again on the movie. You’ve got a good one here.
Seth Rogen: Awesome, man. Thanks so much!
I loved talking to these guys and wish I could have had another hour or three. Hope you folks enjoyed this chat!