Sneak peek: Streisand, Rogen take a 'Guilt Trip'
Posted October 2, 2012
What holiday gathering is complete without a side dish of familial guilt along with the turkey and cranberries?
This Christmas, however, moviegoers can simply hitch a ride with the mother-and-son team of Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as they hit the road in The Guilt Trip.
As Rogen succinctly puts it, "It's a story about a guy who is trying to not be really annoyed by his mother all the time."
The situation is relatively fresh. "There haven't been many comedies about a mother and a grown son," says director Anne Fletcher, whose previous effort, 2009's The Proposal, grossed nearly $320 million worldwide. "About the only one that comes to mind is Mother," which starred Debbie Reynolds and Albert Brooks in 1996. "I went back and watched it again, just to make sure we didn't do anything similar."
From the start, Fletcher sought out Rogen, 30, for Andy, an inventor of environmentally safe cleaning products, and Streisand, 70, for Joyce, a New Jersey widow who rarely sees her only child. On a trek back home, Andy decides to ask his mother to join him for a cross-country drive to Las Vegas with stops in Virginia, Tennessee and Amarillo, Texas — much to her overzealous delight and his multitude of mixed emotions.
The Funny Lady of this odd-couple pairing resisted for more than a year until finally agreeing to play her first movie lead since 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces. "Barbra has a very full life," explains Fletcher,who took a lot of phone meetings with the star before she relented. "But I didn't want to do this with anyone else. Not only did I need her as a director, but her fans needed to see her in something like this."
Meanwhile, Rogen faces off with his first movie mom ever (his parents in 2009's Funny People didn't make the cut). The raunchy wisecracker from Knocked Up and Pineapple Express was required to be more of a straight man than usual, allowing a buoyant Streisand to channel her outspoken characters from What's Up, Doc? and The Way We Were.
"Barbra was one of the reasons I was interested," says Rogen, who tamed his usual propensity for profanity to PG-13 levels. "If she wasn't in it, I probably wouldn't have done it with someone else. She is going to kill me for saying this, but when you meet her, she acts like a lot of Jewish mothers. I think she is the blueprint for every Jewish mother I've met over the last 30 years."
Legendary songstress Streisand, who doesn't sing a note in the film, has been known in the past to flash her diva-size temperament now and then. But Rogen, who gives high marks to his co-star's ad-libbing skills, didn't notice much attitude.
As he says, "Not by a long shot is she the most difficult actor I've ever worked with. Now, 25-year-old guys — they are difficult.''
He was most impressed by Streisand's encyclopedic knowledge of cinema, especially current releases. "She saw every film that opened each weekend during the summer we filmed. We watched Captain America and Bad Teacher at her house. She has definitely seen all my movies."
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