Seth Rogen is in the middle of a strange controversy right now over comments he made that seemed to question the legitimacy of Israel — words he may have made in jest. Perhaps that’s why some people missed another big revelation the actor and filmmaker made while promoting his HBO movie An American Pickle: Hollywood, it seems, wasn’t interested in a sequel to one of his biggest hits, Pineapple Express.
As caught by Entertainment Weekly, Rogen was speaking to Howard Stern, and the two got on the subject of the 2008 movie that arguably proved the fame he acquired after Knocked Up was no fluke. A “weed action-comedy,” as Rogen put it, the film paired him and fellow Freaks and Geeks alum James Franco as a stoner and his dealer who get embroiled in some dangerous mayhem. It was a smash, which these days automatically leads to a sequel, a franchise, etc. But 2008 seems to have been a very different time. When Rogen and team circled back, they had the door slammed in their faces.
“We tried to make one and thanks to the Sony hack you can actually find the email when Sony decided to kill the movie and not make it,” Rogen told Stern, referring to 2014 incident when Wikileaks published oft-shocking emails stolen from the super-company. “So, it was something we were very open to several years ago but Sony was not that interested in it.”
Why on earth did Sony not want a Pineapple Express 2? Rogen has one theory. “I think we probably wanted too much money,” Rogen said. “Studios, they don’t like giving away money. Weird thing.”
But don’t cry too hard for Rogen, et al. He’s had plenty of hits since then, and he and Franco even returned to Sony for a movie that nearly caused an international incident: the Kim Jong-un satire The Interview. Meanwhile, supporting player Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green recently collaborated on the latest Halloween reboot whose sequel you’ll have to wait till next year to see.
Rogen also reflected upon how unique Pineapple Express was then (and, one could argue, now). “It’s a tough genre,” Rogen added. “When we made Pineapple Express there were not a lot of great weed movies. As we would tell people we were making a weed action movie, they looked at us like we were f*cking so stupid and crazy.”