50/50: A New Seth Rogen Comedy about Cancer?

The great thing about being an actor with many big movies under your belt is that you get to work on projects that mean something to you in a personal way—perhaps even based on your life.

Years ago, Seth Rogen had the experience of a close friend, Will Reiser, diagnosed with cancer. The new film that stars Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt entitled “50/50” is a story about how friends talk about and cope with these difficult times. Seth Rogen talks with The Huffington Post about writing the movie and all the good stuff that came out of it—mainly engaging the conversation with his friend about how they were able to talk through everything and the emotions that one goes through in the process.

“We were at a party one night and we were just talking about it,” Reiser remembers, following Rogen’s recollection. “Sort of the way we dealt with it is we would kind of make jokes and try to find the humor in the situation; we were not good at talking about it at an emotional level, we didn’t sit down and have these really emotional conversations… at that age we were not equipped to deal with it that way.”

While it was modern medicine that cured Reiser of his body’s cancer, it was the process of writing the screenplay with his friend that healed the hidden wounds that the disease had left in the psyche of everyone involved.

Anyone who lives through a horrible disease like cancer or is close to someone who has done so is in the unique position to be able to share a story that could help others get through hard times. It’s easy to say, “You’ll never know how it feels” but through books, film, or other media, we might at least get a hint of the nuances involved with the process of coping.

Just because the movie deals with cancer doesn’t mean it has to be a downer. On the contrary, it is likely to be very funny as one might expect from a Seth Rogen movie. The authenticity and poignancy of the story will be byproducts of the subject matter as well, they hope.

“I think that people are really afraid to talk about illness, people are just afraid of illness in general and I think when you feel sick, you feel marginalized. You feel like you’re supposed to put on this happy face and not really talk about what you’re going through,” Reiser says. “What I think is really the most gratifying about this entire thing is the fact that it connects with people and it’s starting a larger conversation. How could you ask for more?”

Reiser is right, if there is one thing that this movie will achieve, it is that it will get people talking and, who knows, help people see the humor of it all.

“50/50” comes to theaters September 30th.

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