In the opinion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem producer Seth Rogen, critics could stand to be a little more kind when reviewing any given piece of entertainment.
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The Canadian-born Hollywood star offered his thoughts on the current state of media reviews during a recent appearance on the 227th episode  of British entrepreneur Steven Bartlett’s interview-based podcast, The Diary of a CEO.
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Asked by the most recent investor to join the cast of the reality show Dragon’s Den – the original UK version of what Americans know as Shark Tank – if he ever suffered from self-doubt regarding his work, Rogen asserted, “In general, from my experience, I would say that applies to creative people, self-doubt.”
“For me, it comes in waves, y’know?” he recalled to his host. “You make a thing every one likes, it gets a little better. You make a thing everyone hates, it gets a little worse.”
“And that’s a part of doing what I do,” the Invincible voice actor continued. “It’s funny, I was saying to someone I work with the other day, I’m at the point in my career where not a lot of people are in a position to yell at me in my job, but the New York Times will publish an entire article saying I suck at my job.”
“And so like, that’s the trade-off,” Rogen noted. “I’ve worked my way up to not having to deal with that much personal conflict and face-to-face conflict, but I will have a cultural institution tell everyone that I suck. That will add self-doubt, things like that. For me, it’s something that’s present, but I try not to let it stop me from doing the things that I think are interesting and the things that I would enjoy watching.”
Pressed further by Bartlett as to whether or not such criticisms have ever hurt him specifically, Rogen exclaimed, “Oh yeah, it hurts everyone!”
“Yes,” he reiterated in terms of himself. “Very much so. I think if most critics knew how much it hurt the people that made the things that they are writing about, they would second-guess the way they write these things.”
“It’s devastating,” he added. “I know people who never recover from it, honestly, years, decades of being hurt. It’s very personal. It is devastating when you are being institutionally told that your personal expression was bad.”
“That is like, devastating, and something that people carry with them, literally, their entire lives,” said Rogen. “And I get why – It f–king sucks.”
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In light of their broaching the topic of bad reviews, Bartlett then turned to inquire with Rogen as to how he specifically dealt with the fallout when his projects flopped.
To this end, he specifically asked for the actor’s thoughts regarding the reaction to 2011’s widely-panned Green Hornet film, which both starred and was written by Rogen.
“The reviews were coming out and it was pretty bad, and people just kind of like, hated it,” he recalled.
“It seemed like a thing that people were taking joy in just disliking a lot, you know what I mean?” elaborated Rogen. “But it opened to like $35 million, which was I think at the time was the biggest opening weekend I had ever been associated with in any capacity! So, it did pretty well!
He then noted, “That’s what’s nice sometimes. You can grasp for some sense of success at times.”
“I honestly think things like The Interview were more painful, as far as people taking joy in talking shit about it and really kinda questioning the types of people who would want to make a movie like that in general,” the actor opined. “That felt far more personal. “
“I think Green Hornet felt like I had just fallen victim to – which is true – a big fancy thing, the superhero film,” he admitted. We were also ahead of the curve a little bit too much to some degree. We were early on that wave, and so, I think that was easier to deal with in a lot of ways because it was not so much a creative failure on our parts, but more like a conceptual failure. “
However, rather than holding on to these criticisms and allowing them to mutate into grudges or outright anger, Rogen ultimately affirmed that his solution to dealing with the negativity is to just keep on keeping on.
“I think The Interview people more treated us like we had creatively failed, which sucked much worse,” said the actor. “And that’s happened a few times – and again, I’m not gonna act like it’s that bad. On the grand scale of things, in life, it’s not that bad.”
“And I’ve gotten much better at dealing with it as well,” he concluded. “I think when I was younger, I really like did not have as much perspective as I do, and now, I do not carry it with me as much as I used to.”
Audiences will get to see just how well Rogen practices what he preaches regarding his criticism-accepting-inner-calm when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem begins rolling into theaters on August 4th, 2023.
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