Set Visit: Pinneapple Express
It was a Saturday night and I had one place to go. I made my way to the lovely city of Downey, California. It was a rare night indeed when the I-5 Golden State Freeway isn’t a parking lot because at 8:00pm on a Saturday night, people are already at their destinations. But not I, I was on my way to Downey Studios to catch a glimpse and hang out on the set of the new Seth Rogen film, THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS.
I didn’t know much about the film going in, but I did know that Seth, fellow Freak and Geek James Franco, the one and only Mandy Lane, Amber Heard and comic favorites, Nora Dunn and Ed Begley Jr. would be on hand. And I also knew there to be action and marijuana involved. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a fun time. So when I arrived on set, I found myself in the middle of a dark lot, at a street made to look like your average upper middle class neighborhood. It still amazes me when an entire block of houses and cars can be created away from bustling on-lookers and people complaining about traffic. It really was a simple set but it truly is a sight to see. And that is movie magic folks. It’s the simple things that sometimes amaze me the most.
Seth Rogen and James Franco
As I walked towards the practical set they were using, a nice two story
house with a very typical patterned wallpaper, it kind of reminded
me of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Keep
in mind, I’m a horror geek so most things remind me of a horror
movie. And in one room of the
house, several crew members, along with the director, the amazingly
talented David Gordon Green, were sitting in front of a couple of
monitors. He sat along with a
few others, including Seth Rogen himself, and a long haired dude
wearing a “shark eating a kitten” shirt.
I didn’t realize that the long haired dude happened to be
James Franco until they went for another take.
In the scene, Seth and drug dealer James are on the run from a dirty cop
(Rosie Perez) and another drug dealer, played by the great Gary
Cole. Sadly, neither was on
the set that day. And when
Seth’s character has to warn his girlfriend and her family that
some bad people are on the way, daddy Ed brings down a shotgun and
Amber stabs poor Franco in the back with a fork.
It’s all a whole lot of fun and it was interesting, because
I realized as they were about to shoot the scene, they called out to
make sure everyone had ear plugs…I didn’t.
Luckily, one of the production assistants came by and saved
my ears. It’s amazing how
loud squibs can be.
We watched the same scene a few times over and I can honestly say, I didn’t lose interest at all. It’s cool to see Harry Osborn/Green Goblin back doing comedy as he did with Seth and Judd Apatow in his “Freaks and Geeks” days. The set seemed very relaxed even though it was the last shooting day. I thought there would be more anticipation or more nervous energy. But it was even keeled and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
And when we got to chat with David Gordon Green, Seth Rogen and James
Franco, they were all very kind and happy to speak to us.
Although both David and Seth had it easier than James, we
hung out with them in their trailers.
But poor Franco didn’t get a chance until around one in the
morning, after being repeatedly stabbed with a fork.
You could see the exhaustion in his eyes, especially after
coming off of a major press tour for SPIDER-MAN 3.
Yet he was warm and very kind.
Frankly, he wasn’t what I expected.
I thought he would be much more serious and maybe a little
pretentious, but that wasn’t the case at all.
They were all terrific.
After that, before we left, a couple of us stayed to talk with the lovely
Amber Heard. If the name
doesn’t ring a bell, it soon will. She
had been getting a lot of attention as of late for her performance
in what may soon become a cult classic; the indie horror feature ALL
THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE. And
after meeting her I can see why.
She spoke fondly of the role and mentioned her upcoming
series, the Kevin
Williamson penned, “Hidden Palms”.
When speaking of both Express and Mandy Lane she said, “It
was very difficult. It’s
very different when you’re playing it [terrified] in a comedy and
in a horror film.” Although
as Mandy, she wasn’t terrified at all (We have to wait to see the
movie to find out why); but here she is frightened enough to stab
someone with a fork. And from
what I saw, she gives a very funny and grounded performance.
So in a few months after the release of KNOCKED UP and SUPERBAD has made
Seth Rogen officially a star. And
David Gordon Green’s dark, character driven SNOW ANGELS is
released, possibly around the same time as his druggie action flick.
We’ll see how an audience responds to this kind of flick.
But there’s a lot of talent going into THE PINEAPPLE
EXPRESS… and I didn’t even mention the great James Remar.
So it will be nice to see a good old-fashioned R-Rated action
comedy without the dreaded and watered down PG-13.
And of course, what looks to be a pretty awesome DVD.
Look for it coming to a theatre near you.
Interviews with David Gordon Green, Seth Rogen and James Franco later this week...