Yes, it’s the time of year when we like to give thanks. No, not for health and happiness and all that stuff you mention at the dinner table. This is about giving thanks to an actor who made the movies just a little bit more fun. In a crazy movie year that featured loud, battling Spartans and even louder battling robots, it was a little-known guffawing Canadian that made us smile most.
To many, Seth Rogen came out of nowhere in 2007. Sure, he was that guy in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” a couple of years back — cue up the “Do you know how I know you’re gay” scene for a refresher — but this year he was the guy. It began in June with a winning performance as a lovable loser in “Knocked Up,” which was quickly followed up with “Superbad,” the raunchy instant-quote machine that Rogen co-wrote and in which he co-starred.
Somewhere in there he also did a voice in “Shrek the Third” and hosted “Saturday Night Live.” On the eve of what looks to be another busy 12 months — he’s got no less than five films on tap for ’08, including the stoner comedy “The Pineapple Express” — Rogen joined us to chat about the year that was, and of course, to accept our thanks.
MTV: Congratulations, Seth. I am proud to tell you formally that you are the Actor We Are Most Thankful for in 2007.
Seth Rogen: That’s an honor! Incredible. I’m just shocked I’m being called an “actor.” That’s the weirdest part of the whole thing. [He laughs.]
MTV: How does this rank with the other honors you’ve received?
Rogen: I think this is the first honor I’ve ever received. I was a Super Speller in grade four. I think that’s the only other distinction I’ve ever had.
MTV: We won’t make you spell for this honor.
Rogen: I’m on strike anyway, so I don’t think I’m allowed to.
MTV: So did 2007 feel like a particularly huge year for you?
Rogen: Yeah. Definitely! It was pretty huge. It’s been shocking. It could have been the worst year of my entire life, so I’m very glad it went well. It could have proven that I have no place in Hollywood.
MTV: Do you have anything to say to those who doubted you?
Rogen: No. I know where they were coming from. [He laughs.]
MTV: What’s the biggest difference for you today compared to where you were a year ago?
Rogen: There’s actually very little difference. I was going to say I’ve been working more, but there’s a strike, so I’m literally doing nothing. [He laughs.] I have done less the last month than any human on earth.
MTV: With all the attention you’ve gotten in the last year, have the paparazzi hounded you yet?
Rogen: For the first time ever, two days ago, I was out for lunch, and there were five photographers following me down the street. I was like, “Today must be the slowest celebrity paparazzi day in the history of the universe if you’ve made it to me.”
MTV: Have you treated yourself to anything in the last year?
Rogen: I have more comic books and action figures than any human who doesn’t own a store has the right to.
MTV: What about reactions from people on the street?
Rogen: I get a lot of attention from men. I feel like Jessica Biel. I get fat guys coming up, wanting to hang out with me. The one thing I’ve noticed is everyone in the world has a camera with them now. I’m a lot of backgrounds on people’s Nokias I think. [He laughs.]
MTV: Were you nervous when “Knocked Up” was about to be released?
Rogen: By the time a movie is released, most of my anxiety is out of the way. The most nervous I am is at the first audience test-screening. I was very open to the possibility that I would come onscreen and I would be collectively rejected by people. Like people would see me and go, “I don’t want to f—ing watch that guy!” That was a real possibility in my mind.
MTV: Your confidence must have been a bit higher by the time “Superbad” came out?
Rogen: No. I was less confident, because I was like, there is no way we’re going to have two successful movies! I was really proud of it. I didn’t expect it to fail, but I didn’t expect it to make a sh–load of money.
MTV: It must be especially surreal for you to hear the film quoted so often.
Rogen: It’s very weird. When you see someone with a “McLovin” T-shirt on, that’s when it really hits you.
MTV: So was the high point of the year when “Superbad” came out, and you had two hits in theaters at once?
Rogen: I wasn’t even in America. “Superbad” came out two days after I went to Europe, and then I got back a month later and nobody gave a sh– about it anymore. [He laughs.]
MTV: Were the films as appreciated overseas?
Rogen: They each had their issues overseas. “Knocked Up” is extremely referential, and I think they just don’t get half the sh– we’re talking about, and it’s compounded by the fact that the people who write subtitles feel the urge to write their own jokes. I actually had to leave when we were watching “Knocked Up” in France. Within the first five minutes when I say, “Your face is like Robin Williams’ knuckles,” they replaced it with “a Yeti.” I was like, “They have Robin Williams’ knuckles in France! He’s just as hairy here as he is in America.”
MTV: This year is a hard act to follow, but you’ve got a bunch of films coming out next year, including another one you co-wrote and star in, “The Pineapple Express.”
Rogen: I think “Pineapple Express” is going to really shock people. Every time I watch it, I can’t believe they let us make it.
MTV: It’s a comedy, but does it also play as an action movie?
Rogen: There are car chases and shootouts and many fight scenes. Me and [James] Franco wield AK-47s and shoot people. But at the same time, it’s a real friendship movie. It has the emotional sweetness of a “Superbad,” but with the action of “Lethal Weapon.”
MTV: What’s next? A drama?
Rogen: I have no career goals. I have no career path.
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