For Seth Rogen, Wednesday night’s premiere of Sony’s Christmas comedy “The Night Before” at downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel brought back a strong sense of deja vu — given that “The Interview” premiered nearly a year earlier at the same venue, albeit under much different circumstances.
“This is such a different vibe from ‘The Interview’ premiere, which was a lot of fun. For one thing, this one is different because we’re actually going to get the movie out into theaters,” Rogen recalled with his trademark chuckle.
At the time of “The Interview’s” Dec. 11 premiere, Sony had endured a painful cyberhack and growing retaliatory threats, later revealed to be issued from North Korea — leading to major chains refusing to show the movie at all. That premiere was subdued — with a small press line and talent declining interviews.
“I like this theater a lot and actually have very fond memories of that premiere,” Rogen mused. “It was a really nice break from all the craziness at that point.”
After Sony canceled the release, President Obama weighed in, saying that the studio had “made a mistake.” Days later, Sony reversed course and announced that “The Interview” would screen in independent theaters and stream on VOD, and revealed subsequently it had been in discussions to take those steps at the point that it said it had announced the cancellation.
“The Night Before” launched with great Yuletide cheer, starting with red and green decorations, holiday togs and dancers on the red carpet, including three with giant heads dressed as stars Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie.
Guests also got into the holiday spirit. “Sometimes you just have to wear a crappy reindeer sweater,” said Aaron Hill of his outfit.
“The Night Before” stars Rogen, Gordon-Levitt and Mackie as longtime friends partying hearty on Christmas Eve in New York.
Rogen, who also produced with childhood friend Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, said the plan was always to bring plenty of heart and the usual R-rated laughs to the narrative. “Every movie we make is the exact movie we want to make,” he said.
Gordon-Levitt said that working with Michael Shannon, who plays the enigmatic Mr. Green, was the highlight of the shoot.
“He’s such a brilliant actor, so powerful and skilled,” Gordon-Levitt said. “There’s a thing in our culture where comedy is seen as the goof-off brother. It’s so cool to see an actor like him turn his efforts towards comedy.”
Lizzy Caplan admitted to a fangirl moment for another co-star. “I was a little star-struck by Miley Cyrus,” she said.
Also in attendance were James Franco, Randall Park, LL Cool J, director Jonathan Levine, James Marsden; Sony’s Tom Rothman, Josh Greenstein and Doug Belgrad; and Good Universe’s Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane.