'Apocalypse' is now for Rogen, Baruchel


Can the end of the world be funny? Mandate Pictures thinks so, and it's turning a short Internet trailer Seth Rogen did with his friends on the subject into a feature film.

"Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse" will star Rogen and Jay Baruchel and be written and produced by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.

The story revolves around two guys who, with the end the world unfolding and the planet invaded by monsters, are ready to kill each other after being cooped up together for too long.

Goldberg and Jason Stone came up with the story, adding into the mix Rogen and Baruchel, pals and fellow Canadians since their "Undeclared" days. Stone directed a short trailer for it last year in the hopes that the concept could one day be turned into a movie. (A short film is currently in post.)

One day came sooner than later when Mandate, which has been looking for ways to continue its push into comedy following its massive success with "Juno," aggressively pursued the project and beat out several suitors.

"It was exciting for us when we convinced these guys to try a business outside of the studio (system)," said Kahane, who is exec producing with Stone and Baruchel.

The deal that the two parties have carved out is unique in that it gives Rogen and Goldberg full creative authorship of the movie and significantly — allowing for a few financial parameters that both sides have agreed to — final cut.

"You don't do it for everybody," said Kahane on the subject of final cut. "You do it for people who you get to know over a period of time and you get a sense of whether they are your kind of people or they aren't. Sam Raimi has final cut on every Ghost House movie we've ever had. … Sometimes you want to get into bed with talent you want to trust and are willing to show them that trust contractually."

The plan is to hire a director this summer and, with a budget in the range of other Rogen movies, shoot in 2009, working in concert with Rogen's packed schedule. The multihyphenate is currently working with Adam Sandler on Judd Apatow's latest directorial effort, an untitled comedy, and then plans to shoot "The Green Hornet," which he and Goldberg are now writing, early next year. That action comedy has a June 2010 release date, recently pushed back from a year earlier.

"He's busy, but he's also unbelievably focused on his business," Kahane said. "I've never seen anyone turn around material faster or notes or whatever. He's good."

Tendo Nagenda will oversee the project for Mandate along with Kahane.

Rogen and Goldberg are repped by UTA, with Rogen additionally repped by Principal Entertainment.

Baruchel, who appeared with Rogen in "Knocked Up" and will next be seen in "Tropic Thunder," is repped by CAA and Thruline Entertainment.

Stone is repped by CAA. (partialdiff)