Seth Rogen has always had a talent for making people laugh. The only difference now is that the genial comic generates laughs on a global scale.
With writing and acting credits for “Superbad,” a starring role in “Knocked Up” and four movies due this year, the comedian has scaled Hollywood’s hits list.
“Definitely, I’d say careerwise that things are going good,” Rogen acknowledges. “It’s becoming increasingly easier to work. I’m in the position at times to actually choose what I’m going to do instead of whatever will pay me.”
With his sudden success, the 25-year-old Canadian has discovered a whole new way of working. “Before the only reason I got cast in a movie was that me, or someone I knew, wrote it for me to. Now other people have opened up to letting me be in their world of movies. It’s a whole other experience!”
Case in point: Kevin Smith’s latest, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” in which Rogen plays Zack.
“It’s one of the first movies that I’ve just acted in, and it definitely feels like I’m doing half as much,” he says from the film’s location at Pittsburgh’s Monroeville Mall.
Working with Smith is a big deal for Rogen. “‘Clerks,’ when I saw that, was one of the defining moments of my career,” he says of Smith’s early success. “It’s the first movie I saw where the characters were talking like me and my friends talk to each other — about ‘Star Wars’ and blowjobs and what have you. That was tremendously influential in my writing. And then Kevin Smith told me he wrote a movie for me and I’m in. Thank God I really liked it,” he says of “Zack and Miri.” “It was a very simple process. Usually you have to put a gun to my head to make me finish a script, and I read ‘Zack and Miri’ in one sitting.”
Rogen has a slew of other yet-to-be-released features: He is a co-writer and actor on Owen Wilson’s “Drillbit Taylor” and does the same duties on “Pineapple Express,” which reteams him with James Franco, another alum on “Freaks and Geeks,” the Judd Apatow TV series that launched Rogen’s career in 1999. He’s also the voice of Hogsqueal in the current “The Spiderwick Chronicles” (including a marvelous digestive sound as he eats the ogre), Morton the mouse in “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” and a mantis in “Kung Fu Panda.”
Of performing for animated films, Rogen says: “It’s a chance to play around more than anything. You’re all alone. It’s all about you, which is the opposite of a real movie set where it’s the extras, the background, the talking, a million elements at play. You can explore the dialogue in a way you never can on a real movie set.”
It seems unlikely that success will change this multihyphenate’s ways, however.
“For me, it’s very simple,” Rogen says. “Would I say, ‘Holy fuck! I’ve got to go see that!’? I want to do movies that I would really want to see, and that’s the only way I want to navigate that now.”