Do you find yourselves fearing different things as you get older?
JF: Hmmm.... That’s a good question.
Physical things, like killer bees, or more spiritual and cosmic things, like irrelevancy, or leaving your mark?
SR: I was angstier when I was younger. I probably fear less as I get older, because you realize the things that you thought had big stakes don’t anymore. “Oh, I have a new movie coming out and it’s not doing well” used to be the end of the fucking world. Now, it’s like, “Well, let’s do it again!”
JF: I get concerned about all the big things, but I’ve had a really good life. I know I’m very fortunate. So I have less of a need to hold on to things, or need more, more, more. If I’m honest about how good things have been, I think, “If it went away, don’t be greedy.”
I was really late getting hair under my arms I was really late getting hair under my arms, and I don't know how I got it into my head, but I thought it was 'cause I jerked off too much. - James Franco
Speaking of greedy: Franco, you’re the face of Gucci, and you’ve been in a movie with Gucci Mane.7 If the world was ending, and you could only save one....
JF: Do I save all of Gucci? The clothes? All of the suits?
Sure. Do you loot all the suits and bucket hats your heart desires, or do you save Gucci Mane?
SR: How can you not save Gucci Mane?!
Ask Gucci, when they end Franco’s endorsement.
JF: I gotta save Gucci Mane. Bros over suits, duh.
SR: Bros before clothes. [Both laugh.]
So now you’ve saved Gucci Mane, but you’re out of bucket hats and food. If you had to cannibalize one part of each other—one limb or appendage—what would it be?
JF: Are we still alive or dead?
The world’s ending and you have to cannibalize each other.
JF: So, kill each other?
SR: Oh, man. That’s so tough. I could eat his face alone, but I’ve seen it in a bunch of movies. It wouldn’t look right. I could eat the arm from 127 Hours.
JF: [Looks over at Rogen’s legs.] You’ve got some nice thighs—
SR: You’ve already seen what it’s like to be without an arm, cinematically.
JF: —could sustain me for a while.
If the world were ending, and you could interview one last person, who would it be?
SR: Woody Allen.
Woody Allen would be freaking out.
SR: Yeah, he would not be able to talk to me if the world was ending. He’d probably be pretty upset about it. Or he’d feel validated.
JF: Um, Cormac McCarthy.8
Jesus. That’s terrifying.
SR: Is he still alive?
JF: Yeah, I’ve actually talked to him. But he doesn’t do interviews.
Not at all.
SR: If he senses your conversation turning toward questions, he just ends it. “What did you have for breakfast?” “Well, that’s dangerous territory.” [Laughs.]
JF: He just sits on the other end of the line, in silence.
Speaking of awkward: This would be a good time to revisit the eternal question of a Freaks and Geeks movie. Especially with the Veronica Mars movie happening now.
JF: They’re doing a movie now? Really? How many years later?
SR: Yeah! They funded it through Kickstarter.
JF: But it’s the same actors?
Yep. All of ’em.
JF: Oh, wow. [Turns to Rogen.] Let’s do it, man.
Wait, come on, seriously—would you guys ever do the Freaks and Geeks movie?
JF: I guess. Like, we’ve discussed it periodically.
SR: Yeah! Why the fuck not?
Did you imagine that show having this kind of legacy and life span?
SR: No one liked it!
JF: It got canceled. Nobody wanted to see it.
Does seeing it get a cult audience feel vindicating?
JF: Now is when it feels vindicating. It hadn’t felt that way until six months ago when it got on Netflix....
It jumped to the top of the most watched list.
SR: And now Undeclared has, too. I never thought this would happen. Hands down, I get recognized more for Freaks and Geeks now than when it was on the air. A thousand times more.
You said earlier that you would act like rational human beings if the end of the world were approaching. But, let’s get real here. Who would start masturbating furiously after six weeks in lockup?
SR: That’s a good question. [Considers this for a moment.] It might be me.
JF: I’m sure everyone would. When I was going through puberty I was the oldest kid, so I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I thought it was somehow bad, like it would stunt my growth—so I really tried to stop.9 [Laughs.] I was really late getting hair under my arms, and I thought it was ’cause—
SR: —you jerked off too much? It was the friction of your arm.
JF: I don’t know how I got it into my head, but I thought it was because I jerked off too much. There was no Google or anything where I could look it up, so I really tried to stop, and I couldn’t. I was like, [Makes jerking off motion.] No! You can’t.
SR: [Holding back laughter.] That’s so sad!
JF: I’d start slow and be like: Don’t finish.
SR: Evan and I lived together for a while, and we wrote together at the time. We realized it actually became more convenient for us to schedule our jacking off sessions.
JF: This was in high school?!
SR: No, this was in our 20s. And then we found—and this was just a time-saver—we would jerk off at the same time, in our own rooms. It made no sense. Like, “First you jerk off, then I jerk off? We should just both do it at the same time."10
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Matthew Henson. (SET DESIGNER) David Ross. (GROOMING) Franco: Jamal Hammadi / Rogen: Catherine Furniss. (MAKEUP) Antonella Renyer. (CLOTHING) On Franco: Tank top by American Apparel / Shorts by Topman. On Rogen: Shirt by Stüssy Deluxe / Shorts by Gant by Michael Bastian
1. As we would learn before this interview ended. [BACK]
2. Shelley Duvall was traumatized on the set of The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, who made her do 127 takes of hitting Jack Nicholson with a bat. [BACK]
3. When this interview started, it was just us and Rogen—no Franco, who wouldn’t walk in for another five minutes. In those five minutes, Rogen explained that “Franco’s character was much worse in the original draft” of the script, which portrayed him as (in Rogen’s words) a “full-on asshole.” Franco suggested that there be at least one valid, real relationship in the script, which got changed, and toned down Franco’s assholery. [BACK]
4. Who amputated his own arm. [BACK]
5. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. [BACK]
6. This is funny to Rogen because he understands that they’re two of the most vile, perverted, and utterly fucked up characters on television. And that their movie will never, ever happen. [BACK]
7. That movie being Spring Breakers. [BACK]
8. Who, a) is famously reclusive and press-shy and, b) wrote the most depressing book ever about the end of the world, The Road. [BACK]
9. Remember, we warned you. [BACK]
10. At this point, Gina, our photo editor, walks into the room. And James and Seth stand up, walk out laughing, and continue to go about their work. [BACK]