The Guilt Trip - Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand
Andrew Brewster (Seth Rogen) and Joyce Brewster (Barbra Streisand) ©2012 Paramount Pictures, photo by Sam Emerson

In an unexpected twist on the ‘buddy’ genre, Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen portray Joyce and Andy, mother and son, in the new dramedy, The Guilt Trip.

Andy Brewster is a struggling inventor attempting to sell his cleaning product to companies across America. When he asks his mother, Joyce, to accompany him on his cross-county journey, hoping that a surprise meeting at the end of their trip will change her life, he never realizes their excursion will transform both of them forever.

Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen spoke with journalists at the press day for the movie, proving that their off-screen rapport equals their on-screen relationship.

For both of you, what was it about this script that made you want to do The Guilt Trip?

The Guilt Trip - Barbra Streisand
Joyce Brewster (Barbra Streisand) ©2012 Paramount Pictures, photo by Sam Emerson

Barbra: My son Jason was very important in my decision to make the movie. He was recovering from back surgery, so he was in bed a few days after, and I brought the script over and we read it out loud.

His father (actor Elliot Gould) was in the room too, we were both coddling our son. So he became the audience.

Jason was reading all the parts, and he said, ‘I think you should do it, mom.’ And I really trust his integrity and his opinion, he has great taste. So he clinched the deal.

Seth: I like making movies about relationships, and as I read this, I realized I’d never really seen a buddy movie about a guy and his mother, and that’s what is so funny about it.

It was like Super Bad, or Pineapple Express, but instead of two dudes, it was Andy and Joyce, and that was such an interesting idea.

What was it like meeting each other for the first time?

Seth: When we met we got along very well and very fast.

Barbra: Instantly.

Who made who crack up the most?

The Guilt Trip - Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand
Andrew Brewster (Seth Rogen) and Joyce Brewster (Barbra Streisand) ©2012 Paramount Pictures, photo by Sam Emerson

Seth: She cracked me up quite a bit.

Barbra: Because it’s more unexpected from me, as I’m more serious.

Seth: The way we talk in real life is not entirely different than our rapport in the movie. It’s a lot of me trying to explain things to her about modern times, and her trying to feed me sh-t I don’t want to eat.

Barbra: And yet, I was the one with the iPhone.

Seth: She had an iPhone before me. I had a Blackberry, and she was always playing games on her iPhone. I thought, ‘If Barbra can work an iPhone, it’s got to be fun.’

Seth, how crazy does your own mother drive you?

Seth: My mom drives me crazy sometimes. I have a good relationship with her. I see my parents  a lot. It’s a lot like in the in movie, for no reason I’ll get annoyed and find myself reverting back to the mentality of a 14-year-old kid who just doesn’t want to be around his parents.

One of the things I related to most in the script was that dynamic, where your mother’s trying and the more she tries the more it bugs you, and the more it bugs you the more she tries. All that at times is real to my relationship with my mother.

How did you approach playing Andy?

The Guilt Trip - Seth Rogen
Andrew Brewster (Seth Rogen) ©2012 Paramount Pictures, photo by Sam Emerson

Seth: [The audience is] thrown into the movie with him, so I thought I should just try to be as real and natural as possible. He’s not a particularly funny guy, he’s not even in a particularly good mood for the majority of the movie.

I’d do takes where I was more harsh with Barbra and takes where I was less harsh, and I did takes where I was more annoyed and less annoyed.

Barbra: When we started to show the movie, if [the audience] found him a little mean to me, Anne (Fletcher, the director) had many takes [to work with].

I love it because it’s a transformative kind of movie. They start at one point, both of them tragically alone, not finding a mate. And then at the end there are many more possibilities, the horizons open. It’s a different kind of love story.

Seth: Which to me sounds gross.

Barbra: See where your mind goes! His mind goes to the sexual.

The movie has a great balance of comedy and drama in it. What was the hardest for you, the dramatic moments or the comedy?

Barbra: They are both the same. What reaches an audience is the truth, so if you’re saying something truthful that’s a funny line, it’s going to be funny, if it’s a serious line, it’s going to be serious. I don’t think there’s a distinction between how you play drama or comedy.

What would you like the audience to take away from The Guilt Trip?

Barbra: I want them to be moved, I want them to identify, I want them to see themselves in the movie. I want them to get closer to their children. I think it would be good if sons and mothers go to see The Guilt Trip together, you know? And maybe they will feel closer at the end.

During the press conference, the new movie Les Miserables came up, and Barbra was quick to tell everyone how she really was the first to sing live on film – click below to listen!

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.