A brand new Halloween special based on Monsters vs. Aliens airs this Wednesday on NBC
Halloween is just around the corner and so is DreamWorks animated special Monsters Vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space, which will air on NBC Wednesday, October 28 (8-8:30 p.m. ET). Based on the smash hit Monsters Vs. Aliens and once again starring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Seth Rogen, Kiefer Sutherland, Will Arnet and Rainn Wilson, Susan Murphy, a.k.a. Ginormica (Reese Witherspoon) and the Monsters are now working with the U.S. government as special ops. So when an alien presence is detected in Susan's hometown of Modesto, California, right before Halloween, the team is dispatched to investigate.
Everything appears normal, right down to the jack-o-lanterns peering out from every doorstep and windowsill. But when Halloween arrives, those innocent-looking carved pumpkins reveal themselves for what they really are: Mutant aliens! The altered pumpkins then start to implement their fiendish plan to take over Earth. The Monsters are there to combat the mutant gourds and try to smash their wicked scheme!
Seth Rogen returns as the beloved B.O.B. We recently caught up with the comedic actor to get his take on this new Halloween special. Here are his thoughts:
Obviously the Halloween special is a little bit shorter than the feature film so how much juicy screen time is B.O.B. going to get?
Seth Rogen: I get him there. I'm very loud, that's what's good about an animated film. I don't have to even be on screen for you to hear me necessarily. But B.O.B. is around. He's - I'm in it; I don't know the exact seconds. Normally I do know the exact amount of seconds I appear on screen in everything I do but I have not yet timed this one.
I'm wondering are you a big Halloween guy? Like are you dressing up this year? And what are you going to be?
Seth Rogen: I don't know. Unfortunately I work at - around 6:00 am the morning after Halloween this year. So that kind of puts a slight damper on my plans. I have a girlfriend now and I've entered the unfortunate world of paired costuming...which is - it's not fun. I don't recommend it. I always end up being the lamer half of the - it's like she's a dog and I'm a fire hydrant or something like that. It's never fun. So maybe I'm dodging a bullet this year.
Any costumes like a favorite costume of your past when you were a kid or anything?
Seth Rogen: A few years ago my girlfriend and me were Doc and Marty from Back to the Future; that was one of my favorites.
How do you think Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space will do against Treehouse of Horror?
Seth Rogen: I don't know. It's a mixed bag. It's hard to consider those things. Luckily with TiVo people don't have to decide. They can watch both over and over and over again. But I'm actually, I mean, it's - to me like, you know, I recorded the Treehouse - I mean the Pumpkin thing - the Monsters vs. Aliens one awhile ago and I honestly had no idea what the animation was going to be like and really how much work was going to go into it. And when I watched it I was extremely impressed that, I mean, it was pretty much movie-quality level animation. So that was very encouraging and I was glad that they, you know, they didn't half-ass it - can I say that?
I've heard that you like improvising so tell me a little bit about how much you're allowed to improvise, you know, as a voice actor.
Seth Rogen: You can actually improvise a lot as a voice actor. I mean, the real - people I think don't - and I didn't, you know, understand how animation works really. And the time consuming part is really creating the characters and the sets and the worlds. And aside from that it's not that entirely different than shooting a live action movie; the characters mouths are quite easy to manipulate once all the information is built into the computer, you know. So you can improvise a lot and it doesn't matter really how far along they are in the process they can really just make the character say something different. Almost more than in a live action movie because of how slow the process is you almost have more time to think about it and come up with different versions of things because you're filming, I mean, you're recording over the course of years generally.
Right. And so as a follow-up do you think you'll do more animated work in the future?
Seth Rogen: I mean I really enjoy it and I think that, you know, I mean, I've always been a fan of animation and I - yes, I would like to.
What made you decide to do the type of acting you do?
Seth Rogen: What is the type of acting I do? I guess, I don't know. You know, Steve McQueen was taken so I just looked what was left and...it seemed like funny Jew was on the list.
You have a favorite role that you played in any of the movies or...
Seth Rogen: No, not at all. I think they're all equally amazing.
