Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill have a professional relationship spanning more than a decade and numerous films. Are the two actors friends away from their work?
Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill are friends. They first met when Hill was cast in a minor role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” in 2005. Rogen later cast Hill in “Knocked Up”. Hill’s big break came when he starred in “Superbad”, where he played a fictitious version of Rogen. The two became friends, with Hill attending Rogen’s wedding.
For more about Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill’s history on and off the big screen, read on.
Following the cancellations of both “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared”, each lasting just one season, Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen were at a loose end.
Rogen had moved from his native Canada to Los Angeles at just 16 after being cast in “Freaks and Geeks” and Apatow felt a sense of responsibility for the young actor.
Beyond that, Apatow said he wanted to prove a point and take a form of revenge on NBC for canceling the show by providing the cast with further opportunities to become stars.
The series starred such talents as Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, and Jason Segel and all of Apatow’s projects in the following years have featured at least one actor from “Freaks and Geeks”.
It was one of these Apatow projects that first brought Rogen face to face with Jonah Hill. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” featured Rogen as Cal, one of the protagonist’s coworkers and advisors.
The role grew Rogen’s profile significantly but the movie also provided an early appearance by another future star. Jonah Hill appears in a single scene as a customer trying to buy a pair of disco boots, complete with goldfish in the soles.
Hill had a larger role in “Knocked Up” in 2007, the film that launched Rogen’s career as a Hollywood leading man.
The movie coincided with the making of “Superbad”, which released just a month after “Knocked Up”, finally realizing the script that Rogen and his best friend, Evan Goldberg, wrote together in high school.
Rogen and Goldberg wanted to write a movie that replicated real high school life without romanticizing it, with all the vulgarity and anxiety it contained.
Rogen has talked about how he felt “American Pie” came the closest to capturing the high school experience but that it lacked the real emotions and conflicts of being a teenager.
The protagonists of the movie, Seth and Evan were, unsurprisingly, heavily based on Rogen and Goldberg themselves.
Hill was keen to have a starring role in the film and repeatedly asked to be put in the film, with Rogen refusing due to his age. Hill was only a year younger than Rogen, both in their early 20s, and Rogen felt that Hill was too old to play a high school kid.
During the filming of “Knocked Up”, Rogen allowed Hill to take an impromptu audition in a trailer and says Hill was so funny that he immediately changed his mind.
Rogen and Hill, together with Judd Apatow, went on to make several more movies together including “Pineapple Express”, “Funny People”, “This is the End” and others.
While they have worked separately in recent years, with Hill, in particular, taking more serious roles and earning Academy Award nominations for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Moneyball”, they have remained good friends.
Apatow and Hill were in attendance for Rogen’s wedding to Lauren Miller in 2011. Rogen and Hill could also be seen heckling mutual friend James Franco when he hosted “SNL” in 2017.
Rogen has said that Hill is his most difficult friend to work with but the results are clearly worth the trouble, with the pair working together on some of the most beloved comedies of the 21st Century.