Over the past 15 years, Seth Rogen has transitioned from one of TV's funniest slacker teens on Freaks and Geeks into America's favorite schlubby, unpredictable, stoner role model in movies like Knocked Up and This Is the End. In a hilarious, wide-ranging Rolling Stone cover story, the actor offers an inside look at how he has been able to grow into the (somewhat) mature adult who co-directed, co-wrote and co-produced the upcoming movie The Interview, in which he and James Franco play celebrity journalists sent on a mission to kill North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. "I feel like it's a conversation a lot of people have," he tells Rolling Stone. "Like, 'Oh, Barbara Walters could have killed bin Laden,' or whatever."
In the story, which hits stands Friday, Rogen explains how he managed to piss off North Korea, raise the eyebrows of film studio execs and alarm his mother all while making a movie that won't hit theaters until Christmas. He opens up about his delinquent youth and how it led to creating movies with a close-knit group of friends that he has dubbed "the Jew-Tang Clan," and he offers a glimpse at the filthy movies he'll be making in the future. Ultimately, he answers the question: Can a man be a responsible adult and still make a living telling dick jokes?
Watch exclusive video in which Rogen blows epic smoke rings, dresses up as a spaceman and reveals why Adaptation pissed him off, then check out five highlights from the cover story:
Sony's top brass summoned Rogen to talk about The Interview after North Korea launched some test missiles.
Although the launches were probably unrelated to the film – which a spokesman for the country's foreign ministry had described as "a most wanton act of terrorism and war" – Sony's North American CEO requested a meeting with the actor. "Any time a movie causes a country to threaten nuclear retaliation, the higher-ups wanna get in a room with you," Rogen said. The executive allowed the film to move forward, but the threat of attack still bothered someone close to Rogen. "If Kim Jong-un only knew what he was doing to my mother!" he said. "He would know he had exacted his revenge."
The first stirrings of Rogen's films originated while making Freaks and Geeks.
One "Jew-Tang Clan" member, James Franco, recalled that Rogen was coming up with ideas for vignettes for their characters while just hanging out. "We never got it together enough to shoot them, but in hindsight, it feels like those were some of the seeds for the way we work now," Franco said.
He has an arrest record for marijuana.
The Canadian-born actor took California's new weed laws for granted when he moved to the state. "I was genuinely shocked at how illegal it was here," Rogen said. "I actually got arrested when I first moved to L.A. – I was smoking a joint at the beach, like I did my entire childhood, and all of a sudden, it was, like, whoop whoop whoop! Handcuffed in the back of a police car." The actor said he doesn't think he has a record, though.
He has a 3-D animated feature in the works called Sausage Party.
"It's really fucking filthy – probably the most R-rated thing we've ever done," Rogen said. "Which is fun, because it will look like Toy Story 3." The film is a religious allegory about food items on a late-night adventure through a grocery store, leading them to the realization that there is no God. Sacha Baron Cohen told Rogen it's "the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life."
He's heard Kanye West's new album – sort of.
Shortly after his and James Franco's parody of the rapper's "Bound 2" video – "Bound 3," in which the actor played the role of topless Kim Kardashian – West cornered Rogen at a New York hotel and invited him to his limo van for a listening session with a twist. "There's no lyrics, only beats," Rogen said. "So he raps the whole album, and after each song, he stops it, like, 'So what do you think?' We were in the van for two hours!"
Also in the issue: Brian Hiatt on Chris Rock, Matthieu Aikins on Afghanistan and the making of a "narco state," Caryn Ganz on Charli XCX, Jeff Goodell on Obama's China climate talks and our year-end roundups of the best music, movies, TV and more of 2014.
Look for the issue on stands and in the iTunes App Store this Friday, December 5th.