Thanks to 2012 we’ve had quite a lot of movies about the end of the world recently. But This Is the End, written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad), is in its own league because it’s not about just a bunch of random people trying to survive mega-volcanos or tidal waves. It’s about James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Rihanna, Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling and many, many more familiar celebrities trying to survive the apocalypse. Not all of them do.
They do all play themselves, though, and the result has all the ingredients to make an entertaining movie about the end of the world. We visited the set last summer and got to see just a sliver of the fun firsthand. Get even more details over at our sister site Movies.com, but to begin with here are some answers to the questions that may pop into your head after watching the trailer for This Is the End:
How closely do the actors play themselves?
They’re a mixture of their real selves and what audiences think of them. Their careers are accurate, and they all make fun of each other’s movies, but their personal lives aren’t. For example, they’re all single because that was easier than explaining where their wives and girlfriends are.
Are the other celebrities in the movies just cameos?
Yes and no. The movie opens at a celeb-packed party at James Franco’s house, which he designed himself. Most of them either die brutal, bloody deaths during the apocalypse, or get separated from the gang once it hits. Rogen was coy with the details on set, but he did say that Emma Watson has “more than just a party cameo.”
How crazy is the apocalypse going to be?
Pretty crazy, it looks like. For starters special effects studio KNB FX (behind the zombies on The Walking Dead) did the practical effects in the movie, and they’re not exactly known for skimping on the red stuff. There’s a good amount of CGI in the film, but it’s mainly used to extend backdrops or pull off the impossible (like a hole in the ground that swallows people). They built a lot of sets and used a lot of physical elements, though. There are even demons involved.
And that makes Danny McBride’s answer about the types of deaths in the movie make a bit more sense. “I don’t think I would choose one over the other, from people having their faces ripped off to arms ripped off to terrible things being put inside of them.”
What kind of apocalypse is it?
They haven’t explicitly said. Co-writer/director Evan Goldberg told us prior to the set visit that it was the rapture, and you can see what looks like people going to heaven in the trailer, but it’s pretty obvious from the horrors on display that this is not strictly biblical. It’s much, much worse. “I’m not really enlightening people as to exactly how that goes down, or what happens," Goldberg said. "It’s just the End of the World.”
This Is the End comes to theaters June 12, 2013. And now…photos!