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When Rogen and Goldberg finally had a script ready for the feature version-- and a studio willing to finance it-- they started assembling the story specifically for each actor, but only once they could get the schedules worked out.
Rogen: We talked to all these guys about doing it like before we started writing.
Goldberg: We never ever thought they’d all do it - just by scheduling and all that.
Rogen: Yeah, we told them. We were like: “We don’t want to write a fucking movie with you guys in it if you guys aren’t going to do it. So just let us know if it’s something you think you would do.” And everyone said yes and so then we wrote it, after having talked to them all. So we knew we could do it basically.
Robinson: Everyone said I was the first one to say, I'm in. I don’t know if this had been done with people just, everybody's using their real names and stuff like that, so I thought it was ambitious and exciting.
Hill: It was right after I finished Jump Street, I think. I came over to Seth's house and they discussed it with me. There are a few people in my career I've been lucky enough to work with who I would do anything for, and Seth and Evan are those guys. If they ask me to show up, I show up. It doesn't really matter what it is.
McBride: They were fishing around for when was a window of time when everybody would be available. Somehow the continents shifted and everyone could take off for these three months just to come here and have fun.
Rogen: We have some friends that weren’t able to do it, but when you watch it, you’ll notice that not every single person we’ve ever worked with was in it. That’s because a few of them had scheduling conflicts.
Each of the actors were asked to play themselves, but all of them different in some way-- McBride is a much more obnoxious version of himself, Hill a much sweeter one, and Baruchel is presented as the "friend from out of town," even though he acts as much as his co-stars. Some of the actors were on set wearing their own clothes, while others were quick to point out how different they were from their characters.
Goldberg: We definitely started off with everyone being full-blown assholes and then realized that it was too silly and we kind of give them each more realistic characters.
Rogen: Not everyone is an asshole. I don’t think any of these guys are really playing themselves in any real way, but I think every character is rounded to some degree within the reality of the movie.
McBride: Everybody is definitely portrayed in a way that is a little more grotesque than they normally are. Seth oddly enough doesn’t really have any negative attributes in this movie. (Laughs) He comes off as courageous, bold… I don’t know.
Baruchel: I think they take the aspects of our personalities that are most conducive to punchlines and story arcs and exacerbate them, so it’s a tightrope. There’s definitely some stuff I do or say in this movie that real Jay wouldn’t do or say but yeah, it’s strange. We are ourselves and we’re not. It’s kind of Curb Your Enthusiasm-ish in that respect.
Franco: When we started talking about it in pre-production, they said "You're sort of playing the version of yourself that's the most distant from you who you are." Part of that has to do with the dynamics they need for the film. There are aspects of me-- like I'm an actor, I like art, I like Seth-- that the character shares, but it's pushed to a goofy extreme. The character's, y'know, stupider, he's got the emotional level of a 13-year-old. They all do, I think. And you know, he's just a little shallower than I like to think that I am.
Robinson: I don’t think I am as whiny. I cry a lot in this movie, for the silly factor, but I don’t think I am that cry babyish. I think I'd be more like, "Yeah, bring it mother fucker."
Hill: I wanted to play a version of myself – and they'd originally written it differently – but someone who always saw the sympathy in a situation. Someone who was overly sympathetic to everything. And I poke fun at myself. Obviously everyone does in this movie. I went to dinner with an actor who was shooting out here the night before we started shooting, and he had a big diamond stud earring in his ear. So the day we started shooting I said I wanted to wear a big diamond in my ear and they thankfully let me do that.
Robinson: [wearing a T-shirt that says "Take Yo Panties Off] I had a similar t-shirt on at one of the parties that these guys throw, this was a few years back and they remembered it, and they wanted us all to be as close to our actual selves as possible. Literally, some days I have worn these actual jeans to set and then switched into them, into these actual jeans. It's the most comfortable I've probably been [on-set].
McBride: It’s just funny when you read it and you read the fate of your character, you kind of invest a little more, like “Really? This is what happens of me? This is what these guys think of me?” Then you realize everybody gets shit on.
Franco: This is I think unusual because it's being done in a mainstream, commercial movie. But I think other shows, like reality shows, like the Osbournes pushed it further than what we're doing, the Kardashians push it further than what we're doing. You think you're getting a real taste of who they are. I hope nobody watches this and thinks "Oh, that's what they're really like." There are ways to push it further. This is just, this is new because of the commercial film frame and bringing it into a heavy effects kind of film. LIke if the Kardashians suddenly were fighting aliens or something like that, sorta like that.
Baruchel: At this point, who the fuck cares? Like people will infer what they infer, I’ve learned that a long time ago, and if I got worried about people assuming I’m like the characters I play I probably would have quit ten years ago. In those rare moments when I’m faced with that, I just remind myself that less than a quarter of actors can feed themselves from acting and I’ve been able to have a career doing that for 18 years, so that trumps any of that stereotyping issue.
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