'Robert Downey Jr.'s On A TV Show:' Seth Rogen Gets Real About How He Felt Filming 40-Year-Old Virgin And What's Changed In Hollywood

 Seth Rogen in the 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Seth Rogen in the 40-Year-Old Virgin.

With the popularity of streaming and the unfortunate help of a global pandemic, there’s been a titanic shift in the way people consume their media. While theaters were once king, that is not necessarily the way it is anymore. Seth Rogen is one who remembers the days of working on TV when it was seen as the lesser medium, but that’s very much not the case anymore.

Once upon a time, movies and TV did not get equal respect. Movies were always seen as the place for actors to be, and Rogen himself remembers those days. He tells Variety that he remembers being in the cast of Freaks and Geeks and wishing he was making movies instead. When he was in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, it was like he finally "made it." Today, however, the actor has a more balanced approach, and he’s not the only one. Rogen said…

We’ve always been somewhat agnostic to who was giving us the money. Even with television. I’m always explaining to the slightly younger people that I work with that when I was young, TV and movies were not on the same level. When we were doing ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ all we wanted to do was be in movies. When we were making ’40 Year Old Virgin,’ and stuff it was like, movies were up here and TV was down there. And now that is not at all the case. Colin Farrell, on a TV show! Robert Downey Jr.’s on a TV show!

The shift seemed to start even before streaming. It was a big deal when Martin Sheen joined The West Wing cast as the President of the United States or when the lead in 24 became one of Keifer Sutherland's best roles. These were “movie stars” who were seen as taking a step down to be on TV. In actuality, it was the first wave of actors realizing they could do both.

As Rogen points out, Colin Farrell recently appeared in Apple TV+’s Sugar and Robert Downey Jr. appears in The Sympathizer for Max. Both men also produce the shows. Downey had done TV before, appearing on Ally McBeal, but at the time that was seen as part of Downey trying to restart his career.

There certainly was a time when you would not expect actors of their stature to appear regularly on TV shows, but that day is long past. Today, perhaps due to the best streaming services blurring the line between TV and movies, and the theatrical experience not returning to its prepandemic success, it certainly seems that the two mediums are about on par with each other.

Rogen himself doesn’t think movie theaters are going anywhere, even if the theatrical experience becomes smaller than it once was. And as he says, he’s now “agnostic” on the TV vs. movie debate. Things have certainly changed, and if anything is certain, they will probably change again.