Seth Rogen has established himself as a prominent actor, writer, producer and director, a Renaissance man with the talent to generate, launch and star in his own projects. In 2011, Rogen, along with lifelong friend and writing partner, Evan Goldberg, founded Point Grey Pictures, the production company behind such movies as The Interview, Neighbors, This Is The End and 50/50.
Earlier this year, Seth produced and starred in the sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority. Point Grey’s first TV show, Preacher, based on Garth Ennis’ graphic novel, airs on AMC and has recently been renewed for another season. Here, he talks about his new film, Sausage Party, a raunchy animated comedy co-starring James Franco, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd and Danny McBride.
Hi Seth, thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you. I’ve enjoyed so much of your work over the years, from Superbad right up to the present.
That’s so nice of you, Kam. Thank you so much.
I really enjoyed Sausage Party, which struck me as a very sophisticated variation of irreverent animated comedies like South Park and Team America.
Thanks again. That’s a lovely compliment. I really appreciate it.
Where did you find the courage to go against the grain in these politically-correct times when most stand-up comedians are afraid to touch controversial topics?
Honestly, that’s not something I’ve ever personally agreed with. (Laughs) I think if a joke is well thought out and actually funny, then I haven’t had a problem exploring any idea. One does have to be aware of the climate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate that itself into the joke, if you want. So, I, as a writer, don’t agree with the notion that there are politically-correct pressures ruining comedy.
How do you expect the audience to respond to Sausage Party‘s primary theme suggesting they question the wisdom of blindly following religious dogma? I suspect the movie might have people laughing first, but then perhaps reflecting upon their own blind faith.
Maybe! That would be very interesting. It’s not a reaction that I necessarily expect, but I wouldn’t be upset, by any means, if that happened. Overall, I’d say the message of Sausage Party is that faith and religion are okay, unless they divide us. I think that’s a very important distinction the movie makes, that we should try to not let differences get in the way of our own happiness or in the way of our getting along with one another.
Does this religious theme reflect something that you and/or your writing partner, Evan Goldberg, have struggled with privately?
It’s something we’ve talked about a lot. Our film This Is The End explored a lot of religious themes, as does our TV show Preacher. It’s just one of the biggest things that has occurred in the history of humanity. As a result, it’s something that we think and talk about a lot and try to incorporate into our work.
What is it about a Seth Rogen project that so many A-listers want to be involved?
I have no idea, but it’s incredibly flattering. One of the things I’m most proud of with this movie and others are the casts we’ve been able to assemble. The fact that all these people trusted us enough to be a part of Sausage Party was just incredibly complimentary. And, as we were making the movie, a large part of my thought involved making sure they liked it and were proud of being in it.
Well it’s doing great both with the critics and at the box office.
It’s wonderfully shocking that everybody seems to be appreciating it and getting what we were going for. It’s just very nice when that happens. (Laughs some more)
Besides faith, the movie also explores numerous other issues, such as race, sexuality and even the Middle East conflict. How did you manage to pack so much serious material into 90 minutes, along with the laughs, too?
That’s the result of our working on the movie for a really, really long time. Because of that, you get a lot of opportunities to pour over every moment and to really try to maximize every second of screen time, as much as is humanly possible. It’s also natural for the person making it to want to improve upon it while you’re working on it.
Did you have any qualms about possibly contributing to the delinquency of a minor by having Iris Apatow [Judd’s daughter] in the cast of your R-rated production.
(Laughs) That’s one minor’s delinquency I don’t have to worry about contributing to. (Laughs some more)
Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
No, not really. I always think I’d be terrible at interviewing people. (Laughs)
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I don’t know. Different things on different days.
With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
No, not really. That just seems so hard. I think we really have the best luck doing stuff that’s as original as possible. And we enjoy working the most when we feel like we’re making something that no one’s done before. That’s what was so much fun about Sausage Party and why we put so much into it. We knew that we were doing something that no one had done before. And that was a very appealing prospect.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Playing with toy cars when I was about two.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
I have two favorites. I like making ribs and steak.
Finally, what’s in your wallet?
I use an elastic band for a wallet. It’s literally just my driver’s license, credit cards and a little bit of cash with an elastic band around it. (Chuckles)
Thanks again for the time, Seth, and best of luck with the film.
Thank you so much, Kam. I really appreciate it.
Seth Rogen’s new film, Sausage Party, is in theaters now. For more information, go to sausagepartymovie.com.