Walking into David Gordon Green’s trailer on the set of Pineapple Express it was hard not to notice a g-string lying near the door, just where we could spot it. Breaking the ice, Green was quick to explain the panties were worn by Nicky Katt on his last film Snow Angels. Apparently some “friends” thought they would stage undies in his trailer for fun, “I would never touch them,” Green says with a laugh. “I would stay a mile away from those drawers!”
It’s hard to believe the light-hearted director with a Texas drawl once made the intense dramas All the Real Girls and Snow Angels, and then seamlessly slipped into comedy. Now, he's bringing his own indie flair to the flick along with the unstoppable Judd Apatow and his golden boy, Seth Rogen.
Hollywood.com: How in the world did you get involved with this?
David Gordon Green:
I just met these guys and they were working on Knocked Up at the time and I started hanging out on that set a little bit. I don’t know, they seemed like a good group of folks and they work in a very similar manner in studio comedies that I do and low budget dramas and in terms of style and the way we got to work with actors and stuff like that. We just thought it would be an interesting experiment to see what happened if we took some of my team and some of their team and tried to make a movie together.
HW: What’s it like doing comedy after all that drama?
The easy answer is it is a lot of fun. I needed, just for my head, after investing some serious level of passion and emotion in four movies, four dramatic movies I just felt that it wouldn’t come from a healthy place to do another dramatic movie until I kind of you know exercised other muscles…there is nothing worse than a terrible drama that comes from an artificial place…a bad comedy you can just have a drink or whatever and watch a little bit of it and have a snack and zone out on it, but a bad drama is just bad.
HW: The internet is buzzing about you making this switch. Do you feel pressured to succeed?
I think all the films I’ve made have had a degree of humor in them. I just felt somewhat monitored by the fact that to a degree there is a line you don’t want to cross in a dramatic movie and still be faithful and considerate of the characters and respectful of the material. Again, bringing so much of the same manner and sensibility, you know we are doing a little bit different lighting in this movie because you light differently for comedies. It is a totally different tone and it is ridiculous and over animated sometimes. I always divide people; people love one movie and hate the next. Hate all of them, love all of them so for me personally it is valuable to do something totally different.
HW: Does your directing style differ between comedy and drama?
Here you are searching for a laugh, you are searching for what makes it a little bit different. I think it is a similar bag of tricks and tools, just trying to do things that are outrageous and throw people curve balls because what I try to avoid is people who are so rehearsed and prepared and performances that are so designed and scenes that are so story boarded and kind of prefabricated that it just feels manufactured. So I just try to make it feel loose and imperfect, because imperfect to me is a lot more interesting.
HW: So you are ok with them just going and riffing on each other?
Yesterday we had one set up and I said let’s get Craig [Robinson] and Kevin [Corrigan] who were two kind of side characters and got this lighting set up, there were going to be some wardrobe changes for the other characters before they would be ready and just bring them in and improv a scene and see what happens if Kevin is eating coos coos here and Craig wants to get him out of there. What happens there when you film them and shout stuff off camera to them, see if they throw a line. If I’ve got an idea I’ll give it to them and say “say this” and then they will take that as a cue and go off on some tangent.
HW: How much stoner exclusive humor is there here?
I don’t think any of it is exclusive because I’m not a big pothead and I can’t stop laughing at these guys, so trying to make something that is not so genre specific that would only appeal to Cheech and Chong fans. I did my homework and watched a lot of the stoner movies of the last decade and I don’t think any of them are particularly funny. I even tried getting high for a couple of them and it still didn’t [help]… so it has got to work on different levels [laughs].