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In the chicken‐egg world of deciding to take a role because of the script or because of the director, Seth Rogen had not read ‘Take This Waltz’ before meeting Sarah Polley on the set of ‘The Green Hornet.’ “She came to LA and told me about the film. She was so nice and so cool. I’d actually been a big fan of hers for a long time, both as an actor and director. And then I read it and thought it was really awesome and very well written, much better written than I can write,” Rogen laughed at his admission. “So I was very thrilled to do it, and yeah, I was very excited.”
Rogen, who tends to think of everything in terms of humor, regards the perspective of his character as amusing. Lou is, for the most part, completely unaware of what is happening around him. “For Lou, ‘Take This Waltz’ is a movie about a guy who writes a chicken cookbook and then finds out his wife is cheating on him. It’s kind of funny that my character is just not that emotionally involved.” Rogen is more familiar with cynical characters who are in on the action, albeit not necessarily in the brightest way possible. But he played Lou “as comfortable. He’s just making his chicken and everything is fantastic.”
“I did draw on my Dad a little for this role, honestly,” he admitted. “My Dad does a thing where he talks with his eyes closed, so I did that a few times.”
But getting back to the chicken, Rogen viewed it as, “Slightly symbolic for a guy who’s aspiring to do something, but not something that’s incredibly exciting or daring. Chicken is the middle ground of meat. It’s a good metaphor for the relationship. It’s good, but it’s not the most exciting thing in the world.”
What was exciting was the prep. “I can confidently say I did more research for this movie than any movie I’ve ever done, except maybe ‘Pineapple Express.’ You learn little things from movies, like how to ride a motorcycle or shoot an AK‐47. But for ‘Waltz,’ I spent a lot of time learning how to cut up chickens. I had chefs coming to my house in LA and they’d leave me dozens of chickens. I’d cut them up and cook them in different ways, but I would mostly just cut them up. I’d also watch a lot of cooking shows, like “Top Chef,” and steal the way they do stuff.” Rogen was so into his prep, he started having chicken dreams, but confused his chicken‐sized Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for the food. “That was weird.”
That said, his wrap gift from the film crew was a magnificent set of carving knives. All reports indicate the dog remains in good health.
While Sarah Silverman, who played Lou’s sister, Geraldine, was dreading the naked shower scene, Rogen had to deal with the scene which has come to be known as ‘The Storm.’ It is when Lou faces the truth about the state of their marriage. “It was pretty brutal, but we did it.”
“It was about emptiness and emotional lost‐ness and a void. When I look at comedy, I can feel if it’s funny or not. But when it’s all based on nuanced emotional moments, it’s a lot harder to gauge whether or not I’m doing a good job. In some ways, I thought it was a lot harder than comedy.”
“The entire scene was primarily scripted with a healthy blend of ad‐lib,” said Cinematographer Luc Montpellier. “Sarah only stopped to reload the camera every half hour or so. Only key crew remained on set to give Seth space to breathe.”
“This scene was all on his strong shoulders,” said Williams. “The camera was not on me, so I was improvising off camera, but he was doing it all on camera. Leading up to this, Seth and I had found a nice rhythm together. It’s nothing we had planned on, but just accidentally Sarah would keep the camera rolling after a take and that became a habit that at the end of each scene. I had my crash course in improv on ‘Blue Valentine,’ so I’ve gotten more comfortable with it. But Seth rewards your efforts with his hardy laugh. He’s just such a deeply generous guy.”
Seth Rogen has emerged leading a new generation of comedic actors, writers and producers. Rogen demonstrated his wide‐ranging ability as he co‐wrote, executive produced and starred as the main character, Britt Reid, from the comic book turned action film, ‘The Green Hornet.’ Directed by Michel Gondry, Rogen stars opposite the Academy Award‐winning actor Christoph Waltz, who plays the villain Chudnofsky. Rogen was most recently seen in ’50/50,’ a film based on the real life experience of Vancouver native Will Reiser. Starring alongside Joseph Gordon‐Levitt, the film unfolds the comedic perspective of the 25‐year‐old’s (Gordon‐Levitt) cancer diagnosis and subsequently, his best friend’s desire for him to beat the disease. Furthermore, Rogen starred as the voice of the title character in the comedy, ‘Paul,’ teaming once again with ‘Superbad’ director, Greg Mottola which was released by Universal Pictures in January 2011 and will be out on DVD in August, 2011. Written by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, and co‐starring Jane Lynch, Kristen Wiig and Jason Bateman, Rogen voiced an alien who has escaped outside of Area 51 and his encounters with two geeks on their way to Comic Con.
Nominated for an Emmy Award in 2005 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy for “Da Ali G Show,” Rogen began his career doing standup comedy in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 13. After moving to Los Angeles, Rogen landed supporting roles in Judd Apatow’s two critically acclaimed network television comedies, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared,” the latter for which Rogen was also hired as a staff writer at the age of 18. Shortly after, Rogen was guided by Apatow toward a film career, first with the box office smash hit, ‘The 40‐Year‐Old Virgin,’ which opened No. 1 at the box office and remained at the top perch for two weekends in a row. The film went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide and helped put Rogen on the map as a future film star. The film was named one of the 10 Most Outstanding Motion Pictures of the Year by AFI and took home Best Comedy Movie at the 11th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Rogen was a co‐producer on the film as well.
Image Courtesy of Take This Waltz