The stars of The Night Before, that upcoming bro movie that looks like The Hangover: Christmas edition, talked to The LA Times in a joint interview with the film’s director and co-writer, Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies). The trio of Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon Levitt had such a good rapport, even in print, that it makes me want to see the movie. Plus I like Rogen’s films in general and the trailer looks good. (Link is to red band trailer, NSFW language.)
Levine claimed his generation has no Christmas movies and said that he’s trying to create a new classic. (That can’t be true because he’s 39 and Gen-X like me and we have A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Planes, Trains and Automobiles at the very least. I’m sure there are many I’m leaving out.) I can respect his ambition, but we have Christmas movies! Maybe he means Christmas movies for and about people in their 30s.
Also, Rogen talked about the Sony hack last affected him. As you probably remember, his film The Interview was blamed for it (whether or not that was true) and had a limited released due to threats against theaters screening the film. Here’s some of what these guys said, with much more at the source:
Rogen on their press tour
We’re not miserable. We’re not on, like, the Daniel Craig press tour, where he just wants to kill himself in every interview.
Levine on his inspiration for making the film
When we were sound-mixing 50/50, Seth and [producing partner] Evan [Goldberg] asked me if there was anything else I wanted to do, and I had a very early form of this idea, which was just that there’s no Christmas movie for our generation. Living in New York, I had always gone out with my friends on Christmas, and crazy things would inevitably happen.
Mackie on if he could relate to their characters growing older
No question. I recently had my third kid, and it just messed up everything that was my reality. It just changes your entire perspective on the world. Even traveling is an issue now — I’ve got to buy five tickets! I look at my parents — they had six kids. I always wondered why we never took vacations further than Florida or the Gulf Coast — it’s like, “Oh, because they couldn’t afford eight plane tickets, so you just put all the kids in the Lincoln and drive to Florida!”
Gordon-Levitt on if he could relate to his character
Speaking as a new father, I actually think the baby storyline in this movie is really sweet and actually quite subtle and honest and way more resonant to me than your average Hollywood comedy about new parenthood.
Rogen on if there are “any lasting repercussions” from the Sony Hack a year later.
It’s amazing — on Friday we were at a meeting in [former Sony co-Chair] Amy Pascal’s office and she mentioned how Scott Rudin was going to have a meeting with her later in the day, and as we were leaving, we were like, “Nothing has changed!” Everyone kept working — maybe with new titles and in new offices, but everyone is fine and still on good terms with one another.
People move on very fast, and people love a new story. I’d been a part of the entertainment news cycle before, but it was weird to be a part of the real news cycle. And it made me respect the “news” news much less. You just saw how they dealt with it and you’re like, “They’re just as bad as the entertainment news!”
“Was it hard to keep your sense of humor through all of that?”
I tried. It sucked. It was the hardest professional thing I’ve ever had to deal with. But on a personal level, I wasn’t afraid for my life. Me and my wife weren’t fighting about it or anything like that. No one was mad at us for it — we weren’t getting calls from the studio yelling at us. In some sense something traumatic had happened, and in some sense it was sort of like a movie bombing, which happens all the time to everybody. It’s nice that [Sony] just let us keep working. It’s shocking. Our office is still at Sony. They let us stay. It’s crazy. [Laughs]
I didn’t realize Anthony Mackie had three kids! I guess this is news to everyone else, as US Magazine ran it as a story. The last time I remember covering Mackie, he was talking about dating. He says a lot of douchey things about women so I assumed he was still single. Wiki reveals that Mackie married his girlfriend, Sheletta Chapital, in December of last year but it’s otherwise pretty sparse on his personal life. (As an aside, Mackie is also in that other Christmas movie out now, Love The Coopers. He’s busy!) Also I included a photo of Mackie with his girlfriend below.
As for Rogen’s thoughts on the Sony Hack, he seems like he has a good perspective on it now without glossing over how hard it was for him. The film had a $144 million budget, according to leaked documents, and earned less than $12 million at the box office following threats but likely made up its budget in VOD, streaming sales and licensing. He sounds grateful that Sony is still willing to work with him.
As a professional gossip, I also like the fact that Rogen realizes that the “real” news is just as sensational as we are.
The Night Before is out this weekend, and I bet it does solid to decent at the box office, but we’ll see. This season has been weird.