Guy love is complicated enough, but what happens when a drug dealer thinks he’s actually friends with his clients? This is just the answer Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg set out to find with their new weed action movie, Pineapple Express.
Hollywood.com and our fellow journalists had a few questions of our own when we met up with Rogen (who stars as Dale in the film) on the set Pineapple out at Downey Studios last year. Read on to find out what his mom thought the first time she found drugs in his backpack, which pot movies inspired him and more …
Hollywood.com: Explain the intricacies of your character Dale’s relationship with his drug dealer Saul.
Seth Rogen: [Saul] thinks we’re friends, but I just think he’s my pot dealer. And throughout the movie it comes out that I don’t actually even like him. I just kind of pretend to be nice to him because he sells really good weed. But he really thinks that we’re friends and kind of really wants to be friends. And then I kinda slowly realize that he’s actually my only friend!
HW: How did you guys come up with this story?
SR: [Judd Apatow] had the notion that there was a process server for some reason, which we went with, that witnesses a murder. And the notion, basically, was: Would you quit smoking weed if your life literally depended on it. That was kind of our starting off point. And then it really turned into this kind of examination of drug dealer/drug buyer relationship and how awkward that could be. All our movies are thinly veiled homoerotic love stories. And this is no exception.
HW: We’ve seen Saul, aka your costar James Franco, running around here in quite the get up, is that traditional drug dealer fashion?
SR: Seems like it. Guatemalan pants and a funny t-shirt, the t-shirt’s amazing…It’s a shark eating a cat.
HW: What about those long locks, that’s a new look for him?
SR: Yeah, his hair’s amazing. What’s funny is, it’s like a wig and I always forget it’s a wig. It’s like, I feel like I have a hard time talking to him without the wig on [laughs]. He’s much more accessible with that wig for some reason. Without it, it’s like, that’s James Franco man, that’s the Green Goblin [laughs], but with it, he’s just some stupid pothead [laughs].
HW: How did David Gordon Green adapt to comedy, after all those indie flicks?
SR: I don’t know if you’ve seen Snow Angels, but it’s one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen in my life I think. And what’s funny is I hadn’t even seen his movies when we hired him. I met him and I know a lot of people that are obsessed with his movies. I met him and I thought this guy’s f*cking rad! Let’s hire him. And then I went and watched his movies and I’m like, wow, I hope we didn’t blow it [laughs].
HW: Pineapple Express is a fake type of weed, how did you come up with the name?
SR: It was literally in high school; Evan came up to me one day and was like, ‘I just learned about this weather system called the Pineapple Express. It’s a warm wind that comes in from Hawaii and affects the west coast of North America.’
HW: Were you inspired by any other “pot” movies, like Half Baked?
SR: I love Half Baked and I loved Dazed and Confused. But, you know, it’s interesting with weed movies; I mean like, a lot of them function well as weed movies and that’s it…That’s kind of where we had to be cautious here, I mean obviously this movie is made for people who love weed [laughs] but not everyone does.
HW: Is you’re mom is comfortable with the subject matter?
SR: She’s fine, she’s found enough weed in my drawer in high school to know [laughs] what’s happening. I got a job; she can’t worry about me anymore. But I gotta say she’s the one who really sparked my love for action movies. I mean, Die Hard is her favorite movie of all time. So I had a healthy diet of Paul Verhoeven and John McTiernan growing up. [laughs]
HW: How did she react the first time she found weed in your drawer?
SR: Not well. It started with a bang actually. What’s funny is they’d never found anything on me and then like the last day of grade eight, they found an ounce of mushrooms in my backpack. They weren’t even mine, I wasn’t taking them. I was kind a middleman [laughs]. And so that was like, very jarring to go from never… like she never caught me drinking or anything, to find an ounce of mushroom so I think, beyond that, finding a joint here or there, was like, a least he doesn’t have a f*cking ounce of hallucinogens [laughs].
HW: So it worked out well.
SR: Exactly! Now I know… message for the kids, start out with something horrible, scale it back after that [laughs].
Check out the rest of our Pineapple Express set visit coverage!
While visiting the set of Pineapple Express, Hollywood.com had the chance to pull up a folding chair alongside James Franco just outside the set for a late night chat about the new pot comedy.
It turns out Franco, who spent the past few years starring in the Spiderman trilogy and attending grad school, was ready to return to his comedic roots. He says even Judd Apatow (Pineapple producer) took notice, telling him, “I miss the funny Franco.”
Now, the wait is almost over as Franco takes his role as Saul the drug dealer to the big screen - long hair, stoner garb and all.
HW: What’s going on with the hair?
James Franco: I guess I haven’t really done much comedy since Freaks and Geeks and this role is very different than anything I’ve done. I think the hair is really a way to push me even farther out of just what people know me for. I don’t really know what people know me for.
HW: So is this your complete wardrobe for the film?
JF: It’s very comfortable if anything. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Guatemalan pants. I have one wardrobe change in the whole movie so we tried a variety of things. Some sweatpants. The idea was to have something that I would wear lounging around the house and then he comes over and I have to leave immediately so I don’t get the chance to change. I don’t know anybody that would wear Guatemalan pants. I hear Woody Harrelson wears them. I don’t love them. But, after the test they were the most interesting. I wanted to wear hotel slippers. You know how people take those from hotels? But, there’s so much action in this that it would have been a hindrance because they would have fallen off.
HW: Can you describe your shirt to our readers?
JF: This is actually a David Gordon Green design. There is a I think it’s supposed to be a Great White shark although it’s a bit shaded so it’s black. There’s a kitten in it that looks serene. It’s almost like it’s sleeping. I think the shark is not eating it, but carrying it to safety. The kitten was left out in the ocean and this shark decided to put it in it’s mouth and carry it to shore.
HW: What was it like working with Seth Rogen again after all of this time?
JF: It’s great. As far as I know, Freaks and Geeks was his first professional job. He was funny on that, but you look back to episodes and they really didn’t give him a ton to do. Off camera he was always cracking us up…I think we’re a great team. Other people have said, ‘Oh this movie kind of reminds me of the action buddy movies that I watched when I was younger like Midnight Run. But, I see it more like an Abbot and Costello kind of thing. I keep telling him that we should take these characters and do other movies like Saul and Dale meet like the equivalent of Frankenstein or maybe like the Saw guy.
HW: Is it true you and Seth actually switched roles?
JF: They had been doing readings of this for years and I think Seth always read Saul. Then they gave it to me and they didn’t tell me what role I was playing. I assumed I was playing Dale. I thought it was really funny, but I thought, ‘Oh man. I really like Saul. He’s got all the funny lines.’ So we met after I read it and then it became clear they wanted me to play Saul, I was surprised but I was like perfect. So that’s the best of both worlds. I think it worked out great. I would say he’s the more feminine role in the relationship.
HW: Aren’t you the one who wants to be his really good friend and he isn’t having it?
JF: Exactly. It’s kind of a love story.
HW: You almost get that kind of homoerotic feeling.
JF: There’s a little bit of that. I’d say a lot of that is David Gordon Green’s influence. It’s definitely about two people coming together. A relationship between a dealer and his client. I don’t know from experience. The last time I bought pot was in high school, but I’ve been told that a lot of times dealers can be weird or it’s kind of a weird relationship. So at the beginning, he doesn’t want anything. He just wants my product and wants to get out of there. I’m kind of a lonely guy. I really like him. We get thrown into this situation together and of course throughout the movie, we become a lot closer.
Check out the rest of our Pineapple Express set visit coverage!
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