Seth Rogen gets brutally honest about how his movies’ negative reviews have affected him over the years. Rogen rose to fame in the mid-2000s with raunchy stoner flicks like Knocked Up and Superbad in 2007 and Pineapple Express in 2008. However, the Canadian actor started to challenge himself in 2022 with more serious projects, such as the miniseries Pam & Tommy and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated The Fabelmans.
While speaking on The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett, Rogen discusses how the negative reviews he’s gotten for his movies over the years have affected him.
Rogen talks about how personal the filmmaking process is, which is why bad reviews can really get under the skin of actors or filmmakers. He specifically singles out his superhero comedy The Green Hornet and the controversial The Interview as two examples of movies where he had to deal with some especially harsh opinions. Read the full quote below:
I think if most critics knew how much it hurts the people that made the things that they are writing about, they would second guess the way they write these things. It’s devastating. I know people who have never recovered from it honestly – a year, decades of being hurt by [film reviews]. It’s very personal…It is devastating when you are being institutionally told that your personal expression was bad, and that’s something that people carry with them, literally, their entire lives and I get why. It f—-ng sucks.
For ‘Green Hornet,’ the reviews were coming out and it was pretty bad. People hated it. People were taking joy in disliking it a lot. But it opened to like $35 million, which was the biggest opening weekend I’d ever been associated with at that point. It did pretty well. That’s what is nice sometimes. You can grasp for some sense of success at times. [The Interview] felt far more personal. ‘Green Hornet’ felt like I had fallen victim to a big fancy thing. That was not so such much a creative failure on our parts but a conceptual failure. ‘The Interview,’ people treated us like we creatively failed and that sucked.
Any opening weekend, it sucks. It’s stressful. It’s like birth, it’s an inherently painful process. That’s another funny thing about making movies…life goes on. You can be making another movie as your [current] movie is bombing, which is a funny thing. It’s bittersweet. You know things will be ok. You’re already working. If the fear is the movie bombs and you won’t get hired again, well you don’t have to worry about it. But it’s an emotional conundrum at times.
Why Some Rogen Movies Have Seen Harsh Reviews
While Rogen has certainly enjoyed a lot of success across his film career, he has definitely taken a lot of risks on a number of his movies. For example, while some have come to view The Green Hornet positively, it was largely panned upon release. As Rogen now says, the movie was more of a “conceptual failure” with this attempt at a superhero/comedy film that was out of his wheelhouse. There was an idea that Rogen had miscast himself, and the comedic elements of the film were not up to the high bar he had set for himself.
The fallout from Rogen’s ambitious alternate history comedy, The Interview, is well-documented, with the controversy resulting in threats from North Korea. The film depicted a fictionalized version of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, in an unfavorable light, with Kim getting killed off at the end of the film. Alternate history is always difficult because of real world implications, and adding comedy into the mix meant that Rogen was walking a very fine line. There was so much backlash for the Rogen-directed film that the U.N. felt it necessary to make a statement about it.
Observe And Report is another Rogen film that was not well-received; it contains a scene where Rogen’s character essentially sexually assaults a girl, an incident which is played off as a joke. Rogen has had his share of success by pushing boundaries and taking risks. However, when done as an actor and filmmaker, whether warranted or not, it opens oneself up to harsh criticism, which Rogen has received more than a few times.
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