Q&A: 'Prince Avalanche' director David Gordon Green plays 'Seth, James or Jonah?'

(Lenny Gilmore / RedEye )
August 12, 2013|Matt Pais, @mattpais | RedEye movie critic

In "Prince Avalanche," an artsy loner (Paul Rudd) and an immature doofus (Emile Hirsch) work together to repair roads in the middle of nowhere. Adapted from an Icelandic film, it's a slow and funny drama that director David Gordon Green says splits the difference between his quieter work ("George Washington," "All the Real Girls," "Snow Angels") and more crass studio comedies ("Pineapple Express," "Your Highness," "The Sitter"). 

At the James Hotel, the 38-year-old filmmaker—who recently completed directing the fourth season of “Eastbound and Down” and was told by Marilyn Manson that he looked like a lesbian—talked about appreciating “the anonymity of filmmaking,” a fan surprisingly claiming “Prince Avalanche” is his new favorite film to watch while stoned and if Seth Rogen, James Franco or Jonah Hill are most likely to find themselves in a variety of situations.

Among James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, who is most likely to have been in the following situations? If you have a corresponding story, feel free to tell that.

Pass out on your couch: Jonah. "It's not happened, but it's most likely to happen."

Stay up all night talking: Jonah. "That has happened. We spent a lot of time together in New York, and we just became really good friends. It was a very interesting time in both our lives. It was the first time we had this strange professional stability. He's a really thoughtful guy. He can be really intense and definitely has a unique worldview."

Argue with an interviewer: Jonah. "He'll call you out on your [bleep]. Did you read that Rolling Stone interview? There he goes."

Make you laugh so hard you pee in your pants: Jonah. "He just says some [bleeped]-up stuff that makes me laugh a lot. Franco does unintentionally. Franco does some [bleep] that makes me laugh. Sometimes I think he does it unintentionally. But he's funny as [bleep] whether he knows it or not."

Question something in a script: Jonah. "He's acing this exam."

Surprise you with a line reading: Seth. "On `Pineapple' I could just lean into him and say, `Let's shake it up; do something different.' Although it was funny too. He would say things and James would steal his lines. There's that scene in `Pineapple' where they're smelling the weed at the beginning at James' house. And I'd say, `Seth, let's do something different on this one. Say something else it smells like.' He's like, `I should say it smells like God's vagina or something.' We roll it and Franco steals it and uses that line. That's kind of funny, [their] odd rivalry."

Call you for help: James. "I feel like he'd get himself into some weird [bleep] and need somebody to navigate him out."

Call you to party: Jonah. "Seth would probably hang out at his house and play video games or watch movies. Jonah gets out and makes more of a social engagement of it. James has got too much studying to do."

Be found naked in a hallway: James. "Of course. He's probably ready to do that tonight."

Tip over a bong: Seth. "'Cause they're lying around his living room."

It’s interesting that you saw the “Prince Avalanche” dialogue as a conversation between different parts of yourself. Why didn’t you just play both parts?

I wonder that. I don’t think I’m good-looking enough. Those guys have a great similarity but contrast in their physical charisma. I don’t think I’d be a very good actor. I mumble too much, and I have B.O., which gets very off-putting to other actors. If you’re a director you can pull it off as just this kind of weirdo, but actors have to hang out with each other all day in front of the camera.

If you play both parts, it’s not a problem.

That’s true. I could do like they did “Social Network”-style or “Parent Trap”-style. It would be weird. Then I wouldn’t edit it because then I wouldn’t want to look at myself. So then I’d just blindly have it assembled.

Now knowing that you saw yourself in both of those characters, it’s hard not to look at the scene where Lance pleasures himself with Alvin right there and read something into that. What should I read into that, now that I know both of those people are you?

There’s gotta be a great interpretation in there somewhere. I don’t really get aroused by myself that much. But I do get off-put by myself. I cockblock myself. That’s what happens there, right? He rolls over and disturbs the masturbation process. So he gives up. He doesn’t even blow his load. He just gives up on it.

So that’s a vision of you cockblocking yourself?

Yeah, I just cockblocked myself. I’ve done that a number of times--just decided it was a bad idea, surrender.

It probably doesn’t play out the same way in reality.

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