The actor recalls an even more awkward moment he says Cruise could use as “blackmail” on him, and the one thing he believes kept him from converting right then and there.
Seth Rogen recalls a close encounter with Scientology back in 2006 when he met up with Tom Cruise. But that wasn’t even the most awkward part of that whole experience, as he explained on “The Howard Stern Show” on Monday.
Like many people, Seth was a little intimidated to meet a movie star of Tom’s caliber when a meeting was set back in 2006. As such, he made an impulsive decision on his way there that he may yet come to regret — but actually just makes for a pretty funny story.
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It’s one of several stories Seth is poised to share in his upcoming “Yearbook” collection of essays, scheduled for release today. It’s also indicative of how the new book will likely be insightful, open and hilariously uncomfortable all at the same time.
It’s also pretty relatable, as we can all probably relate to having to pee before a pretty big meeting, and trying to figure out what to do about it. We probably can’t all relate to Seth’s solution on his way to meet Tom.
“He had this really long snaking driveway leading to his house,” Seth told Howard. “I stopped halfway up the driveway, kind of in the woods, above Sunset Blvd., and I peed in a Snapple bottle in my car. And then I sealed the bottle and left it there.”
That might have been the end of the story, except that Seth (now relieved after the meeting — in two different ways), happened to notice something on his way back down Tom’s driveway.
“I noticed a red light in the woods,” he said. “There was a security camera literally pointed exactly at where I was peeing.” He speculated that if he wanted to, Tom could probably still use that footage (if he has it) to try and blackmail Seth.
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The other point of relief mentioned above was after Scientology came up during the meeting, which also included director Judd Apatow.
“I’ll never forget the wording [Tom] used,” Seth said. “‘It’s like with Scientology,’ he said, ‘If you let me just tell you what it was really about… just give me like 20 minutes to, like, really just tell you what it was about, you would say, ‘No f-king way. No f-king way.'”
“The wording, I was like, ‘Is that a good thing to be saying?'” Seth mused. At the same time, even now he has to admit that things might have turned out differently had Judd not been there in that moment, surreal as it was.
“I’m generally a weak-willed, weak-minded person,” he said. “I would assume on the grand scale of people, if they got [Tom], what chance do I have?'”
Luckily for Seth, as he puts it, Judd was there and had a stronger will to divert the conversation. “Judd was like, ‘Eh, I think we’re good. Let’s just talk about movies and stuff,'” Seth said, adding, “Oof, dodged that bullet.”
“If I was there alone, I would be singing a very different tune right now,” he speculated.
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Elsewhere, in an interview with The Sunday Times over the weekend, Seth was asked about his longtime friendship with James Franco, and whether his stance on working with him has changed.
After James was accused by several women of sexual misconduct in 2018, Seth notably said that he would still work with him, but it would appear the intervening years have changed his stance. James has called the accusations “false,” and subsequently settled with two of the women.
Seth and James have worked together many times throughout their careers, including several times with Judd as director, dating all the way back to their big break on the short-lived NBC series “Freaks and Geeks.”
Now, though, it would appear that things have changed between them. “I … look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,” Seth told the Times. TooFab has reached out to Franco’s reps for comment.
Rogen was called out by actress Charlyne Yi as an “enabler” after she said she tried to quit “The Disaster Artist” over the accusations against James. Rogen was a producer on the film. She said she was instead offered a larger role in the film, which was “was the exact opposite of what I wanted.”
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When asked if he believes Yi’s story, Seth evaded answering directly, instead saying, “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”
He then referenced a 2014 joke he’d made on “SNL,” making light of then accusations brought against James about propositioning an underage girl (he subsequently apologized). James even participated in the joke, where Seth said he’d been pretending to be a 17-year-old girl setting up a meet — James joked he’d been waiting for her for three days.
“I very much regret making that joke,” Seth said. “It was a terrible joke, honestly.” The whole situation has impacted more than their working relationship, as well.
When asked about the current state of their friendship, Seth said, “I don’t know if I can define that right now during this interview. I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”
He went on to say that it’s painful, “but not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation.”