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Seth Rogen and Sarah Snook in An American Pickle

In the aid of promoting safety and security, certain protocols have been put in place in the entertainment industry establishing on-set measures deemed necessary to protect cast and crew from the novel coronavirus. Productions have been able to both start and restart in recent weeks because of these moves – which is a positive thing given that it means people are being employed and the business has a pulse.

That being said, with case numbers continuing to surge in America it is entirely reasonable for any individual to not to want to participate in the communal activity that is moviemaking – and one of those individuals presently is An American Pickle star Seth Rogen.

It’s fair to say that every filmmaker in Hollywood is assessing their personal level of comfort when it comes to shooting a movie or television show right now, and Seth Rogen made his point of view on the matter clear when I had the chance to speak with him via video chat last week. Our conversation about his new HBO Max feature evolved to a discussion about the present and future of Hollywood during COVID-19, and Rogen explained that he is currently feeling uneasy about filming something new right now:

What I do think is that I personally don't think that any element of American society will function the way that it used to until there is a vaccine for this virus. It does not seem like people here are incredibly interested in doing what is necessary to contain the spread of this pandemic, and that is largely at the advice of their very ill informed representatives. So my instinct is that I can't necessarily imagine being on a set without there being a vaccine, personally.

This isn’t to say that he isn’t being actively creative while practicing social distancing. Being a writer, director and producer in addition to being an actor, Seth Rogen told me that he has had some spurts of impressive productivity in recent months where he has been “writing, honestly, more than [he has] in years.” At the same time, though, those periods have been matched by periods where he stops and feels that “writing is ludicrous.”

Adding a kind of concession to his feelings regarding being on a movie set right now, Rogen acknowledged that part of his hesitation stems from the fact that the film he has next in the pipeline is a bit too demanding for the present state of the world. At the same time, though, he hit upon an interesting notion while talking about projects that are currently developing under his production company, Point Grey Pictures. Continued the multi-hyphenate,

That is also speaking to the things I know that we have to film next and know that they are all very big things. Honestly, as producers, there are some very, very small projects that we have that we're looking at ways to film them. They're so insulated. But in general, it seems like people are just not... and if this is going to go on...

This is an outlook that has the potential to ultimately define the next couple years of cinema. Sure, there will still be blockbusters, but it’s reasonable to think that the market will be dominated by more intimate, small-scale stories simply because they are more practical and easy to produce while the world struggles to contain the pandemic.

To watch my full interview with Seth Rogen, including discussion of An American Pickle, his future return to directing, and life during the pandemic, just click play on the video below!

It may be a minute before we get to see a new Seth Rogen performance, so you should definitely do yourself a favor and watch An American Pickle on HBO Max – especially because his dual role means you’re getting two Seth Rogens for the price of one. The generational comedy features the star as a Jewish Ellis Island immigrant who gets trapped and preserved in a pickle vat for a century. After being discovered and revived, he is taken in by his only descendant, an aspiring app developer.

Directed by Brandon Trost, written by Simon Rich, and co-starring Sarah Snook, Jorma Taccone, Sean Whalen, and Eliot Glazer, An American Pickle is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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