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Zack and Miri Make a Porno in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Seth Rogan • Elizabeth Banks • Traci Lords
DIRECTOR: Kevin Smith

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks) have fallen on hard times and have a mountain of debt. In desperation they decide to make a homegrown porn movie for some quick cash, but, when filming begins, their unusual business relationship turns into love.

U.S. RELEASE: October 31 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R


KEVIN SMITH on whether it was his lifelong dream to make a porno movie:
Zack and Miri eye up a prospective actress“No, but I will say that I’ve been researching it since I was 12 years old. I just came from lunch, I was still researching the movie. I never dreamed about making it, but it does seem like the logical conclusion of all the movies we’ve made so far in which we talked about sex, and finally we actually show you what sex can look like. It’s not a very honest representation though, because if you’re going to make a movie with porno in the title you have to show porno sex, which is ridiculous to begin with, because I don’t know anybody who does 26 positions in 10 minutes. I can barely do one.”

Seth Rogan“Zack and Miri have an unspoken love. I think a lot of people have been friends and they’re in love with them, and it takes an event to bring that to the surface, and in this movie that event is making a porno movie [he laughs]. I think it’s a very relatable premise.”

“I didn’t have a second thought [about doing the film] when I received the script and saw the title. I really responded to the romance in it. I think Kevin’s a giant romantic. He likes to wrap the romance in profanity, but he loves ladies. So this was an opportunity, frankly, to play a really well-written, authentically funny woman, opposite an authentically funny leading man, which is very rare. And in an honest and equal two-hander; any actress in Hollywood is looking for that.”

TRACI LORDS (Bubbles):
“I was a huge fan of Kevin’s. I received the script and I was horrified by the title of it! I thought, ‘No, thank you,’ as I had this newborn. My agent and manager said, ‘No, you have to go and meet him. Take a look at the script.’ So I read the script and it made me laugh out loud, and I thought, ‘Oh, no, now what am I going to do? I like it.’ It’s been two decades since I was a teenage porn star, and maybe it’s a bookend.”

“We got a list of available actresses and alphabetically Elizabeth Banks was on top, and Seth saw her name and said, ‘Elizabeth Banks, I love her. She was with us in The 40 Year Old Virgin, she was really fun to work with. I would love to have fake pretend sex with her in this movie.’ It’s the best decision I probably made in regard to this flick, because she’s hands-down the best actress I’ve ever worked with. She completely feminized the role. In the hands of another actress it might have just sounded like two dudes talking to each other, one of which doesn’t happen to have a dick. But she actually made Miri a living, breathing woman. She helped us avoid what I always felt was a major pitfall in this movie, because there’s a weird double-standard when it comes to sex in this country, and you had the potential for people to be like, ‘She agreed to be in a porno? She’s a slut.’ Banks was able to completely disarm that. That argument never came up.”

ROGEN on his chemistry with Banks:
Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks“She’s great, we’re friends. I think that helps. I think you can tell that we know each other, I think she has a really dirty sensibility, which is one of the reasons I thought she’d be good for the movie in the first place. I knew she wouldn’t sue me, and I give her all the credit for that.”

“There’s enough raunchiness in the movie, I think we set out to make a really fun film. That was the number one goal. And the secondary goal was to have a great love story. We wanted to make a romantic comedy, in the best sense of those two worlds. Any time the story got really emotional, we would undercut it with something outrageous. That’s why it’s funny. If it had just been all emotional, it would have been The Notebook, and if it were just porn, then it would be like a bad Adam Sandler movie. It’s the combination that makes this movie as special as it is.”

“I really didn’t have to do a lot with my character Bubbles. Kevin and I agreed on the fact that she should just be very deadpan, really dry. My take on it was that she’s been popping out of birthday cakes since she was eighteen. She was the best thing going in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and no one knew it yet. This was her big chance to show everyone how fabulous she was.”

“I was so excited when the economy went in the toilet. Everyone else was despondent. I was like, ‘This makes my movie plausible.’ If this movie doesn’t work, I’m turning to porn. And nobody wants to see my fat ass on the screen, so I hope this movie works!”

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #701, November 2008 cover

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