Jay Baruchel

What are you reading? Anything good?

Jay Baruchel: I think it’s good. Book 2 of a 12 book series, the Necroscope series by Brian Lumley.

Sounds intense.

It’s my bag. It’s vampires and psychics and spies and all sorts of crazy nonsense.

We’ll ask you the same questions we just asked Danny and it’ll be like “The Newlywed Game” and we’ll see if you give the same answers. This was originally going to be “Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse” so you knew about this a long time ago. When was the first time you read the script and knew what was going to happen…

In this? In the feature incarnation of it? I probably read the first draft of it like last spring, about a year ago, yeah, and it’s been six, seven years that I’ve been waiting for this thing to finally get going and I’m still blown away that people think our little short can be a movie, so it’s pretty neat to see it come to fruition.

How did whole thing begin? How did the short happen?

The short happened because a friend of ours named Jason Stone, who is over there at video village. He was graduating from USC and he kind of wanted a calling card for potential directing gigs so he and Evan came up with this silly idea of me and Seth being stuck in an apartment together and just bitching at each other, so we went to USC and shot for two days on this awesome set that these kids built and yeah, that was it.

Was there ever a point when the feature version was just going to be the two of you or was it always going to be more people?

Oh, I have no idea. Yeah. I think maybe at the very beginning, but I think that would have limited the scope of thething and the voices that could be in it. I think just him and I made sense for seven minutes or a trailer but I think for a whole movie people would probably get sick of just the two of us…

Just getting ready for you to be killed off.

That’s exactly right and that’s the last thing we want. Yeah, I mean, the two of us in a house for two hours is not nearly as entertaining as however many of us there are… five? Six? Five? Six? Six!

Meeting with you and Seth Rogen and James Franco, but what was Rihanna doing in that meeting? She’s in one of thescenes, right?

Yeah, she comes as a guest to the party. There’s a lot of famous people at the party. There’s a party at Franco’s house that starts it off so she’s just one of the guests.

Does she meet a grisly death? Danny was telling us about some grisly deaths.

Why would you think I would give that away? (Laughter)

I know you’re a horror fan so have you been excited when they were shooting people dying? Have you been here the whole time even when you don’t have to shoot?

No, especially because some of the people involved are KNB and I’ve been a fan of all the shit that they’ve worked with because I was a big Fangoria kid, all through high school, I still am a Fangoria guy and I’m a little versed in their resumes, I’ve seen “Wishmaster” even, so yeah, it’s the best when I get to see all sorts of arterial spray and all sorts of gross shit done. Yeah, I’m a kid in the candy store.

Danny says you play heightened versions of yourselves.


So how close would you say you’re sticking to Jay, are you playing a douchier version of yourself?

Yeah, we all are kind of. Like I think they take the aspects of our personalities that are most conducive to punchlines and story arcs and exacerbate them, so it’s a tightrope. There’s definitely some stuff I do or say in this movie that real Jay wouldn’t do or say but yeah, it’s strange. We are ourselves and we’re not. It’s kind of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-ish in that respect.

Is it hard to present yourself as yourself and have a different of yourself?

I mean, it’s weird. I come up against conscience issues, like “How did I get here?” but I’m Jay in name, but for example, one of the things we decided, because I’m getting married in September—Seth is married and Danny is married—but none of us have any significant others in this because we just thought that would be entirely too much to explain and who the hell really cares? Nobody cares that I’m getting married so… (laughter) so yeah, it’s weird little things like that, so yeah, it’s a bit of a tightrope and it’s definitely easier playing myself because I get to say whatever I’d say for the most part.

What is the worst of yourself that comes out under this intense pressure of the end of the world?

Well, without giving too much away, they definitely pounced on the self-righteous holier than thou aspects of me, so there’s a lot of preaching in this.

In terms of authorship, you guys have all come to the point where you’re being responsible for your own films. “Goon” last year was something you were heavily involved in getting made and writing and it feels like you’re getting more personal in what you’re doing. Is that something that you feel on this film is an expression of the Seth and Evan you’ve known for a long time and you’re seeing more of them in what they’re doing?

I mean, yeah. I mean, not in the sense of how Seth is playing himself persé but in the sense of the themes of the movie and what they want to show the world. This flick is their voice, 150%, you know. I mean, it’s obviously a collaboration—that’s not just lip service—but they encourage it. You guys will see that they foster that atmosphere. That being said, this is Seth and Evan effectively given a blank slate to do whatever they want with. I won’t go so far as to say carte blanche but damn near close, as close as they’ve come so far. As a friend and a fan of theirs, that’s kind of exciting.

I’m sure a lot of people assume that you’re a lot like the characters you play but how difficult is it to play a person that is yourself without making them assume this is you?

At this point, who the fuck cares? Like people will infer what they infer, I’ve learned that a long time ago, and if I got worried about people assuming I’m like the characters I play I probably would have quit ten years ago. In those rare moments when I’m faced with that, I just remind myself that less than a quarter of actors can feed themselves from acting and I’ve been able to have a career doing that for 18 years, so that trumps any of that stereotyping issue.

Is there any reference to any of the other movies you’ve guys done? Do you throw out names of movies you’ve done?

Oh, yeah, definitely. There’s a lot of shitting on each other’s work in this movie. (laughter) Indeed, indeed, a fair bit, yeah.

When you make a film with all of your friends, does the line between work and play get blurred? Does someone have to reel you guys in at times?

Yeah, probably, yeah. It can probably get a bit too colloquial sometimes but no, I’d be lying if I said I really want to work for strangers. Sometimes you have to I guess and that’s part and parcel doing any job but anybody would prefer to work with people they’ve known a long time so…

Do you have input into your costumes since you’re playing yourselves? Are you wearing what you would normally wear?

I’m wearing the studio-approved version of what I would wear. (Laughter)

That’s fair. It’s close enough.

It’s close enough. Yeah, exactly, close enough. Zombie vs. Shark.

What about shitting on each other’s work? So has anyone said, “You can’t shit on a Sony movie?”

Oh, no, surprisingly not at all, no. Nothing seems to be sacred here. We’re just blaspheming constantly. Not at all.The sky’s the limit. The only concern with that stuff is for my money, the average working class person that buys tickets probably couldn’t care less about shit like that so as long as it’s funny but nobody goes to the movies to see a movie about people talking about movies, so aside from that, no, we’ve been able to say whatever we want.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with James Franco.

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