Evan Goldberg Talks This is the End, available now on Blu-ray and DVD
Was This Is the End the funniest movie of the summer? Definitely. Will it end up being the funniest movie of the year? It will be a close race, that's for sure. What sounded like a vanity project for some of this generation's biggest and brightest stars actually proves to be one of the most inventive, scary, and downright hysterical comedies of all time. Its this millennium's Ghostbusters, and it finds Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and James Franco all living in a house together, trying to survive the apocalypse.
The film marks the directorial debut of writing partners Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, who brought us the now classic Superbad and its equally iconic follow-up Pineapple Express. We recently caught up with Evan to talk about the evolution of the film, how he split up directorial duties with Seth on set, their next project, which is an animated comedy called Sausage Party, and the fact that Seth Rogen may play Bigfoot on TV very soon.
Here is our conversation, which kicks off with us discussing Seth Rogen's penned episode of The League, Rafi and Dirty Randy, which finds the two heathens involved in a Beverly Hills Cop-style murder mystery...
Did you watch the Rafi and Dirty Randy episode of The League this past week?
Evan Goldberg: I just watched The League with Seth Rogen about 30 minutes ago, and I think it's the funniest episode of television I've ever seen.
Do you have any inside Intel into that episode?
Evan Goldberg: I have Seth here beside me, what do you want to know?
Is Rafi really dead? Did they really kill him off?
Evan Goldberg: He says to note that it says one year later, into the show. So you'll have all that time between this last episode, and then a year later when they actually kill him off.
That's what I was thinking. I guess Rafi could come back any time during the rest of this Football season...But then what happens?
Evan Goldberg: Its no stretch of the imagination to say that he will be in the rest of this season...But who am I to guess? I had all of these same questions! I just love it!
I know you had nothing to do with the episode, but you're as close as I can get to some information on it. It seriously blew me away, that episode. Its like a mini-movie, in a way...
Evan Goldberg: You're saying everything that I was saying this morning. Yes, exactly! It's a mini-movie. Its like an epic short film in a way. The whole lead-up to it, Seth was like, "You've got to see this! its one of the best things I've ever done! I'm so proud!" And I really thought he was tooting his own horn, or something.
What was the deal, though? Did Seth and Jason Mantzoukas have an idea for a Beverly Hills Cop type movie, and it just wasn't long enough, so they snuck it onto The League? Like, this is the perfect format to do this in...
Evan Goldberg: It's so funny, these are the exact questions I asked him! (Laughs) He says they just came up with it, and they let them do it.
I guess I shouldn't be asking all of these questions through you to Seth Rogen about an episode of a TV show...
Evan Goldberg: We can do this whole interview about The League and Seth! That was such a fun episode!
Well, we're here because one of this summer's best comedies, if not the summer's best comedy, is coming to Blu-ray this week. This is the End actually started out as a short film called Seth and Jay Vs the Apocalypse. Can you take me through how you got from there to here, with this feature length version of the same idea?
Evan Goldberg: It was two different ideas that merged eventually. Seth and I had always discussed doing a movie like this. It actually started as a comic book. We thought it would be cool to have a comic book that said, "Starring Seth Rogen!" Then he is playing an actor like he does in the movie. That turned into Seth Rogen and Busta Rhymes, what if they're both on the Sony Lot making a movie, and Seth is in the middle of shooting when something epic and amazing happens. That was how the movie started, but then we finished it, and we weren't sure. We came back to the short. We were sitting on the couch one day, talking about it, "What is the biggest thing we could do with the lowest budget?" We came up with this idea, and we came up with what I guess you could call an outline. We kept thinking about it, and we decided that maybe Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel could play themselves, per se. And this event could happen to them. Now, it was called Seth & Jay, and we had the short, so we would pitch it....We would bring it up every now and then, and every time we said it, we decided that the thing that would be most interesting, is if it were just Seth & Jay. So we decided to open it up more, and bring more guys in. We thought it would be a funnier dynamic if it were these five guys in this house. We realized it was perfect. We fell in love with this idea ourselves. So we set out to do that....(the phone cuts out)...Well...
Your phone cut out, I lost you at the end right there a little bit...
Evan Goldberg: I'm not sure where I started breaking up...
Just right at the very end, I don't think I lost too much...
Evan Goldberg: Let's just say that last little bit is gone to the wind. People won't care too much...
Can you take me through the dynamic on set? This is Seth and your directorial debut, he's on camera for almost the entire movie. How did that partnership work?
Evan Goldberg: Much to our surprise...Legally...You have to do it the way we did it...We have to do everything together, and they are very specific about it. We have to do everything side by side, and it's a finite package. It allowed us to work a little closer with the actors. If I needed someone to go in a direction that would help the film, he is there with them, in front of the camera. He can kind of take care of that, while I do what I want technically. We agree on most things...(phone breaks up)...Which hardly ever happens...
You're breaking up really bad now. I can barely make out what you are saying...
Evan Goldberg: I don't mean to do it!
(Laughs) I know! I don't know if its my line or your line, but its getting really spotty...I can't hear you...
Evan Goldberg: Its probably my line.
I think I caught most of it. I can take it all and cobble together the perfect sentence.
Evan Goldberg: You can make up anything I say. I'm okay with that.
All of the guys are taking shots at each other in the movie. Did this kind of lead into the Franco Roast?
Evan Goldberg: (Laughs) That's so funny, man. Yeah, I don't know that this had anything to do with that. I wouldn't say that anything we do in the movie is actual roasting.
You weren't involved with how that all came about? You didn't even write any of the jokes for that show?
