For a film about the group dynamics among a group of friends facing the apocalypse, it’s no surprise that the characters in Columbia Pictures' critically acclaimed comedy “This Is The End” were tailor-made for the actors playing the roles. They would all play horrible “versions” of themselves, says co-director/writer Evan Goldberg.
In “This Is The End,” six friends – who just happen to be James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson – are trapped in Franco’s house as the end of the world begins outside. And we’re not talking about any old California-slides-into-the-ocean earthquake… we’re talking the fire-and-brimstone Apocalypse – the real Biblical deal.
“Seth isn’t a duplicitous coward, but he plays one in this film,” Goldbrg says. “Danny is a delightful sweetheart, but his character is a maniac. Franco – the things we mock in Franco in the movie are real, but Franco in real life is nothing like the way he acts in the movie. He genuinely does like art and weird stuff, but it’s not pretentious and he’s not in-your-face about it. He doesn’t care what others think about his art. He just likes art. The only exceptions are Jay, who is more like his character than anyone else in the movie, and Craig, who isn’t a jerk like his character, but is a guy who carries a towel around to wipe sweat off his face.”
“People think they know everything about you based on the characters you play,” says co-director/writer and star Seth Rogen. “So we thought it would be funny to play into that – to have these characters that behave in the way that everybody thinks is what we’re like off-screen. There are elements of our real selves, but we all twisted them or exaggerated them to make it funny.”
Playing yourself can be a challenge – even for an Academy Award® nominee, as Jonah Hill says, “I’ve never slipped out of character more than when I was playing myself.”
But it’s more than just a joke, says Rogen. It’s a way of acknowledging the elephant in the room. “Everybody knows that we’re friends and we’re always in movies together. It was almost weirder that the movie wouldn’t acknowledge that in some way,” says Rogen. “So we thought, OK, let’s acknowledge it, and then let’s move beyond it. We wanted the relationships to feel real. We thought that would be the element that grounded the movie if the dynamics between the characters were real and relatable. So even though the movie gets super-crazy – it’s the Apocalypse – there’s a simple idea at the center that I hope is very believable. We never could have written this movie if we didn’t know these guys – and we definitely couldn’t have directed it.”
Distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International, “This Is The End” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide starting Sept. 11.