In “This Is the End,” co-writers and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg chronicle an apocalyptic disaster that precipitates the demise of many of their closest friends — comedically, of course.
When asked what was behind their decision to send colleagues like Michael Cera and Aziz Ansari to their deaths, Goldberg told a Sneak Peek Week audience it wasn’t a tough call. “It’s pretty simple,” he said Monday during a live chat from Universal City, California. “We’re mad at some of our friends, and we want to get it out.”
Rogen joked they especially had it in for one of the stars of “Superbad,” their first effort as co-writers. “We just hate Michael Cera and want to see him impaled on a light post,” he admitted.
Rogen and Goldberg were joined by co-stars Danny McBride and Craig Robinson on the first night of MTV’s Sneak Peek Week , the network’s lead-up to Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards. The comedic quartet spoke with Josh Horowitz and fielded questions from a live audience immediately following a screening of “This Is the End” at Universal Citywalk.
Although the duo exerted considerable influence over the production as co-writers, co-directors and co-producers, Rogen confessed he encouraged the other actors to take charge of their deaths in the film. “We had a set of that wall where a bunch of people are falling off, and we kind of gave people creative freedom to a certain degree,” he said. “[They could decide] if you want to be holding onto the wall and have a limb cut off or you just wanted to kind of fall and have the ground crumble around you. [Jason] Segel did one where he killed himself — we didn’t use that one though.”
The film’s ensemble of young Hollywood stars was fleshed out with several performers decidedly less associated with comedy, including Rihanna. “I’d never met her before we made this movie,” Rogen explained about her cameo. “I read that some of her favorite movies were ‘Superbad’ and ‘Pineapple Express,’ and I just remembered it to make me feel good about myself. And then, years later, we were doing this and we were like, who could we get? And I was like, ‘Rihanna’!”
Given the pedigree of her co-stars, it comes as little surprise that she took her comedic challenges very seriously, much to the discomfort of Michael Cera. “Rihanna did slap the sh– out of him,” Rogen revealed. “For real, he said, ‘I’m actually going to slap the sh– out of your ass,’ and she was like, ‘I’m actually going to slap the sh– out of your face then.’ We did it like six times, and the last time, he was like, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore.’ ”
“This Is the End” begins a week of premieres and unveilings leading up to the MTV Movie Awards, which begin at 9 p.m. on Sunday. Watch the clip again only on MTV, and stay tuned for more exclusive clips from films including “The To-Do List” and “Pain & Gain,” as well as in-depth, fun interviews with your favorite stars.