Evan Goldberg: Ehhhhh....I wrote a few jokes for some of the guys. Jonah. I didn't really have much to contribute....(the phone breaks up for a considerable amount of time)...It is your phone!
Evan Goldberg: Its your phone! Its been you all along!
(Laughs) I've never had any problems with this phone. But you know what, I'll say its my phone. I'll take full responsibility. Now, I want to know, I haven't looked at the Blu-ray yet. What are some of the special features included on this home release? Are there still a lot of scenes we haven't seen yet?
Evan Goldberg: We didn't even come remotely close to getting it all up on screen. No, a lot of it wound up on the DVD. We have quite a few deleted scenes, and its all-watchable stuff. We have a very delightful gag reel. Some of the deleted scenes...When you are in the editing room, it hurts, and its hard to lose stuff. But a lot of the stuff was disturbing to show, it went past the boundaries of okay. If that's the case...Just put it on the DVD! (Laughs)
When the movie came out, I saw a lot of reviews complimenting the editing, and the pace of the humor and the story itself. Its pretty well executed. Were you and Seth the sole voice on the shaping of this movie? You guys must have gotten exactly what you wanted, since we don't see an extended director's cut of the movie coming out.
Evan Goldberg: Um...Well, first of all, I have to give credit to Zene Baker, who does all of our movies lately. He did 50/50 and a couple of our other movies. He's fucking awesome, and we're always on the same page. We were there all day long. We didn't want to make a really long movie. There is no point. We are here to entertain people. We can't take too long, we can't gamble with our level of entertainment. So, there are some moments...When Danny McBride shows up the first time, it was twice as long, and we loved it. We kept it, we thought it was cool, and it would be nice and epic. But we realized that it was okay to bring it down, and make a shorter, nicer version. That happens a lot.
I have to be honest with you, I was glad there wasn't a director's cut. Whenever I see a different version of a movie I've already seen, and fallen in love with, I just can't get into the newer version. Its like Superbad. I must have seen that movie fifteen times. I saw the director's cut once, cause its not the same movie for me.
Evan Goldberg: I'm on the exact same page as you. Extended cuts are usually never as good, otherwise that's what they would have released in the movie theater. But we don't have a director's cut here, we didn't think we needed one, and its validating to hear you say that. Sometimes its just annoying. I watch Superbad on TV, and I can't...(the phone cuts out again)...
Are you there?
Evan Goldberg: Here!
I'm sorry this phone sucks! I didn't do the update this morning...The Ios7, or whatever it is...
Evan Goldberg: I didn't hear any of that...Wait, you're back!
I didn't do the new iPhone update...My phone my just be crumbling in my hand...
Evan Goldberg: That's right! Your phone just ain't compatible with my phone! You can't get down with my ios7!
That may well be the case! Now, they just announced Sausage Party. What can you tell me about that? It sounds pretty crazy...
Evan Goldberg: Sausage Party is an existential mock-Pixar movie that we are about to make, and we are very, very proud of it. Its our opus. Its like Mr. Holland's Opus! (Laughs)...(the phone cuts out)...
Evan Goldberg: No, no, no...I said it was existential...
That's the problem with the phone cutting out. I'll tell everyone its X rated, and you'll be like, "What? I never said that!"
Evan Goldberg: Exactly! It's our take on a Pixar movie. It is very, very R rated.
That sounds awesome, actually. Myself, I get sick of seeing all of these CGI cartoon movies, it makes my brain hurt...
Evan Goldberg: I can't relate to you any longer. I wish there were fifty Pixar movies every year. But listen, someone should take those motherfuckers down a notch. Those high and mighty bastards.
Now, to be clear, I'm okay with Pixar. When I say I'm tired of them, I'm talking the full spectrum of today's animated movies, all these CGI movies from Sony and DreamWorks, and whatever else is our there...
Evan Goldberg: We're mocking all animated movies, with a special eye on Pixar.
And its about a sausage that goes on an adventure through the super market, correct?
Evan Goldberg: Yes, it is about a sausage in a supermarket. That is correct. He goes on an epic journey to get back to his isle before the 4th of July, and reunite with his pack of sausage friends.
Does the movie end gruesomely?
Evan Goldberg: Does it what?
It can't end well for the sausage, right? He's going to get consumed on the 4th of July. Someone is going to get him and eat him, right?
Evan Goldberg: I can't tell you. Its our secret. I can't tell you too much!
It sounds awesome! I can't wait to see it. Now, you're also doing something else that sounds pretty exciting. You're making a weekly TV series about Bigfoot, and how he has to acclimate himself back into society?
Evan Goldberg: Yes, there is this remarkable Bigfoot book. Its called Me Write Book, It Bigfoot Memoir. Its written by...I can never pronounce his name...Graham Roumieu...And its hysterical. Its about a manic depressive Bigfoot, and he tries, but he doesn't quite fit in. We've been working on it for quite a while...
You cut out again...
Evan Goldberg: Damn it! Did you hear anything?
You said you'd been working on bringing this book to TV for a while.
Evan Goldberg: That's the last thing I said, I think. You are just slowly realizing that I am a terrible conversationalist.
Who do you have an eye on to play Bigfoot?
Evan Goldberg: There is a very big chance that Seth Rogen will play Bigfoot...But we're undetermined.
Is he more open to returning to TV on a weekly basis since he did The League?
Evan Goldberg: The League has popped his peach. It has popped his cherry. Actually, he was on Dawson's Creek a long time ago. Its on Youtube. There is a montage of all his scenes from that one episode.
This Is the End Blu-ray and DVD are available starting today.
This Is the End was released June 12th, 2013 and stars James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson. The film is directed by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen.