Porno for Dummies: Seth Rogen Gets It On

With a floundering economy, many of us are getting creative and thinking of ways to generate some extra cash. Taking on a second job, perhaps. Auctioning off grandma’s fine china on eBay. Or how about making your very own porno movie? Well, that’s the genesis behind writer/director Kevin Smith’s newest flick, Zack and Miri Make a Porno — a movie Smith proudly says is, “very direct and dirty, but it’s sweet.” The story centers around Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), two lifelong friends and roommates knee-deep in financial woes. When the electricity and plumbing are about to be shut off during mid-winter in Pittsburgh, they decide the only way to make some quick cash and get out of their financial funk is to make a homemade porno. “This is a dirty movie,” says Rogen. “There’s literally assholes in this movie. A lot of people figuratively say their movies have assholes in it — like actors or grips who behave like assholes. Our movie actually has an asshole in it.” I sat down with Rogen to talk about Zack and Miri, what Hollywood celebrity he would want to make a porno with, why John Cassavetes would have made great porno, and perhaps one non-porn-related question.

What did you first think of the script when you read it? I thought it was funny and wanted to do it. I’ve always wanted to work with Kevin Smith. It has been a goal of mine. I was very flattered when Kevin offered the role to me, and it was shocking that he even knew who I was. When someone you really like wants to work with you, and it’s also someone who inspired you to do what you do in the first place, it’s thrilling.

You’ve had numerous highly successful collaborations with Judd Apatow, like Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. What are the similarities and differences between working with Apatow and Kevin Smith? Their movies tonally are similar — a mix of raunchiness and sweetness. However, their styles on-set are very different. It’s as simple as Judd doesn’t really know what he wants. He knows what he wants the scenes to be about, but as far as how the information comes out — who says what and what the jokes are — he discovers all of that while we’re shooting. On the other hand, Kevin is very specific and he knows exactly what he wants. He knows what the shots are, and he literally edits the movie. That’s the fundamental difference, and they’re both great.

Because of almost all of the movies you have acted in, many women are saying that these days, they’re more attracted to nerdy romantic guys. Good!

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Do you enjoy playing these types of roles? Yeah, I just try to do movies that I would like to go see. I think romantic comedies, when handled right, can be a really great genre.

There is a really funny high school reunion scene in Zack and Miri. Have you been to your high school reunion yet? It’s still two years to my ten-year reunion. I would never go. I’d be such a dick. “Guess what I do, guys?!”

Any old friends or high-school crushes you would want to see? No. I see everyone I want to see from high school, and I have stopped talking to everyone I don’t.

During the shooting of Zack and Miri, Elizabeth Banks said she felt comfortable doing the sex scenes with you. I cover a lot.

There’s also really great chemistry between the two of you in the film. Elizabeth’s great and we’re friends. I think that helps, and you can tell that we know each other. She has a really kind of dirty sensibility, which is one of the reasons I thought she would be great for the movie. I knew she wouldn’t sue me. I give her all the credit.

Were you curious to meet real porn stars Traci Lords and Katie Morgan during the filming of the movie? There have been porn stars in literally every movie I have ever been in. It was not weird to work with them, it has become par for the course. To me you need a porn star on set just to make the film.

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How was it to shoot this movie during winter in Pittsburgh? You must have been freezing your balls off (no pun intended). The cold weather wasn’t so bad. I was actually equipped to deal with the cold slightly better than, say, my girlfriend who’s from Florida. I actually can’t play hockey at all. I didn’t skate in the movie. That was fake.

To pick a porn name, it’s been advised to use the name of your childhood pet as your first name and the street you grew up on as your last name. What would yours be? Aloysius St. James

If you could make a porno with any Hollywood celebrity who would it be? Jonah Hill.

If you had financial woes in real life, would you ever consider making a porno with a close friend? Maybe, yeah. But, I honestly don’t know who would see it.

When watching a porno, what do you find to be more interesting … the sex or the dialogue? I don’t watch porn with dialogue. I’m far beyond that. I watch the down and dirty stuff.

What famous movie director — dead or alive — do you think would make the best porno? That’s a good question. I’d like to see a John Cassavetes porno. It would have that really “real” feel, and he’d put his whole family in it.

What advice do you have for any novice couple making a porno? If you’re a man, don’t talk a lot. People don’t want to hear you … they want to just focus on the woman.

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