If you could get out there and do one big dream role what would it be?
Seth Rogen: One dream role? I mean honestly as - I'm the person who writes most of my movies so every role is exactly what I want to be doing.
Do you have any favorite Halloween specials or if there were any sort of classic specials that might have influenced the look or script of this special?
Seth Rogen: I always liked the Simpson's Halloween specials personally. I mean they were always amazing. I always looked forward to that on Halloween. And you know what's funny is I always like I always watched TGIF like those sitcoms growing up because I was a nerd and had nothing to do on Friday nights. And like whenever like the sitcoms would do their Halloween episode that always - I always enjoyed that for some reason. That always spawned some good comedy.
And if they do anymore specials; if there's a Monsters vs. Aliens Christmas, Valentine's, Flag Day or anything do you think you'd come back for those?
Seth Rogen: Anything but Christmas because my - I'm Jewish. But...Flag Day I'm a devout observer of and would definitely do it.
Is B.O.B. also Jewish?
Seth Rogen: B.O.B. is Jewish; most people don't know that. He's actually - he's Orthodox.
So how did you snag the role of B.O.B. in the first place? Was it as simple as somebody calling and inviting you to do it or was there more of a story attached?
Seth Rogen: I mean it's not an incredibly interesting story. It wasn't as simple as someone calling; I actually heard that - I heard they didn't want me to do it because I had a small part in Kung Fu Panda and a very small part in Shrek 3 I believe. And so I just kind of heard that they were weary of using me again in another one of their movies so I went out and I met with the director and I just loved the idea; I thought it sounded awesome. And I really pursued it.
Were you ever much of a Halloween trickster?
Seth Rogen: No not really. I had a lot of allergies when I was a kid and I couldn't eat sugar very often so for me Halloween was just a day to gorge myself, which is a tradition I carry through to this day. I had a candy-based Halloween.
In these Monsters vs. Aliens movies you've obviously had to explore the world of monsters and aliens. So do you have any theories like alien abduction theories or like anything like that?
Seth Rogen: Do I personally? No but I do believe in monsters oddly enough. I think they're under my bed. But aliens are ridiculous; monsters I think are real completely though.
At what point did you parents give it up and just let you perform? I mean when did they realize they had this creative performing genius on their hands and just let you run with the bulls?
Seth Rogen: I don't think they ever realized that. But, no, they, I mean, from when I was very young they encouraged me to kind of pursue my comedic exploits I guess you would say. I mean, I started doing standup when I was like 13. My mom would drive me to all the shows and not be upset when I had to miss school the next day because I was out late. So, yes, I mean, they were always very supportive of it. Around when I was 13 I'll say.
You have to understand that for a Jewish mother that is a very unusual thing to let you skip school.
Seth Rogen: I know...Well not for some, some fall the other way with it; some are very liberal and just don't care about school.
Someday you're going to be a father we think...
Seth Rogen: Yes, maybe not. I'm giving myself a vasectomy right now. Huh?
Hypothetically you have some children, you have a baby; at what point - which character are you most excited about introducing your little wee-one to as far as the G-rated Seth Rogen?
Seth Rogen: Well there's no G-rated. The only PG movie I really did was Monsters vs. Aliens and a little bit of Kung Fu Panda so I'd have to go with Monsters vs. Aliens. It was a trick question; you painted me into a corner on that one.
Do you harbor any hard feelings with Megan Fox and with the Jimmy Kimmel incident?
Seth Rogen: No not at all. I've seen her several times since then. And I - it's - I'm sure she didn't even notice it happened and I - no, not at all. I'm happy it happened because I got a funny story out of it.
Did you have any effect on bob's character? Did you have any say on how he performed?
Seth Rogen: Yes, definitely. I mean it was a very kind of collaborative process with the directors, Conrad and Brad, trying to come up with the character, you know. I mean, at first there wasn't a ton and it like, you know, yes, we, yes, I mean, slowly we realized the joke was he had no brain and he was very stupid. And we kind of worked from there.
