Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Craig Robinson discuss ‘This is the End’

The star-studded apocalyptic comedy marks the directorial debut for creative partners Rogen and Goldberg

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy

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In what is sure to be one of the funniest films of the year, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play themselves, trapped in Franco’s house and facing what appears to be the apocalypse. In an interview with The Daily Californian, writers and directors Rogen and Evan Goldberg, along with cast member Robinson, discussed the film’s self-awareness, their use of social media to promote the film and their choice not to feature any women in the core cast.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Rogen, Goldberg, and Robinson.

On developing the 2007 short ‘Jay and Seth Versus The Apocalypse’ into a feature film:
Evan Goldberg: We made the short seven years ago … It got a good reaction. It got almost 200,000 hits (online). Because it was online, we never forgot about it.
Seth Rogen: People would ask us about it — like, in interviews — every once in awhile.
EG: We’d always say, “We wish we could make that into a movie. That would be a cool movie,” but we just couldn’t figure out what the trick was that made it interesting, and we always had this other idea to have actors play themselves, which started off as “Seth Rogen and Busta Rhymes vs. the Ant Man.” That was our first idea, and we were like “Ah, maybe Busta Rhymes isn’t the right guy. Maybe like, (Rogen) and Brad Pitt together playing themselves.” And then we were like, “Ah, let’s just work with our friends. We like working with our friends.” And then we realized, “Wait! If we push these two ideas together, we have ourselves a pretty good story.”

On making fun of celebrity culture in the film and the idea that ‘actors should be the first to get rescued’:
SR: We don’t actually think that at all, and I will desperately hope no one actually thinks that we feel those things. To us, it’s all supposed to be very self-deprecating and commenting on how ridiculous it is. A) I’m sure a lot of actors think that, and B) I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s partially true in some capacity! We’re really trying to take the piss out of ourselves and comment on how self-centered and ridiculous and, you know, out-of-touch most actors are or are perceived to be.

On why there are no women in the core cast:
EG: The civil answer is that then, sex becomes a conversation.
SR: We were actually resistant honestly to even having Emma (Watson) return in the movie because we kept saying like, “It just goes sexual,” like, you know, “28 Days Later.” It just is this inevitable thought that you’re the last people on Earth, it’s all these guys, there’s a girl …
EG: Like, are you gonna repopulate the world?
SR: We kept saying like, “If we have a girl, it will start to feel rape-y,” and it wasn’t until that happened that we were like, “Oh, maybe, what if we make that the whole point of the scene?”
EG: That was the greatest studio note we ever received. The studio executive said, “Well, why don’t you just embrace that rapiness?”
SR: And we were like, “Wow, that’s actually a great idea!” I think that’s what it was. We just couldn’t … We’re not that good friends with any female comedians, honestly. Now we are more, but at the time we made this, they just weren’t in our circle of friends that much, and yeah, the other thing was that we just didn’t want it to have these kind of sexual overtones. To us, that’s just kind of like a comedy killer in some regards.
EG: We’ve worked with what we could over the years, and that’s just been a handful of guys, but if this movie does well…
SR: I’d love to work with women!
EG: We have some all-women movies planned.
SR: We just made a movie … where I’m married to Rose Byrne, and she’s amazing and … it makes up for this!

On traditional ways of promoting films:
SR: The last thing we want to do is stick to the traditional ways … Literally, we spent so much time talking about, you know — how, like, we’ve seen it change and evolve and with things like Twitter and Facebook, how that didn’t exist when we made “Knocked Up” or “Superbad.” The way we promote movies is completely different, and the way that people ingest this stuff is different, and so whenever it feels like we’re doing the same shit that we did six years ago, we always internally are just like, “What the fuck are we doing? It’s different … it should be different.” And so we actively try to seek new ways of kind of engaging the press and the people. Honestly, why we went to Twitter and Facebook is we spent so much time talking about how to get people on Twitter and Facebook to talk about us — maybe we should start building a relationship with Twitter and Facebook! Because that’s like (going) to the source, you know. So yeah, it’s all coming out of … the thought that we need to try to be progressive with how we promote these things.

Meadhbh McGrath is the arts editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Check her out on Twitter at @MeadhbhMcGrath.