I've known about Seth Rogen ever since I watched "Freaks and Geeks" back in high school, but it wasn't until fall 2006 that I realized I was kind of weirdly similar to him, or at least the onscreen personas he's created. As Rogen's popularity has grown, I've increasingly been accused of looking like him, mostly from drunks on the Westside, but it's just because I'm tall, overweight, and sport curly hair and a beard. I probably can't stress enough that this is something people (again, mostly when drunk) do all on their own. They look at me and make the leap. There's a slightly dickheaded writer at The Hollywood Reporter who half-jokingly said I was the one going around telling people, including celebrities, that I looked like Rogen, but I'm not. That's what makes part of the recent South by Southwest so weird.
Covering film premieres for work let me do some red-carpet interviews, and while talking to Paul Rudd ahead of I Love You, Man, he joked, "When Jason (Segel) and I pulled up, I said, 'Oh, Seth's here.'" I laughed but mainly thought it was kind of surreal that someone who knew Rogen was parroting what I usually get from inebriated locals at the Scarlet Lady. Later that week, on the press line for Observe and Report, Michael Pena said, apropos of nothing, "You look like Seth, dude." A few minutes later, as Rogen walked up to do his 60 seconds of chatting for my paper, he stuck out his hand and said, "Hello, me." First words out of the guy's mouth. It was bizarre, but not unpleasant.
Anyway, after being told many times I resemble the actor, he confirmed it himself. I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean much of anything. I sat down for a few minutes the next day for interviews with him, Pena, Jody Hill, and Anna Faris, and I was also more comfortable interviewing Rogen than the rest just because I knew I wouldn't have to go very far to guess at what makes a 27-year-old sarcastic guy tick. We talked about movies and comic books, and I had a good time. He's a nice and completely normal guy.
My intro paragraph for the interview was given tonal direction by the editor and then chopped up anyway, so here's what it originally was:
"It makes sense that Seth Rogen is becoming a household name: He's almost earnestly normal, the kind of funny, smart, literate guy who's as down-to-earth as you'd expect from the man who came to fame playing stoner sidekicks. But he's also in the process of transforming that image, with roles like the unhinged security guard in Observe and Report and a bona fide superhero in Michel Gondry's forthcoming The Green Hornet. His days as the lovable schlub might be numbered after all."