Referring to the Monsters vs. Aliens special coming on and the movie itself what's it like working with Reese Witherspoon and Will Arnett?
Seth Rogen: It's funny, I mean, I actually don't work with them at all doing these things. You kind of work with them while you're promoting the movie and that was literally the first time I met Reese Witherspoon was like doing press for the movie. And it was nice. I've known Will Arnett for like almost 10 years actually and he's very, very nice guy. I really like him. But, yes, Reese is great also; everyone, Hugh Laurie I was always a fan of. It's just cool to meet the people.
I see that you're working on obviously the Green Hornet, but can you tell me a little bit about the untitled cancer comedy?
Seth Rogen: Yes it is - I've been - we've been calling it I'm with Cancer; that's what it is in my head. But it is - a friend of ours, Will Riser who we met while working on the LEG show who's my age, got cancer and beat it luckily and wrote a movie pretty much chronicling his experience and James McAvoy will be playing him in the movie and I'll pretty much be playing me who was his useless friend throughout the process. And we start filming next year.
What are the challenges in playing a gelatinous blob?
Seth Rogen: There are very little. I mean I got to say I loved doing - one of the nice things about doing a voice movie is like there's much less pressure as you're actually doing it. So I think it allows you to kind of play around more, you know, like when you're on a real movie set like the one I'm filming - real movie - why would I say that - a live action movie set it's like, you know, there's hundreds of people around waiting, there's, you know, explosions that could be timed to go off, there's people doing dangerous stunts; there's a million things happening. So like every time I improvise I'm aware that I could be ruining what it is that we're doing and we'll just have to do it again. But when you're doing like an animated movie it's, you know, there's just like five people in the booth listening to you, you have all day. And you can play around as much as you want really and you're only wasting a few people's time.
One more quick Green Hornet thing; I wanted to know what was the reasoning behind Anvil and how did that happen?
Seth Rogen: Well as a Canadian hard rock fan I actually have known about Anvil for many, many years. And we needed a band for a scene in the movie and (Gondry) was like how about Anvil and we asked them and they said yes.
I was wondering hypothetically when you have your own family what kind of a cartoon would you create for them that's - families could watch? How would you tone down Seth Rogen for families?
Seth Rogen: I don't think Seth Rogen needs toning down for families to be perfectly honest. I mean I don't know. I think that, honestly, people's censorship issues are personal but I disagree with most of those personal choices that I see others make. You know, I watch television and there's a grotesque amount of violence on almost every show that you would watch that comes on past 8:00 pm. And I think my dirty brand of humor is far less destructive to a child's mentality. So honestly a few dirty jokes to me, kids can handle that.
You've done a lot of writing and acting of course so which do you prefer being, you know, in front of the camera, behind the scenes stuff if you had to choose?
Seth Rogen: That's a good question. Just acting is not enough; I can say that. You know, live action movie, you know, to do like a little role in something is very fun but to be on set all day just as an actor is - it just seems like I'm, you know, I'm doing an iota of what I should be doing with my day. I really enjoy writing. My favorite, you know, the most enjoyable times are just when me and Evan have a script to write and plenty of time to write it in and nothing else to do. But right now like we're filming and I'm one of the producers and the writer and the actor so it's busy but it's a lot of fun. And to me, like, when it all comes together like that is probably when it's most creatively satisfying I guess.
Tell me a little bit about as Bob evolved. When you first pursued it and you wanted it did you know at that point that there was going to be a big blue blob or what did you know about him and kind of why did you really pursue it?
Seth Rogen: Yes I knew it was a blob. Why did I pursue it? I mean I just - I really enjoyed doing the other animated work I had done up until that point. And I just - I thought it was a great idea. And I was a big fan of just what DreamWorks animation had done, you know. I mean I love the Pixar movies obviously but the first time I saw Shrek I remember it just seemed, you know, it just seemed much more - it seemed like more cynical almost in like a very humorous way I thought, you know. It seemed like it was taking, you know, the left, you know, just kind of a skewed perspective on these conventions that you're used to seeing in a lot of these movies. So I was just a big fan of what they had done before, you know. And I just - it just seemed really funny. I mean that was - it was simply that, Monsters vs. Aliens, it just seemed like - as soon as I heard that I thought I would go see that.
