May 18, 2023 - 7:47 am
Updated May 18, 2023 - 9:41 am
Seth Rogen never had a Plan B.
“I was 6 or 7 and ran around with a camera, quoted movies and was obsessed with films. All I wanted to do was be in the movies — or work in real life as a Ninja Turtle, and no one in my family was encouraging about the turtle gig,” the 41-year-old actor, writer and comedian says.
Rogen’s family didn’t have a lot of money, but Tuesdays in his native Vancouver, British Columbia, were cheap film night at the local multiplex. “I saw everything — and we also lived across the street from the big Blockbuster in town,” he says on a call from the Apple studios in Los Angeles. “I’d walk the aisles of that place for hours and hours when I was young. I was serious about it. I found my thing.”
So what if some of the other kids thought he was a geek. “You want a life tip? Kids should remember that everything turns around at some point,” Rogen says. “The nerdy things that I love to talk about are now cool and a part of pop culture. Geeks rule the world.”
They also make their mark in Hollywood: Rogen’s filmography includes “Superbad,” “Neighbors,” “This Is the End,” “Pineapple Express,” “Pam & Tommy,” “The Fabelmans” and, yes, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
His latest, the comedy series “Platonic,” debuts Wednesday on Apple TV+. Rogen portrays Will, a bar owner who was best friends in college with Sylvia (Rose Byrne), now married with three kids. They reconnect as adults and start spending a lot of time together, trying to relive their wilder days, much to the dismay of her lawyer husband, Charlie (Luke Macfarlane).
Rogen, who is married to writer-director Lauren Miller, says his good life tips begin with his significant other, a couch and a really good cheeseburger.
Find your niche
When it came to “Platonic,” Rogen was sure he wanted to do a series, not a movie. “I wanted to bring a theatrical-style, R-rated comedy to a serialized TV show,” he says. “This felt very original and also allowed me to do the stuff I know I’m good at. It feels good to do the things that you are good at in life. Everyone should figure out what that is — and try to explore it.”
Answer the big questions
The series also allowed him to pose the “Harry Met Sally” question: Can men and women be just friends? Rogen says he cherishes relationships with the opposite sex. “I do fundamentally think men and women can be platonic friends, but people project a lot onto it, which isn’t always healthy,” he says. “Jealousy can come out of these situations, but I firmly believe you can have platonic relationships. I have many of them.”
Rogen plays an eccentric bar owner who likes to have a good time and act crazy. There’s a scene where he jumps up and dances on a bar, “Coyote Ugly” style. “I knew the bottle toss from the movie ‘Cocktail,’ and vowed that I would never do it on the show,” he says. “But ‘Coyote Ugly’ is a culturally relevant film, and a few more people know it versus ‘Cocktail.’ Let’s just say I picked it up in about 10 minutes and it was such a good release.
“And I’m not a dancer,” he warns. “I move like Frankenstein, but it still felt good.”
Lean on friends
A key element of the series is whether you can be more honest with friends than you can with your significant other. “In marriage, you might be much more considerate of the other person’s feelings because of the fallout of the other person’s emotions. You care about your mate,” Rogen observes. “It’s different with friends. You care less about the fallout. You just say it. You’re probably willing to be a little more honest and say meaner things, which is why it’s important to have those good friends in life. You need that sounding board.”
Deal with disappointment
Rogen wasn’t an overnight success and has endured plenty of ups and downs. “Hollywood is not necessarily a fair place,” he says. “Any given phone call could either make your life better or ensure that the door slams in your face. The key is if you don’t quit, you can make it. You just push on and work hard. Trust in your creative drive.”
Go to that party
Rogen met his wife in 2004 at a birthday party at El Cid, a Spanish restaurant in Los Angeles. “A friend told me a girl he was dating had a friend and that we might like each other, so we went to a birthday party, met and ate grilled cheese sandwiches,” Rogen says. “The point is if I didn’t go to that party, we might have never met.”
Speak your mind
Rogen says he respects a good creative conflict. “Disagreements are healthy,” he insists. “There’s something I say to everyone in our company, from the newest intern to myself: ‘Speak up.’ I hate nothing more than when a lot of people are involved and later someone says, ‘I always thought that idea didn’t work.’ I’m thinking, ‘Why didn’t you speak up?’
“I will never get mad if someone says something doesn’t work. I will be furious if you thought there was something wrong with this thing and you didn’t share,” he says. “Don’t creatively withhold on me. Nothing hurts more than making something and you blew through a solution because somebody didn’t say it.”
View things differently
“I look at life as a fun adventure,” Rogen says. “There aren’t challenges, but just new adventures.”