He’s a stoner, doesn’t worship the gym, and perhaps the funniest comedic writer in the world. And he’s on the cover of legacy men’s fashion magazine GQ.
The paradigm has shifted.
For people whose casual impression of him begins and ends with the gallery of quasi-employed, stoned men-children he played in his 20s, it might be hard to fully comprehend that Rogen, now 37, is a legitimate Hollywood operator and entrepreneur in his own right, with a career that extends well beyond acting and writing. Over a single week this past spring, for example, he announced a multi-platform deal between Point Grey—his production company with creative partner Evan Goldberg—and Lionsgate, and launched a weed brand emphasizing consumer education, Houseplant, in his native Canada. In addition to developing, writing, and acting in his own film projects, Rogen produces television (Preacher, Future Man, Black Monday, The Boys), does voice work (Sausage Party,the upcoming Lion King), and with his wife, Lauren Miller-Rogen, created Hilarity for Charity, a series of comedy shows that’s raised millions for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. He’s also writing a book of essays, due out in 2020. That lingering low-achieving persona of his old characters, though, might be a blessing, since it has provided a cover against public scrutiny and raised expectations for Rogen, the human, who arrived in Hollywood as a teenager and hasn’t stopped working since.
The man, like the myth, may be a burner, but he’s also a machine.
“I really always worked hard, because I recognized from a pretty young age it was one of the only things I could control,” Rogen said. “I remember I did karate as a kid, at the Jewish Community Center, and when I started I was the worst in the class, I was the worst of 25 Jewish kids who were afraid of getting picked on. And then just because everyone else quit, three years later I was at the top of the class, and there were 25 Jewish kids who were worse than me. And that was always tangible: Just by not stopping I became the best one. It wasn’t this, like, ferocious leap. I just kept going, and slowly [other] people stopped. Because a lot of people will stop.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SEBASTIAN MADER. Copyright GQ magazine 2019.