When you were a kid watching the movies - movie cartoons or cartoons on TV what ones did you like and how do you compare the, you know, this new age of Pixar and DreamWorks to the cartoons that you saw as a kid?
Seth Rogen: Man, I mean these ones are exponentially better in many ways. I mean I like, you know, I liked the Disney ones when I was a kid but like Aladdin and, you know, Little Mermaid but I always feel like those were kind of a little more female-skewed in a lot of ways. I mean they had - they were very much love stories and stuff. And I was like, you know, like as a young kid I didn't really care about that all that much, you know. But I watched the Simpsons a lot. I watched a lot of television cartoons that were funny. I watched Saturday morning cartoons so that was more of the type of animation back then that I really liked. And now, I mean, it's - I wish I was a kid now.
Are there any actors that you'd like to work with or write a part for in one of your movies?
Seth Rogen: Any actors I would like to work with or write a part for. Vincent D'Onofrio. He's just awesome.
Is there a show or a movie you loved as a kid that you'd like to make a remake of?
Seth Rogen: I'm leery of making a remake of anything I loved. I've had greater success trying to remake something I was somewhat indifferent to. Cop Rock. It was a cop musical drama. That I would want to remake.
You've been so busy doing live action stuff lately but you really do seem to go back and do animation. What is it that keeps bringing you back? I know you mentioned one or two but you've actually done five, six, seven animated projects over the years.
Seth Rogen: Yes, you're right. One of the things is, I mean, I like to work a lot and one of the things with animation is they can really schedule it around you which is a weird answer but I think that's one of the reasons I keep doing it is because just like scheduling-wise I can literally go do it like on a weekend if I'm filming a movie, you know. So that's why I'm able to do it. And I enjoy it because it, I mean, this is the stupidest answer - I enjoy it because it's fun, you know. The character is funny and the directors are cool and the story is funny then to me it's like a very fun format to kind of improvise and try to, you own, discover a character in a different way than physically doing it, you know. I mean it's - you've got to do it all with your voice. And to me I really enjoy that.
Because Monsters vs. Aliens is airing on NBC I have to ask you a freaks and geeks question.
Seth Rogen: Yes. They brought us back.
Because so many shows like - ridiculous shows like 90210 and Melrose Place are getting the zombie treatment is there anything in the works with the freaks and geeks guys?
Seth Rogen: No. There is not currently thank God because it would probably be terrible. But, maybe in 10 years they'll hire really good looking people to play all...
Is there anything that is going on with other projects with Monsters vs. Aliens or anything like it sort of in that post-modern animated vein for you in the future?
Seth Rogen: Nothing that I know of at this moment. But I'm open.
As you've said you've worked on several animated projects, you wrote with the Simpsons and so has it inspired you working on these projects and then doing some writing for the show that you love to do a full theatrical animated project yourself?
Seth Rogen: Yes it's definitely something we've talked about.
Anything in particular? I mean is there - is it based on something that exists or have you - has it, you know, brought about something, you know, in your head that you thought, you know, an idea that now you think the animation world might, you know - for your story to go?
Seth Rogen: Yes, I mean the fact that, you know, these movies are kind of becoming cheaper to make in a lot of ways has been what interests me because, you know, the types of movies we make, you know, they definitely range in their audiences, you know, a movie like the Green Hornet obviously we are making it, you know, for everybody. But, you know, not all of our sense of humor is like that. So the fact that now you can make an animated movie for slightly cheaper than $500 billion I've taken note of that and we've considered, you know, maybe taking our stab at it one day.
Have the producers of these films talked to you about maybe developing either a version like this which is the Halloween special or doing some writing work if there's a sequel that comes out for it?
Seth Rogen: No they haven't. But I don't take that personally.
Monsters Vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space will air on NBC this Wednesday, October 28 (8-8:30 p.m. ET).