In the midst of a really busy time about a month a go, I pretty much missed out on Montreal’s two great summer festivals, film oriented FantastiaFest and funny oriented Just For Laughs. Just For Laughs also has a film festival, and one of the few things I did participate in was its screening and panel for Pineapple Express, which opens today in theatres.
Part conventional action flick, part crass-but-intelligent pot comedy, the film is a slight departure from Apatowia (because of the former sub genre), but still intensely entertaining. Like Superbad, it surprised me in how endearing it felt. James Franco and Danny McBride in particular effectively had me smiling every second they were on screen. Its also very, very funny – occasionally even quite inventive in its humour – and I can’t see how anyone without a stick up their ass would not have a wonderful 100 minute escape.
Anyway, I’ll briefly highlight the panel, with a few photos and a few quotes. I’ve outblogged myself today in an effort to make up for two weeks off, but wanted to get this up before the film came out, or I never would.
In general: Apatow and Rogen talked about how the script had been sitting on the shelf for a while, and that Apatow felt “like the Rogen hunger is happening right now” so they better get it out. He joked that “everything we have done has been a result of long periods of unemployment,” and worried they might start running out of scripts now that they obviously are without that problem.
On Franco’s casting: Rogen said he had written that part for himself, until Franco said he wanted to it. “I always thought James was really funny,” he said. “But I assumed he was really happy making ‘Tristan & Isolde’ and ‘Annapolis.’ Or ‘Flyboys.” Which is not a great film. But when I ran into him he was like ‘I don’t like any of these movies either.'”
On their own pot smoking: Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg are both Canadian (Goldberg even went to university in Montreal, which two Montreal journalists pointed out during the Q&A). Though Goldberg kept very quiet during the panel, Rogen spoke for them both, admitting that, for “Express,” “growing up in Vancouver was research in itself.” “We’d never really seen a movie that dealt with our everyday weed experience,” said Rogen. “It was definitely based on a lot of experiences we had.”
On David Gordon Green: Rogen commented: “He’s the weirdest guy ever. He’s really strange. He looks 11 years old…. And I think it worked out good.” Apatow said that “none of [Green’s] films are a laugh riot.” It was Danny McBride and Jody Hill (of The Foot Fist Way, a film Apatow championed at least six times during the panel) that brought Green to Apatow. “They made ‘Fist Foot Way’ and we loved it so much. How could he be wrong.”
On ‘Mad Men’: Says Apatow: “It was the first time I felt bad not doing TV in a while. Everytime I watched ‘Mad Men’ I’m jealous. But I still haven’t cracked the code as to how to not get cancelled.”
On standup (which Rogen did in Montreal the night before): Rogen said: “I’m like Don Johnson putting a band together. But what I’ve lost in skill I’ve gained in recognition. And I’m from Canada. I didn’t even need to say a fucking thing.”