We’re big fans of Pineapple Express, the modestly budgeted action comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which grossed over $100 million in 2008. Conceived by Rogen, his writing partner Evan Goldberg and producer Judd Apatow, Pineapple Express is incredibly quotable and endlessly re-watchable, with a standout supporting turn by Danny McBride. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the stoner classic, Seth took to Twitter and unleashed some Wikipedia-smashing bits of trivia. Here we’ll take a look at 10 things Seth Rogen revealed about Pineapple Express.
Many filmmakers draw on their real life experience to add authenticity to their productions, whether it’s a twist of phrase from a specific region, certain wardrobe choices, the set decoration, or the difference between which weapons a character might use. As Seth explained in the first in his series of Tweets, “In Pineapple Express, me and my co-writer Evan had to roll all the cross joints needed to film (about 100) ourselves because nobody else on the crew could roll them properly.”
What’s in a name?
Contrary to popular opinion, the real life weed variation was named after the film, and not the other way around. The title actually tied into Rogen and Goldberg’s Vancouver upbringing. “The name Pineapple Express was around for years before the movie,” Seth Tweeted. “It’s a Hawaiian weather system that sometimes hits the Pacific Northwest, which is where we’re from. Evan heard the name and said, ‘That would be a great name for a movie.’ Years later, we found a perfect fit. There was NO strain of weed called Pineapple Express when we made the movie. We said, ‘If one day, people are out there selling weed called Pineapple Express, it worked.”
Pineapple Express wasn’t the only weed moniker talked about in the movie with a non-smoke related real-life origin. “Saul calls his shit weed ‘Snicklefritz’ because it’s what our practical FX supervisor would call his second in command when he didn’t like what he was doing,” Seth Tweeted. “And we thought it was hilarious.”
Like the greatest actors in cinema, the Pineapple Express crew suffered for their art. Rogen broke his finger during the fight scene at Red’s house. “Danny McBridge got his head cracked open when Franco hit him with the bong,” he tweeted, later adding, “There’s a shot (that’s in the movie) when we are running through the woods, Franco hits his head on a tree. He actually hit his head on a screw that was holding a pad in place and got stitches.” This is why James Franco wears a headband in the movie.
Seth’s movie breakthrough came courtesy of The 40-Year Old Virgin followed by Knocked Up, both of which of course were directed by Pineapple Express producer Judd Apatow, who’d given Seth his first acting gig, TV’s Freaks and Geeks. Years before she made headlines across cable news, adult film actress Stormy Daniels had small roles in both 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Turns out she was also in Pineapple Express. “Red refers to his ex wife having gotten out of jail recently,” Seth Tweeted. “There’s a pic of Red and his ex wife, who was played by Stormy Daniels.”
In one of his anniversary tweets, Seth wrote, “We wrote Pineapple Express for me to play Saul and Franco to play Dale. James wanted to switch roles, and I didn’t care that much, so we did.” A decade before, during a Paley Fest panel, Seth said the role reversal was initially Apatow’s idea. “When we originally wrote it there was a leading guy and I was the stoner buddy and Judd said, ‘Why don’t we switch that and make Franco the funny stoner and you kind of be the straight guy?’… Franco did a table read and he was so funny, [I said] ‘I guess I’ll do the other part.”
Seth revealed there was some cross-pollination between Pineapple Express and another of his Goldberg/Apatow collaborations. “The shots of the dick drawings on the principals desk in Superbad was actually filmed on the set of Pineapple Express in the woods while we were shooting Dale and Saul destroying their cell phones.”
Unsurprisingly, Seth loves his costars just as much as the rest of us. (For the record, we’re even fans of Your Highness over here.) “Red was originally supposed to die the first time he was shot when he was tied up in his apartment,” Seth explained. “But we thought Danny McBride was so funny that we just kept bringing him back to life.” Speaking of that apartment scene, Seth went on to Tweet, “While we were filming the scene where Red is taped to the chair… Danny had to actually be taped in the chair all day and we couldn’t let him out because it took too long to put him back.”
The flying leap
Seth said he did “99%” of his own stunts in Pineapple Express “(which might explain all the injuries)” including this one, where he jumps down toward the great Gary Cole, one of the stars of another cult classic, Office Space. In a follow-up Tweet, Seth confirmed he was so hung over while filming that scene that he actually threw up.
The smoking billboard
When a fan asked about the sweet 2008 billboard on Hollywood’s Sunset Blvd., Seth lamented, “We DID have a smoking billboard for Pineapple Express that got shut down by the fire department because people kept thinking it was on fire.”
Check out Seth’s Twitter feed for more nuggets, like his favorite of the “weird references,” why they enlisted Huey Lewis to write an original theme song, and the legendary DP responsible for a Pineapple Express themed Oscars skit.
Since we started making these videos, a lot of you have asked whether or not I am Seth Rogen.
Am I Seth Rogen? No, I am not. My name is Ryan J. Downey. I’m a big fan of Seth and his movies, the charity he runs with his wife, Lauren Miller, and as you may have guessed, his Tweets. I even got to interview him once, like seven years ago. While I’m a longtime straight edge dude who hasn’t smoked weed since that one time in a cemetery with my buddy Matt Reece when I was in ninth grade, I don’t mind the comparisons. While we may never get that Pineapple Express sequel, like the one we they teased in This is the End, I’d like to pitch an animated series, or a LEGO series. I’m happy to do the voice performance! We’d just have to sample Seth’s laugh.