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Pineapple Express in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Pineapple Express

Seth Rogen • James Franco • Gary Cole
DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green

Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) and Saul Silver (James Franco) THE CONCEPT:
Dale Denton (Rogen) has a grudging business relationship with laconic Saul Silver (Franco), who sells him a rare new strain of pot called Pineapple Express. Dale becomes the only witness to a murder by the city’s most dangerous drug lord (Cole), he panics and dumps the Pineapple Express at the scene of the crime. When it’s traced back to him, Dale and Saul have to run for their lives.

U.S. RELEASE: July 30 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R


Seth Rogen, James Franco, Judd Apatow, David Gordon Green, Shauna Robertson, and Evan Goldberg
“The original idea came from Judd Apatow [the movie’s producer, above center]. He had the loose notion of, ‘What about a weed action movie?’ Evan [Goldberg] and I thought that could be rad, and basically we started thinking about making a movie that was kind of a weed movie and action movie that had a real friendship story to it. We originally wrote Franco’s part for me, and then when we got Franco involved we thought it was a good idea to switch the roles. I think it worked really well.”

Seth Rogen and James Franco“I hadn’t done a comedy for a while. Judd said, ‘I miss the funny Franco.’ So we started talking about ideas, and he said, ‘I’m doing this movie Knocked Up with Seth, after that you guys should do a movie together.’ I read Pineapple Express and I thought that it was very funny, but I said, ‘Oh Seth, you get to play the role I want, Saul.’ He was like, ‘Nah, you can play Saul.’ I think around that time I met David [Gordon Green], and Judd said, ‘I’m thinking about having him direct.’ Sounded like a good idea.”

David Gordon Green“Making this was a blast. I’d gotten to the point professionally where I was pretty emotionally exhausted from making dramatic films. So I was looking to do a comedy and found a group of guys that were really supportive of my interests in it, though it was a little outside my wheel house.”

Fire escape...“We really wanted it to be an action movie. Those are the movies that we love. We’re big fans of Die Hard, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, the kind of movies where violence, comedy and characters work together really well. The fight in the house was a lot of fun. It’s always fun to do something that you really think is funny and that fight, as we were doing it, we thought could be really funny. It goes on and one and we just destroy that house. We did hurt ourselves, Franco cracked his face open. But it was a lot of fun.”

“In the woods, when we’re running around like morons, there’s a shot where I run into a tree and that’s actually me hitting the tree. My head got cut and I got stitches. Evan took me to the hospital.”

“That’s why he wears a headband after that scene. He had stitches in his head.”

“The biggest challenge we had was that we had a comedy budget. We really got excited the more we got into the development of blowing stuff up and having shoot outs. That stuff costs money. When you want to have a car chase and they give you a day to do it, you say, ‘Well, we need a week,’ and then you compromise and do it in four.”

“We always kept it loose. I don’t think that any scene is word for word how you’d find it in the script. Some scenes that seem scripted or written are improvised and some of the scenes that are improvised seem scripted.”

“I watched a lot of pot movies before we did this. My favorites were always the character in movies that weren’t necessarily in stoner movies like [Jeff Bridges] in The Big Lebowski or Brad Pitt in True Romance, somehow they’re like goofy stoner guys, but there’s something more going on. So maybe that’s the kind of inspiration that they gave me.”

“I don’t smoke weed on set all day! I just want to say that. [he laughs] After lunch you get tired. What can you do? To me the fact that a character smokes weed isn’t really what I hang my hat on necessarily. To me Arthur and James Bond aren’t the same because they both drink. So I would kind of equate it to that. [Dale and Saul] are different guys who both have a similar taste.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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