Rogen Sings The Blues - Seth Rogen Interview
Writer, actor, producer and Vanity Fair cover star Seth Rogen was in Sydney last month, talking about lending his voice to a dollop of blue goo in the new animated movie Monsters vs Aliens. He spoke to 3D’s Darryn King.
On the way to the interview room, we hear Seth Rogen’s resounding, infectious laugh before we see him. In the latest DreamWorks computer-animated flick, Monsters vs Aliens, you notice that same laugh more than a few times. “I’m convinced those laughs were not intentional for the movie,” says Rogen. “Those were actual laughs they stole from me. They stole my laughter! I felt robbed.”
Rogen has lent his distinctive voice to a few characters over the years. He played the snouty Hogsqueal in The Spiderwick Chronicles and Horton’s diminutive sidekick Moron in Horton Hears A Who!, as well as roles in Shrek The Third and Kung Fu Panda. The week we speak to him, he’s ready to finish recording for an episode of The Simpsons he penned with writing partner Evan Goldberg. In Monsters vs Aliens, Rogen plays an amorphous, gooey blue blob named BOB. “More than anything I just like these movies you know,” he says. “I like the ones that are skewed more to adults than children I should say – I’d never do a Bolt-type animated movie, you know – but I think things like Horton Hears A Who! and Kung Fu Panda and this are the kinds of movies I would go see as a 26-year-old guy. That’s all I like to do: movies that I’d be excited to go see if I had nothing to do with.”
Monsters vs Aliens employs the voice talents of an impressive list of seasoned actors and comedy heavyweights: Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Kiefer Sutherland, Reese Witherspoon and fellow Apatow regular Paul Rudd. Being an animated film, however, the ‘ensemble’ is merely a meticulously-crafted illusion. “Never was I with any of them. It’s really weird. I met Hugh Laurie at the Golden Globes like a month ago and there was a moment: ‘Hey… it’s really weird that we haven’t met each other before…’”
For someone like Rogen, who is known primarily as a group player in the Freaks and Geeks ensemble, the comparatively solitary process has its advantages and drawbacks. “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that acting is reacting – well, when there’s no one else there, that kind of nullifies that theory. But what’s good about it is it’s a lot more imagination-based than a regular live action movie. You can kind of do whatever you want in a way. The process is so fluid and takes so long to solidify, you can just come up with an idea in the recording session and they’ll be like, yeah, maybe we can do that. There’s actually a lot of room for exploration, which I really like. I always think jokes should be as funny as they can possibly be, and for something like this you can really just spend an hour doing one line if you want.”
In Monsters vs Aliens, Rogen still got to employ his flair for improvisation, which has become a hallmark of his work. He did find it tricky, however, to keep BOB from getting too, well, blue. “Yes, there was a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor I would imagine,” Rogen admits, laughing. “At times I would forget the rating. We’d always say, man, if this was R-rated, some of these jokes were killers…”
For someone renowned for his role in slacker comedies, Rogen has been busy, and has another busy year ahead of him: earlier in the year he appeared in Kevin Smith’s Zack & Miri Make A Porno, superior mall cop comedy Observe and Report and Apatow’s latest Funny People are due out soon, and the much-hyped Green Hornet, with Michel Gondry at the helm, is set to go into production. But Rogen is glad of a project like Monsters vs Aliens. “The one ability that I’m amazed and jealous of is the ability to make movies that both kids and adults like. I just can’t do that – I can make movies adults like. I cannot movies kids like also. But these guys have cracked that code and I’m just thrilled to be a part of that.”
Monsters vs Aliens is out now.