It may have been nine years since Judd Apatow's breakout hit Knocked Up — which established him as a major comic director and created starring roles for both Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen — but the rumors of hatred between the two stars are somehow still going on.
However, now comments made by Seth Rogen on Andy Cohen’s show, Watch What Happens Live, yesterday seem to suggest that the whole thing was merely a communication breakdown. He explained:
“No I was never mad. I was never that mad honestly. I assumed she didn’t want to work with us anymore honestly. Because she seemed to not like the result of the work we did together. . . . She did not seem entirely pleased afterwards. I think that was the root of everything. Honestly it was so long ago and I’ve damaged my brain so badly in the few last years I have a hard time recalling what it’s about or who was supposed to be mad at who? I have no bad feelings towards her at all. Honestly.”
These comments were in response to an incident Heigl recalls, on The Howard Stern show, earlier this year:
"Probably six years ago, seven years ago. I walked up like, ‘Hey guys!’ It was him and Evan [Goldberg] like, ‘How are y’all?’ They were very like, ‘Uhh…’ and I was like, ‘Oh, you are really mad.’ I didn’t realize it was that bad!"
So he thought she hated him, and she thought he was mad at her. Turns out they both misinterpreted the other!
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How Did It Start?
In 2007, Heigl was dominating the pop culture landscape with both her breakout role in Knocked Up and her controversial fourth season plot-line on Grey's Anatomy. This earned her a piece in Vanity Fair where she addressed the film, famously calling it "a little sexist". The Emmy Award-Winning actress went on to say:
"It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women?"
Despite going on to say that "ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience", her comments went on to provoke a fierce debate about sexism in modern romantic comedies, especially in comparison to the more feminist Juno, released in the same year. Rogen responded in 2009 with a swipe at The Ugly Truth:
"I hear there's a scene where she's wearing underwear with a vibrator in it, so I'd have to see if that is uplifting for women."
Is The Media To Blame For The Beef?
The media love a little controversy, fanning the smallest of flames into all-consuming wildfires. Whilst her comments seemed to be rather incendiary and unprofessional in regards to promoting a studio film, they weren't entirely wrong, even if the film also makes fun of ingrained, lazy, masculine attitudes. Yet once a remark like that is out there in the public sphere it will create a tension between actors as they are constantly asked to make a comment regarding it.
With relentless interview marathons causing exhaustion for both actors, they have both said things that a) they probably didn't mean and b) they now regret. Now with Heigl and Rogen admitting that they misread the other's feelings, it seems that this beef, whilst not entirely manufactured by the press, has certainly been given more weight than it probably needed. Maybe now it will be put to rest.
Was All This Drama An Unnecessary Shame?
Knocked Up was the fourteenth biggest film of 2007, and remains one the most critically acclaimed movies for both actors. The two actors were so good in fact, there was a sense that they could be the next romantic pairing to rival Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, or Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Rogen certainly thought so, recalling on Howard Stern on Monday:
"As I was watching it, I was like, 'Fuck, we're so funny together, me and Katherine. And as we were making the movie, honestly, I was like, ‘I would make a dozen movies with her. I would be whatever the shitty version of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is"
Check out the full segment of the Howard Stern interview below:
Heigl has gone on to star in a bunch of movies that haven't reached anywhere near the acclaim of Knocked Up, with only Jackie & Ryan garnering a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, suggesting that maybe she and Rogen should have a little talk sometime to clear this all up and start working on Knocked Up 2. Let's just hope they do it in person, and not on The Howard Stern show.
Do you think the whole thing was blown out of proportion?