“Seth Rogen is so focused and he works so hard,” says “Sausage Party” director Conrad Vernon as we chat via webcam (watch above) about Rogen’s raunchy animated film that’s actually chock-full of depth and humanity. “He’s got five things going when he’s working on his current thing. I look and I go, ‘Man, you’re on top of the world. Go sit on the island of Tahiti for a while!'”
Vernon recalls his first meeting with Rogen, who pitched the film as “an R-rated animated feature that’s about a bunch of hot dogs that escape their packagings to go have sex with buns.” He continues, “The pitch was hilarious, quick, and I’ve been wanting to do something like this since I was 13 years old. This could actually be a very funny movie, [but] it was just really simple jokes about food. We realized quickly that we couldn’t fill 80 minutes with that, so that’s when we started fleshing out the world a little bit more.”
Besides the all-star cast that includes Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Edward Norton and Salma Hayek, there was also an Oscar legend behind the scenes working on the music and songs: Alan Menken. Vernon says that eight-time Oscar winner Menken and his lyricist Glenn Slater agreed to do the project for little or no money, simply because they loved the pitch. “Wait a minute, you guys are gonna do this for the little money that we have?” Vernon remembers asking them. “And they said, ‘Sure, sounds like fun!'”
Vernon co-directed the film with former collaborator Greg Tiernan. “I immediately thought of him for this movie because I know his sense of humor,” he explains. “I know this is perfectly up his alley. Not only was I friends with him for 20 years, but I knew he wouldn’t hold back and I knew that this was something he would get.”
If the film were to get in at the Oscars for Best Animated Feature, Vernon admits, “It would mean a hell of a lot for us to get a nom. We weren’t just doing this to titillate people or to say, look at these cartoon characters, they’re cursing and they’re having sex, isn’t it funny? There’s a much, much bigger thing that we were trying to do and in my mind, something for the industry overall.” Check out our full interview above for more about Vernon’s work directing “Sausage Party.”
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