Seth Rogen has been doing promotional rounds over the last few weeks, as the marketing face of Like Father, a Netflix movie written and directed by Rogen’s wife, Lauren Miller, starring Kelsey Grammar and Kristen Bell (the movie is very pleasant, although Rogen’s role is fairly limited). One of those stops came last week on Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, which makes some weird sense. Rogen was on the podcast to promote his wife’s film starring Shepard’s wife.
It was a lengthy two-hour conversation that touched on Rogen’s early career, his pot use, the time he guested on the Today show filling in for Kathie Lee (they really do drink a lot very early in the morning), and the paths that Shepard and Rogen nearly crossed (Shepard auditioned for 40-Year-Old Virgin, while Rogen had a scene in Pineapple Express so similar to Without a Paddle that he was afraid people would never see his movie). By far, however, the best part of this week’s podcast was hearing Rogen spend a good 20 minutes talking about The Interview, a film he feared would define his career (for the worse) and the fallout from that movie, including the Sony hack.
“The Interview was a very traumatic experience,” Rogen told Shepard. “We were worried that people will forever have filed us away in their heads alongside something that was not funny. ‘Pack it in guys! You’ve shown your hand, and we’re not happy.'”
Though it didn’t do as bad financially as some of the other films that Rogen has made (Green Hornet comes to mind), it was the first time that Rogen made a film where people said, “They shouldn’t have made this. The margin of error for this, knowing that the best version is another good R-rated comedy and the worst version is nuclear annihilation, maybe they shouldn’t have gone into that arena.”
“It rattled me for a little while,” he added. “I wasn’t sure how people would react … it wasn’t until the next movie came out [The Night Before]” that Rogen felt a sense of relief. “We’re over the hump. It’s not the worst thing. It’s not the best thing. We’re back to business as usual.”
Rogen added that The Interview was also the only time during his career that he was in “the news.”
“Like, Obama was giving entire press conferences about it.” Rogen said, recalling the press conference in which Rogen wondered if the media would ask Obama about it. “And the first five questions were about it. They made Obama talk about it for 15 minutes. It was kind of cool, I guess, but it was a little much.”
Despite the film’s failure, however, Rogen doesn’t feel a lot of guilt about the Sony hack that followed. “I don’t feel as bad about that as you would think,” Rogen told Shepard. “Because the head of Sony was explicitly warned about the likelihood of a hack in a meeting I was in, and they proceeded to do nothing about it … I don’t know if it was my fault.”
Rogen went on to say that he didn’t feel “guilt,” so much as he felt anger. “The hacking itself is not something that we took on because Sony was always getting hacked. They are notoriously hated by hackers. They did this thing in the 90s where people were ripping off CDs, so Sony created a CD that would destroy your computer if you tried to copy it in a way was illegal, which is why hackers have always hated them. It’s why Playstations are always being hacked … they’re just known for being a company that hackers don’t like.”
Though Amy Pascal — the co-chairman of Sony Pictures during the hack — was forced out over the controversy that erupted surrounding a few of her emails, Rogen still thinks “she’s great. We’re still working together on a lot of stuff.”
It’s probably too soon, but one day, Rogen should make a movie about making The Interview, and Amy Pascal should produce. In the meantime, Rogen can be seen in Like Father while his show, Preacher airs Sunday nights on AMC.