Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen form the most unlikely comedic pair in The Guilt Trip. Movie Fanatic sat down with the comic star and the pop culture icon to get inside their hilarious and heartwarming chemistry and why the legend has her son to thank for finally agreeing to do the fantastic film after Rogen and director Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) passionately pursued her.
Movie Fanatic: Since this movie is about sons and mothers, Barbra, how crazy do you drive your son? And Seth, how zany does your mother drive you?
Seth Rogen: Probably the same answer -- very! I think my mom drives me crazy sometimes. I have a good relationship. But, it's like in the movie. For no reason, I get annoyed. I'll just find myself kind of reverting back to like a mentality of like a 14-year-old kid who just doesn't want to be around his parents. It's one of the things I related to most in the script, honestly. It was just that dynamic where your mother's trying, and the more she tries, the more she bugs you. And the more it bugs you, the more she tries. That is very, at times, real to my relationship with my mother.
Barbra Streisand: I probably touch his hair too much!
Movie Fanatic: We understand your son Jason played a huge part in you accepting this role. How so?
Barbra Streisand: He was very important in my decision to make the movie because he was recovering from back surgery. So he was in bed for a few days after.
Seth Rogen: He couldn't escape [laughs].
Barbra Streisand: I brought the script over and read it out loud. It was interesting actually. His father (Elliot Gould) was in the room, too. Isn't that funny? We were both coddling our son. So he became the audience, and Jason was reading all the parts with me. And he said, “I think you should do it, mom.” I really trust his integrity and his opinion. He clinched the deal.
Movie Fanatic: Barbra, the film’s title, The Guilt Trip, plays into the guilt that some mothers are really good at giving…
Barbra Streisand: Mothers develop guilt trips, I mean, when I was working a lot, and I felt guilty as a parent that I couldn't pick up my son every day from school, bake him cookies -- that kind of thing. I know that feeling. So I thought it was interesting [in the movie] to investigate this trying to be my son's friend, versus a mother.
Movie Fanatic: Is it true that if Barbra said no, you weren’t going to do the movie, Seth?
Seth Rogen: I was open to Shirley MacLaine.
Barbra Streisand: Is that what you said to them?
Seth Rogen: [Laughs] No. That's not true. I only would have done it if Barbra was doing it. They said, "They want you to do this movie with Barbra, and Barbra's not sure if she wants to do it." And I was like, "Well, just let me know if she says yes." And then I literally made like two movies during that time. And we were editing 50/50, and I got a call, "Barbra said yes!"
Barbra Streisand: It's great to feel wanted.
Movie Fanatic: How did you guys first get together for The Guilt Trip?
Barbra Streisand: Meeting each other for the first time? Well, Seth sussed me out.
Seth Rogen: I did.
Barbra Streisand: So he called people from the Focker movies, right? Tell it.
Seth Rogen: Yeah, I think I was actually working with John Schwartzman, who was the cinematographer on Meet the Fockers at the time this came up, and I think I asked him what he thought of Barbra, and he said she was great. I know Jay Roach (Fockers director), so I asked him. I think he said that she was awesome too.
Barbra Streisand: You called Ben Stiller…
Seth Rogen: Ben Stiller, I think I might have run into and asked. Yeah, everyone -- she checked. This Barbra Streisand lady checked out. So I thought I'd give her a shot.
Movie Fanatic: Who made who crack up the most on The Guilt Trip set?
Seth Rogen: She cracked me up quite a bit.
Barbra Streisand: Because it was more unexpected from me, probably, and I'm more serious.
Seth Rogen: Very serious woman, this lady, incredibly serious. The way we talk in real life is not entirely different than our rapport in the movie in some ways. We were getting along. It’s a lot of me trying to explain things to her about modern times.
Barbra Streisand: That's right.
Seth Rogen: And her trying to feed me (expletive) I don't want to eat.
Barbra Streisand: And yet, he copied my iPhone. I was the one with the iPhone.
Seth Rogen: She had an iPhone before me. I had a Blackberry. And then she was always playing games on her iPhone. I was like, “I've got to get one of these. If Barbra can work an iPhone, it's got to be fun.”
Barbra Streisand: But he would show me things like, yesterday, he asked me if I had a Twitter account. I said, "I don't know."
Seth Rogen: And I showed her that she did.
Barbra Streisand: Which I only use for political purposes. So I didn't know it was beyond that. I wouldn't know how to find it on my phone.
Seth Rogen: I'll show you. I change her clocks during daylight savings. I do all that.
Barbra Streisand: He's very handy.