By Fred Topel | Images property of Columbia Pictures
Judd Apatow likes to take indie directors and turn them mainstream. He did it for Greg Motola in Superbad. Pineapple Express is David Gordon Green's turn.
David Gordon Green Gets an Ounce of Pineapple Express
"Making it was a blast," said Green. "I'd kind of gotten to the point professionally where I was pretty emotionally exhausted from making dramatic films. So I was looking to do a comedy and found a group of guys that were really supportive of my interests in it though it was a little outside of my wheel house."
The Apatow family gave Green a beginner's course on their previous movies, to prep him for his own. "Strangely, I visited the set of Knocked Up and met Seth and Evan and Judd and Shauna [Robertson] and it was amazing how much their process seemed familiar to me, translating that into the work that I had done and giving actors a lot of freedom and doing a lot of improvisation and a total respect and collaboration with all the department heads and all the crews and just really making it an enjoyable industry rather than just clocking in and doing a job which a lot of movies are. We really decided to blend the two teams and see what would happen and it was a great opportunity for all of us to do something outside of the expected and contrast and push each other to do our best. We had a lot of fun."
With a stoner action comedy, Green's indie skills came in handy. "Honestly, the biggest challenge was that we had a comedy budget. We really got excited the more we got into the development of it about blowing stuff up and having shoot outs. That stuff costs money. When you want to have a car chase and they give you a day to do it and you say, 'Well, we need like a week' and then you compromise and do it in four. It's all the kind of negotiating the financial things, but we were really fortunate to work with a studio that was really supportive of these guys."
Today it seems like a no brainer, but during production, Pineapple Express was still an up and coming cast. "It was before Superbad and Knocked Up had even come out, but everyone just felt really great about them and the energy surrounding Seth and Evan [Goldberg] and Judd, all of these guys, and the idea of getting Franco back into comedy as well. Then also it was bringing in Danny [McBride] who I went to college with and a few new faces like Amber [Heard] and Gary Cole and Rosie Perez. It was just making a lot of friends and trying something new. The challenges were just hilarious things to confront anyway and everyone just kind of looked at each other and would shrug and say, 'Lets just jump into it and do our best.'"
Pineapple Express opens to theaters on August 6th.