Seth Rogen and Will Reiser talk ’50/50′ and the last minute casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “He literally, within a matter of days, became this character”
Seth Rogen and writer/producer Will Reiser are, if you didn’t know, two real-life friends and collaborators on the humorous, but sad film that loosely follows the days after Reiser’s diagnosis with cancer.
50/50, was directed by Jonathan Levine and stars Joseph Gordon Levitt, who only “had one week to prepare”, for his portrayal of Will.
“We didn’t have anyone in mind when writing. It was kinda just like Will,” Rogen explained, but after what the two says was a very short discussion about Will himself playing the role”, ultimately the long time friends decided to go with someone else. “It would have been a horrible idea,” Reiser shared, while Rogan also agreed, “a very bad idea.”
Originally “James McAvoy was going to do it, but he had to leave because of a family emergency, and then I had known Joe [Levitt]. We thought he could be incredible, and he seemed really excited about it. He actually jumped into the role with very little prep time. It was incredibly impressive to watch. As an actor, I have to say, it’s the type of role a lot of people would want to work on for months and do research. He literally, within a matter of days, became this character. It was kind of miraculous.” Although you would assume filming on the set of a movie that centers mainly around cancer would be difficult, first time producer Rogen and Reiser, who plays the supporting character Greg in the movie, shared that “it felt like we were making a student film, because it was so relaxed. We were all collaborating. It was really nice. We’re not those people who think work needs to be harder than it needs to be. We really tried to have a relaxed environment on set, and we’re somewhat competent in our process — as competent as we need to be — and we hope it goes right. We really try to include everyone. We try to make it really fun. It was really great to set the tone — because I think producers do set the tone on set. Everyone is wondering, “Is this something I’ll get yelled at for? Is this the kind of thing people will go crazy about?” When everyone realizes that it’s fun, I think the whole movie becomes better.”
Now six years after hearing those terrible words Reiser’s cancer story will be retold by Seth Rogen the only way the two friends knew how – with humor. 50/50 will hit theaters on September 30th.