Freaks and Geeks Cast Stories: James Franco’s Mouth Was Too Big, Seth Rogen Was Angry and Repressed
Freaks and Geeks only aired for 18 episodes in 1999, but it still lives on for fans. Plus, it was a major launchpad for stars Jason Segel, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, and producer/director Judd Apatow. The group talked about the show in a long oral history with Vanity Fair. Here are some highlights from the talk.
NO SEX FOR YOU! Creator Paul Feig: "My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. [...] I also really wanted the show to be about the fear of sex. I got tired of every teenager being portrayed as horny and completely cool with sex, because that was not my experience."
JAMES FRANCO: HOT OR NOT? Jake Kasdan: "The first impression [of James Franco] was 'This guy’s going to be an enormous movie star. We should grab him immediately.’”
Judd Apatow: “We didn’t think of him as handsome. We thought his mouth was too big for his face and he seemed perfect to be a small-town cool guy who wasn’t as cool as he thought he was. When all the women in our office started talking about how gorgeous he was, me and Feig started laughing because we just didn’t see it.”
SETH NEEDED TO GET SOME Seth Rogen: "At the time, I kind of had a chip on my shoulder, you know, because I hadn’t gotten any girls to sleep with me yet. I was incredibly angry and repressed, and I think they saw me as this kind of weird, sarcastic guy and started writing towards that. But then they got to know me and saw me as a nice guy, and that revealed itself as the show progressed."
JASON SEGEL CAPTURED THE DESPERATION Judd Apatow: "I loved writing for Jason. That’s what I felt like in high school. I felt goofy and ambitious and not sure if I had any talent, and I would be in love with these women and didn’t actually know if they liked me that much. I’d never know if I was being charming or a stalker. Jason really captured that desperation I felt when I was younger."
BUSY PHILIPPS WAS SCARY Seth Rogen: "Busy scared me at first. She’s just kind of intimidating. She’s a little loud and she’s kind of physical. She’ll punch you and smack you if she doesn’t like what you did, as an exclamation."