Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne on Switching Up Their ‘Neighbors’ Dynamic in New ‘Platonic’ Series: “We Were a Lot Meaner to One Another”

After playing a married couple in 2014’s Neighbors and 2016’s Neighbors 2, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have once again reunited for Apple TV+ series Platonic — but this time, as friends.

The two star as platonic best friends who reconnect after a long period as they both teeter on mid-life crises, with the friendship becoming consuming and destabilizing their lives.

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“It’s a weird blindspot where of course people are friends with men and women but why isn’t it ever celebrated or talked about, and is there a hangover of this sort of antiquated idea that you can or can’t be friends?” Byrne told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday of the lack of stories exploring non-romantic relationships between men and women. “I do think it’s generational. I think for the younger generation it’s a totally antiquated idea but I think someone of my generation or older, it’s still around, so it was a fun thing to make fun of and really present and be like, ‘Oh, what are the limitations and the risks?’ And in the show, at the end, is not actually about our gender; it’s just about the friendship itself — which is destructive.”

Rogen agreed that the subject matter had been under-explored, pointing to the fact that “old tropes die hard as well and I think because it hasn’t been done a lot, it hasn’t been done a lot. But for me, I’m friends with a lot of women and my wife is friends with a lot of men and once you take a step back it’s like, ‘Oh yes of course, this is not that weird of a thing to explore.'”

Rogen’s character is fresh off a divorce in the show and sports a very unique wardrobe, as the star joked, pointing to his own red carpet outfit, “My guy is really clinging to youth I think, unlike the real me.”

“It’s like a guy who in his head he’s like crushing it and to anyone else it’s a very tragic, sad thing he’s going through,” he continued. “I know a lot of people like that where if you were to ask them, like ‘Prime of my life, never looked better, never felt better, never dressed better.’ And you’re like ‘Oh no, this is very sad.’ I’ve always been a fan of Sydney Pollack’s storyline in Husbands and Wives and to me this was a weird modern version of that.”

After previously playing husband and wife, both stars said they enjoyed making the pivot to just friends, with Rogen joking, “We were a lot meaner to one another in this. You’re a lot less considerate of the other person when you’re not married to them. It was fun because we kind of got to do stuff we knew we’d be good at or hope we’d be good at but with new parameters.”

Added Byrne, “It was interesting, a few weeks in we were like, ‘Oh that’s right, we’re not married! We’re not going to be as nice to one another, we’re not going to be as affectionate, we’re going to be mean.’ So once we adjusted to that I was like this is an opportunity for a different kind of comedy. But it lives and lies on the chemistry of these two — if the audience doesn’t believe it, if they don’t root for them, if they’re not going along with the ride of this buddy comedy, essentially, it’s not going to work.”

Referencing a joke Rogen’s character makes in the show talking about Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park as a prime example of platonic friendship, Byrne continued, “I love people reuniting on screen, whether it’s Brad Pitt and George Clooney or it is Laura Dern and Sam Neill. I think there is an excitement for the audience when you see those people reunite, so I hope people have that for the show.”

Rogen and Byrne — who are both executive producers on the series as well as stars — also used the carpet to express their support for the writers strike, with Rogen, who is a WGA member, noting, “it’s horrific, the prospect of AI writing films and the lack of transparency and information and understanding as to how much our projects are profiting these corporations and how little compensation the writers of these projects are getting in comparison. I’m very supportive of all labor unions striking for their rights.”

Platonic starts streaming on Apple TV+ on May 24.

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