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All of the actors have worked together previously, of course, and their comfort with each other showed clearly on set. Some were more open than others about how much this reunion meant to them personally.
McBride: I’m trying to think of when we have all been in the same room together. Independently we have all been together, but yeah this is union hasn’t happened… I think my wedding was the last time all four of us [Franco, Rogen, Robinson and McBride-- the Pineapple Express crew] were together, yeah, in a swimming pool filled with piss.
Hill: My college experience was making movies with these guys. We all started out together and have grown and evolved in different ways. To have everyone assembled together for a movie like this, and have had them start together, is rare. I know this is my last comedy for the next year, year-and-a-half probably, so it feels like a cap to my early 20s. I don't know how to put it without making it sound like it wasn't important for anyone else, only me, but it's rare to get to work with this many people you've known for years and years and years. The next three things I'm doing are more hardcore, emotionally, and this is really fun. It's cathartic and fun, there's no other adjective I have for it. It's fun, there's no pressure or intensity, it's just really a laugh.
Robinson: We definitely done some hanging, seen some suns come up, like… One night we went to the House of Blues, we went at 2:30 and just hung out and then everyone sharpened themselves up… We had some dinners, went on a swamp tour. You know, New Orleans, you got to get your rhythm, this town will exhaust you, but it's been fun every night.
There are drastic differences between each take we see them shoot, with Rogen, Goldberg and even some of the actors throwing out line suggestions while the camera rolls. As you'd expect from guys who have worked this long with Judd Apatow, improv is highly encouraged, and Rogen and Goldberg know they're setting themselves up to find the movie in the editing room.
Rogen: The truth is we’ve had a hundred billion conversations with every element of this movie, literally, for the last six years when we started thinking of it. We kind of know how we want everything to be in a general way, and then there’s the general throw out any idea you want during the scene rule.
McBride: It’s one of those things where you really have to be really paying attention to what’s happening in a scene. You’ve got to be able to feel those rhythms of when someone is going for a run you’ve got to be able to step back and let them do it. It does become that game where it’s like you don’t want it to be like every single person is just trying to fill every blank space with a joke and I think all of these guys have been really good about that, like you can kind of sense when it’s somebody’s turn to do something.
Rogen: It’s so silly to have all these guys in a movie together and not let them riff-off each other. You know, that was always our plan. It’s not that different then from capturing stunts at times. We put as many cameras on it as we can and we hope something fucking awesome is going to happen - and that is kind of what it’s like. So it would be silly for us to be too, strict with the lines because these guys - most of them are movie writers in their own rights. So it’s silly to not get their ideas and shit like that.
McBride: All of these guys, from Jay to Franco to Craig, everyone has worked with these guys before and they know the routine and much improv is involved and so yeah, it’s just easy. You’re just in the scene and if you’re on a good run, Seth and Evan will encourage you to keep going or throw things your way if you’re going down the wrong path. It’s actually been very easy working with them as directors.
Baruchel: This flick is their voice, 150%. It’s obviously a collaboration—that’s not just lip service—but they encourage it. You guys will see that they foster that atmosphere. That being said, this is Seth and Evan effectively given a blank slate to do whatever they want with. I won’t go so far as to say carte blanche but damn near close, as close as they’ve come so far. As a friend and a fan of theirs, that’s kind of exciting.
Rogen: I mean I think our style is probably closest to Judd in the way that he is willing to completely let a new scene materialize on the day and in the moment. We haven’t worked with that many other people and on our movies you know, the ones that aren’t Judd movies, there’s usually a different writer than director - so there’s some level of respect that happens. The director won’t just suddenly say like, “Throw out all the fucking lines go crazy!” But since we’re both, we can do that, which is nice and there have been some scenes that we’ve done one take of and it’s like “This isn’t right” and we’ll literally, completely, re-write all of it in a few minutes. Or we’ll just improvise for an hour and see if something better comes up and it usually does and then we’ll just go with that version.
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