Seth Rogen and James Franco may find that the popular old catch phrase, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," no longer applies to them. For the duo, it's likely now: "When life gives you 'Pineapple Express,' light it, take it in, hold your breath and make the most hotly anticipated comedy of the summer."
Riding high on the success of last year's comedy hits, "Knocked Up" and "Superbad," Rogen and his frequent partners in crime, writer Evan Goldberg and producer Judd Apatow, collaborated again on "Pineapple Express."
The film follows the intertwining tales of slacker Dale Denton, played by Rogen, and his pot dealer Saul, played by Franco, who are forced to work together after Dale witnesses a murder committed by the city's pot overlord, who leaves only a roach of the elusive Pineapple Express strain of marijuana as evidence.
Dale and Saul quickly realize that they aren't just paranoid, they're actually being pursued by everyone from Asian ninja drug gangs, to a crooked cop, played by Rosie Perez.
The two stars sat down with Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers to discuss their inspirations, influences, and the very real physical dangers of their newly-created genre on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" on ABC News Now.
"Seth plays a role that I think is fairly close to himself. Except for the fact that he's a process server," Franco said. "Just read 'process server' and read it as 'screenwriter,' and then that would be Seth's life."
Franco's character uses his entrepreneurial skills to support his grandmother, affectionately referred to as Bubby.
"He's a very lonely guy being a pot dealer. It's a lonely role in life," Rogen said. "I feel like pot dealers are kind of taking a hit for society. Everyone needs weed, but no one wants to be friends with the pot dealer."
"I think it's similar to a porn star," Franco said. To which Rogen quickly added, "Everybody likes watching porn, but nobody wants to be friends with the porn star. So, it's not really fair."
While writing the screenplay for the film, Rogen drew on firsthand experience for inspiration.
"Normally (when buying weed), you want to get in and out as fast as humanly possible, because you're doing something illegal, it's unpleasant, and I get nervous really easily," he said. "I've had guys that are kind of like his character, that want you to just hang out or clearly just lonely, so they kind of engineer reasons that you need to hang out with them and not just buy weed."
Franco and Rogen's onscreen chemistry is a direct result of years of friendship. The two first met on the set of Apatow and Paul Feig's television cult classic "Freaks and Geeks" in 1998, and share an almost brotherly rapport.
"Seth likes to tell the story about how the first time he met me was actually the moment he first thought about having sex with a man. I felt the same way, but he was underage," Franco said.
"It was pre-'To Catch a Predator,'" Rogen said. "We were way ahead of that curve also."
The role of Saul the drug dealer was originally written for Rogen. In table reads and rehearsals, it came about that the opposite would work out better.
"Judd and James actually both started having the thought that it could be more interesting if we switch roles," Rogen said. "James just wanted the Saul role because it's true that's the role he would never normally get to play."