In its June Comedy issue, GQ’s Amy Wallace sits down with James Franco (the issue’s cover star), Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, writer Evan Goldberg, and more from the cast of what is bound to be the summer’s funniest film, This Is The End. The group of famous friends open up to GQ about what is was like making an apocalyptic film together—one where seemingly little was considered off-limits. From Rihanna slapping the hell out of Michael Cera, to inserting a fake sequel to Pineapple Express within the plotline, to the arranging the strangest appearance of a Harry Potter star ever, the stars divulge on the behind-the-scenes details of what is one of GQ’s favorite comedies in a long, long time.
Photo Credit: Terry Richardson / GQ
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Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg on This Is The End’s stellar cast…
Rogen: Pretty much everyone we went for did it, unless there was ascheduling problem. We got people to do shit in this movie I can’t f*cking believe they did. It’s truly shocking.
Goldberg: We only asked friends or people who we just took to be cool. Like, we read online that one of Rihanna’s favorite movies is Pineapple Express, so we were like, “Oh, she likes our movie. Let’s give her a try.”
Seth Rogen on inviting Emma Watson to join the cast…
You know, as handsome as James Franco is, you want to look at someone else eventually. So we thought it could be funny to throw in a random person that we’re not that comfortable with, and Emma [Watson] just seemed to fit the bill. It was a long shot. I did not think she would do it, but she did, and she’s f*cking hilarious.
Evan Goldberg, James Franco, & Michael Cera on making a fake sequel to Pineapple Express a part of This Is The End…
Goldberg: We’ve discussed Pineapple Express 2 for years. We all had such a good time making that movie. So while we were writing this movie, we discussed the idea of them filming a sequel to one of our other movies within this movie. And in the end, we chose Pineapple Expressbecause we had most of the cast there. [In the film, the surviving friends, who are getting bored being cooped up in Franco’s house, use the 127 Hours camera to make their own Pineapple Express 2.] So this was one of the ideas that the studio was a little unsure of. And I don’t like to admit this, but we said, “Yeah, maybe you’re right.” So we took it out of the script. But then I mentioned it to James on set, and I have never seen his eyes light up like that. He jumped out of his chair, like, “We have to do that! That is the best part of the whole movie. Please. It’s so good. We just need half a day.”
Franco: I said, “This is what is going to make this movie.” The hard thing about sequels is there are so many expectations. You want to give people some of what they loved about the original, but you want it to be different so that they don’t feel like it’s just a replay. One of the traps that sequels fall into is bigger equals better—Revenge of the Nerds Go to Miami or whatever. But in this situation, all the pressure is off, because it’s the characters making it, so it can be low-tech. You don’t have to fall into that trap. Here, smaller is better.
Cera: It’s my favorite sequence. I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was the best use of these guys’ real-life relationships with each other and how ridiculous they are as people. Self-congratulatory and childish at the same time.
Michael Cera, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen on a scene where Cera is slapped by Rihanna…
Cera: In the script, I think it just says, “Michael Cera does a line of cocaine and slaps Rihanna on the ass. And she turns and slaps him back.”
Goldberg: And Michael said to all of us, “I’m going to ask her if I can slap her butt for real. I think it will make the joke way funnier.” And we were like, “Yeah, totally go for it. Go nuts.” And so he asked permission to do the butt slap, and she said, “You can do it, but I’m coming back way harder.” She hit him the first time, the second time, and we were all laughing, and Michael was like, “Oh, it hurts.” And she was laughing and he was laughing. And the third time I think she cupped his ear, and it messed him up.
Rogen: She really slapped the shit out of him like six times, and eventually he said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
James Franco on a poignant masturbation scene in This Is The End…
So there was this scene in the script where Danny was supposed to have masturbated on my Penthouse and ruined it. I would come out, yell at him, and it would just show a further split between us. But there was something about me and Danny with that kind of material. Maybe there was something about my comfort with, you know, sexuality of all kinds, and his character’s discomfort, that might be an underlying thing. Because of all of those things, that improvisation just led to something, like, beyond. It was a moment in the movie, too, where the characters could just kind of lose it, so all of those things mixed together allowed for this beautifully over-the-top, crazy masturbating discussion. When Judd Apatow saw it, he was like, “I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a film.” … Like all comedies,even bad ones, it gets at important issues if you want to examine it. And so this scene is about personal space—you know, guys getting together, talking about masturbation, but they would never do it in front of each other, or if they did, what does that mean?
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