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The backstory behind the fantastic 2007 comedy Superbad is a fascinating one. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg actually started working on the script back when they were just 13 years old, and while the film surely went through many, many changes after that first draft, one can’t help but think that their young perspective is what helps make the film feel as authentic as it does funny. Interestingly, this is a fact that’s in no way lost on the screenwriters, as Rogen recently explained to me that he would actually have no interest in writing a movie like Superbad today, simply because he wouldn’t have the same kind of connection with the content.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the main cast of the new comedy The Night Before during a special Los Angeles press day, and it was while talking with Rogen about his career that he explained why Superbad isn’t a project that would raise his pulse these days. Noting that both Neighbors and The Night Before include messages about maturity and reaching a new stage in life, I asked the actor/writer/director/producer if he believed that his sensibilities have personally changed over the years, and he fully believes that they have, explaining,
I think we always try to make movies that are very personal to us, and if they seem really silly, there’s something about all of them that we feel very strongly connected to. In order to do that, you have to change what they’re about. I couldn’t write Superbad today, and I wouldn’t want to write it today. I don’t care that much about what 18-year-olds are doing to dedicate that amount of time and energy into it.
Going further, Seth Rogen added that there are projects that he and Evan Goldberg find themselves working on for a long time, and that those kinds of endurance trials require them to be passionate about the material – otherwise they just won’t have the stamina or interest in making it work as well as they can. Said Rogen,
We spend years working on these movies sometimes, so in order to stay excited about them, I think we’ve found the stronger we relate to them, and the stronger they reflect something we’re going through, the more exciting it is to work on them and the better they turn out usually because of that.
Surely there are some people out there who may be a little upset that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg might never take on another teen comedy – but at the same time it is tremendously hard to find fault with his argument. While the humor can be sophomoric, their scripts do always have an emotional core that’s driving the characters and the story, and if they don’t feel strongly enough about the material to fill that core, then all that would result is a movie that feels like it’s been phoned-in. The good news is that the duo already made Superbad when they were younger, and it’s going to keep audiences laughing for generations.
You’ll be able to see Seth Rogen back on the big screen next week, as The Night Before is arriving in theaters on November 20th… and you can head over to Page Two to watch my full interview with the cast!