Thursday, June 14, 2007

I've been mentally writing a post about Knocked Up, but for a few reasons (insane busy-ness, unwillingness to analyze the movie to death, still thinking about it in general) I haven't written it yet. I did love it and I think you should all go see it and I'll write my thoughts on it later BUT in the meantime, this is a good interview with Seth Rogen. The AV Club always does good interviews I think - you always feel like you know the actor better afterwards. I think Seth Rogen would be fun to hang with. Him and Paul Rudd (yum, I have to admit).

AVC: Was there any one character that you felt most comfortable writing [for Da Ali G Show], that you connected with most strongly?

SR: Oddly enough, we ended up writing a lot of the Bruno stuff. That just started to be very funny to us. I found myself speaking in this gay Austrian voice for weeks and weeks on end. [Laughs.] It kind of begins to seep into your brain. I would go to sleep thinking of Bruno jokes. Ali G was fun to write for, too, just because he was so stupid. [Laughs.]

AVC: In the movie, the decision on whether to keep the baby is settled pretty quickly. You have that scene where Jonah Hill suggests something "that rhymes with sma-smortion," but the story doesn't linger there long. Was there any discussion of having that decision be a bigger part of the movie? Or is that sort of a non-starter as far as the comedy goes?

SR: We always knew that was not something we wanted to dwell on. It wasn't a movie about a woman deciding whether she should keep her baby; it was about a woman who decided she was going to keep the baby. We shot a lot of versions of the scene with Katherine and her mother, where her mother's talking about it. And there's the scene you mentioned where the guys talk about it. But ultimately, we just used as much or as little of it as we felt we needed to and was entertaining. Politically, I have no relevant opinions. I'm not going to shatter anyone's world by our take on Planned Parenthood. But it just seemed like, you need her to make that decision to get to the other hour and a half of the movie, so let's just try to get there.

AVC: What were your experiences showing The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up in front of a test audience? Do you feel like there's anything constructive to be learned from that process?

SR: Yeah. I have become a giant fan of the testing process, especially with a comedy. I mean, they tell you what's funny. It's almost tailor-made for people who shoot the way we shoot, trying a million different options and versions of things. Because the audience doesn't laugh at a joke, we put in another joke. If they don't laugh at the next joke, we put in another joke. We did about 10 test screenings of Knocked Up, and I would have happily done 10 more if the studio would have given us the money. You just keep doing them and you can get the movie to the point where every joke is funny, if you have enough options in the can. It's always a little nerve-wracking, because you never know how that first audience is going to react. But luckily, our movies have tested pretty well. I think it's outrageously useful, the information we get from those audiences.

AVC: But aren't there times when you just have to just trust your instincts that something is funny, even if not everybody gets it?

SR: Yeah. Take the crowning shots [in Knocked Up], for example. Like, I'd say, probably more people pointed out that they didn't like that in the movie than that they did. But we're there, we see how the theater reacts to it, and you know, they clearly like it. [Laughs.] They might not want to say they do. Even if, in retrospect, they didn't enjoy watching it, it made the movie a little bit better and more interesting, and we know that, so we just kind of have to trust that. Same with the singing and dancing at the end of Virgin, actually. Over half of the test audience didn't like the dancing. They were like, "It's weird, it comes out of nowhere." And we just had to say, "It's fucking funny." "I think it's funny. Do you guys think it's funny?" "I think it's fucking funny, too." "Fuck it, let's just put it in."

I liked the dancing parts.

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