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PINEAPPLE EXPRESS

About The Production
"Pineapple Express uses comedy to say that nothing good comes from getting high,” says Judd Apatow, producer of the new action-comedy. "All these guys' lives are a mess, they are going nowhere and, hopefully, almost getting murdered makes them rethink their current way of life. I always want the movies we make to be hilarious and thoughtful. I want to feel good about what we are saying.”

As funny as the movie is, the filmmakers were also very aware that they had to put their characters in real peril to trigger the high-stakes action that fuels the movie. "If you don't believe that these guys are in danger of getting killed, you won't believe that they would ever change,” says Apatow. "So, we looked at other action comedies that we liked – Midnight Run, Pulp Fiction – that had a common thread of just enough silly, over-the-top violence to show that the characters are in way over their heads.”

The idea for the film was one that Apatow had hidden away on a file. As Apatow tells it, "Many years ago, I thought to myself, ‘What would an action movie be like if the leads were chronically stoned?' It seemed funny to me, and I was even sober at the time.”

Apatow wrote the story with Seth Rogen and Rogen's writing partner, Evan Goldberg, and then Rogen and Goldberg wrote the screenplay. At the time, the team had already written Superbad, and Rogen had also penned several episodes of Apatow's brilliant-but-canceled series, "Undeclared.” "At the time, I was trying to get Superbad made, and failing at every turn,” says Apatow. "So I said to Seth and Evan, maybe you need to write something a little more commercial. Looking back now, I wonder if this idea was really the most commercial idea I could have given them, but that's what I thought at the time.”

The writing team was intrigued by the chance to write an action movie and explore the comedy of the characters' situation. "The hook for us was to create characters that are so stupid and lost, it'd take someone trying to murder them for them to realize that they need to get their act together,” says Rogen.

And so, Dale and Saul were born. In writing the screenplay, Rogen and Goldberg were careful to craft a story with a truly endearing core that audiences have come to expect from Judd Apatow's comedies, and helpful comments from friends showed them the path. Table reads are a common practice in television and motion picture production, but they often take place weeks or even days before shooting beings, as a means of the actors familiarizing themselves with the characters. Apatow makes a practice of table reading material very early as a way of testing the screenplay – what's working, what's not, which ideas could be developed, which pulled back. As Apatow recalls, "We did a table read a few years ago with Seth and James Franco and it was hilarious. A bunch of friends came to give notes, and our buddy Ian Roberts, the actor from Talladega Nights, said he thought the most interesting part was the idea that Seth and James did not know whether or not they were really friends or just business associates. So Seth and Evan went further with those moments and the scenes which focused on their developing friendship, and it got much funnier and sweeter.”

"That unlikely friendship is the heart of the film,” says producer Shauna Robertson. "When you see their friendship forged by fire – literally – you get why they would start to see each other as more than just a buyer or dealer.”

Of course, the other great way for the film's sweet nature to come through is in the casting.

"Originally, we wrote Saul for me,” Rogen states. "We just assumed I'd be the funny stoner buddy and we'd get some kind of leading man type to play Dale.”

Enter James Franco. Now well-known for his more serious role in the Spider-Man™ series, Franco first gained acclaim starring with Rog

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