'This Is the End': Judd Apatow Taught Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg the 'Science' of Comedy
The apocalypse has arrived, and not even Hollywood stars are immune to its wrath.
Hundreds of fans gathered at Westwood’s Regency Village Theatre on Monday to catch a glimpse of the This is the End cast as they graced the red carpet for the film’s world premiere. The film’s team, including Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling and Paul Rudd, smiled for the cameras and made nice with reporters before the movie debuted.
In their first directorial outing, Rogen and Goldberg also produced and co-wrote the film -- with Rogen starring in it as well. With years of experience together and the help of mentor Judd Apatow, the duo created The End by drawing inspiration from Apatow’s comedic and directorial influence.
“Judd Apatow trained us to do this, so we got it down to a science thanks to him,” Goldberg told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s like the Henry Ford of movies. He figured out how to create a system that ensures a funny movie, no matter what. We kind of do that for a lot of what we do and it helps us get to where it needs to be.”
The comedy follows six friends -- all of whom play heightened versions of themselves -- trapped in James Franco’s house as the apocalypse tears down the world surrounding them. With their only safety from the terror enveloping Los Angeles being acceptance into heaven, the group must learn the true meaning of friendship and evaluate the decisions they have made in their lives.
Although Franco, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera were unable to attend the premiere, the tight-knit cast credits their chemistry with having worked together on multiple Rogen-Goldberg productions.
When asked to pick favorites within his crew, Rogen balked.
“It’s like picking your favorite child,” he said. “They were all good in their own ways."
With a diverse set including several of Hollywood’s most notable comedians, Rogen and Goldberg wrote their script knowing there would be additional improvisations. According to Goldberg, the dialogue in the finished film is 50 percent from the script and 50 percent from improvisation.
“These guys wrote a great script and they’re kind enough to let you just go in there and rip on it and do whatever you want with it,” said Eastbound & Down star McBride. “It can be tricky when you have that many people in there improv-ing, but somehow it just worked out; everyone was just very giving.”
While the film is based off a short film Rogen and Baruchel made in 2006 with just $2,000, Baruchel said the film is “more unfettered” compared to other films involving the cast, since this time “the inmates took over the asylum.”
Robison echoed Barchuel’s statements, noting that even with his background with films such as Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine, This Is the End was the “most outrageous thing I've been a part of.”
The film includes cameos from many stars, including Cera, Rudd, Watson, Kaling, Rihanna and Jason Segel.
“This is the most meta thing we’ve ever done,” Goldberg said. “It’s just really amusing to us to kind of peel things apart and the idea of people playing themselves -- and the mere fact that all these guys were willing to actually go at themselves as hard as they do -- it tickled us in all the right ways.”
Goldberg noted that Cera’s role as a cocaine-fueled, sex addict version of himself was his favorite part of the film, proclaiming that his performance is worthy of an Oscar. "It is the performance of a lifetime," he said. "I’d compare it to Daniel Day Lewis. Though I know the Academy won’t take Michael’s performance seriously, he should win a f--king Oscar for this. If you know who he is and who he turned himself into for this movie, it’s epic."
Rogen and Goldberg won't be resting anytime soon. The duo are currently working on The Interview, which will center around Franco as a reporter and Rogen as his production assistant, as they schedule an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
While Rogen and Goldberg’s previous works Pineapple Express and Superbad garnered success with viewers and critics, judgment day awaits this apocalyptic comedy, opening in theaters June 12.