Seth Rogen readily admits he enjoyed working with himself in An American Pickle, the new HBO Max comedy (in UK cinemas today) in which he plays dual roles — Herschel Greenbaum, the tough Eastern European immigrant who wakes up in 2020 Brooklyn after a hundred years preserved in a pickle vat, and Ben Greenbaum, his only living relative, a nebbish mobile app designer. In fact, he might even prefer it.
“I liked working with myself a lot more than I like working with most other actors, I can definitely say,” the popular and candid actor (Pineapple Express, Bad Neighbours, The Disaster Artist) tells Yahoo Entertainment in a video chat interview (watch above).
“I’m much more low maintenance. I’m a lot more punctual. I’m rarely on set waiting for myself to show up or emerge from my trailer or finish up a call with my manager or agent. I actually enjoy it.
“Other actors stress me out, to be totally honest. And I get nervous around other actors a lot of the time. So removing that I think was actually quite a pleasure.”
Despite some challenging logistics, Rogen, director Brandon Trost and company essentially shot the same movie twice, returning to each set location for the actor to shoot his scenes a second time rather than have him alternate between characters. And it was largely in the name of authentic facial hair.
“I didn’t want to wear a fake beard for the movie, because I think they look bad, and as an actor they’re very restrictive,” he says. “So I grew a big gigantic beard and we shot the entire movie as Herschel, and then I shaved and we went back and shot it again as Ben, basically.”
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After 2016’s Sausage Party, Pickle is the second food-related comedy in a matter of years for the famed weed aficionado, which inspired us to ask: How many of Rogen’s creative decisions are made post-smoke?
“I smoke weed all day every day and have for the past 20 years,” Rogen says, laughing. “So I’d say by nature I’m always post-smoke. So every creative decision you’ve ever seen me make throughout my entire life has been made after smoking weed.”
That is indeed what you call highly functioning.
An American Pickle is in UK cinemas from today, 7 August.