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With his childhood friend, actor Seth Rogen, writer-producer-director Evan Goldberg was a key creative figure on some of the most uproarious comedies of the late 2000s, including Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up" (2007) and "Superbad" (2007), as well as "Pineapple Express" (2008), "Funny People" (2009) and the unexpectedly heart-felt "50/50" (2011). Goldberg and Rogen cut their teeth on Hollywood comedies as teenagers in their native Canada, and wrote the earliest draft of "Superbad" shortly before Rogen made his television debut on "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC 1999-2000). That series' creator, Judd Apatow, took the pair under his wing, providing them with their first feature hit on "Knocked Up" and shepherding "Superbad" to the screen, where it became a substantial hit. Goldberg and Rogen were soon key members of the so-called "frat pack," a loose constellation of actors and creative figures orbiting around Apatow, including James Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and Jay Baruchel, all of whom would appear in most of Goldberg and Rogen's subsequent efforts, including the hit "Pineapple Express" and the less well-received "Green Hornet" (2011). Though Goldberg and Rogen's humor frequently concerned young men in various states of arrested development - and inebriation - their work on "50/50," with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a twenty-something battling cancer, also showed a remarkably mature side. They would return to broader work with "The Guilt Trip" (2012) and their directorial debuts on "This is the End" (2013), both of which would extend their status as original and anarchic voices on the studio comedy scene.
Born in 1982 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Evan Goldberg was raised in the city's Marpole neighborhood and attended Point Grey Secondary School with his friend, aspiring comedian Seth Rogen. The pair had met several years prior in a bar mitzvah class and bonded over their mutual affection for comedy and movies. While still teenagers, Goldberg and Rogen began to sketch out a comedy script of their own, which would eventually become an early version of "Superbad." While working on the project, Rogen's nascent standup career had attracted the attention of writer-producer Judd Apatow, who cast him in the cult comedy series "Freaks and Geeks." Apatow also helped Rogen and Goldberg streamline their "Superbad" script and helped them find additional work as writers on the American version of "Da Ali G Show" (HBO, 2003-2004), which netted them 2005 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. In 2007, Goldberg served as executive producer on the theatrical feature "Knocked Up," which transformed the careers of not only writer-director Apatow but also Rogen, who was quickly elevated from small screen sidekick to leading man. The worldwide success of that film allowed Apatow the clout to help Goldberg and Rogen finally bring "Superbad" to the screen. The resulting film was a box office success that minted the duo as major new voices in comedy films.
Their first collaborative effort in the wake of "Superbad" and "Knocked Up" was "Pineapple Express" (2008), a broad action-comedy with Rogen and "Freaks" co-star James Franco as hapless potheads embroiled in criminal activity. Though another substantial hit, the film was not as well-received as its predecessor, a fate that also befell Apatow's "Funny People" (2009), a comedy-drama with Adam Sandler as a self-loathing comic star who bonds with an aspiring stand-up played by Rogen. Goldberg served as executive producer on the latter film, which received largely positive reviews, though failed to meet the box office returns of other Apatow efforts. The duo's second action-comedy hybrid, an update of the venerable radio and TV series "The Green Hornet" (2011) for director Michel Gondry, was only a modest hit that received some of the most scathing reviews in their collaborative history. That same year, Goldberg scored a hit in his native Canada as co-writer with actor Jay Baruchel on "Goon" (2011), a comedy with Seann William Scott as a tough hockey enforcer, which netted him a Genie nomination for Adapted Screenplay. He then reteamed with Rogen to write "50/50" (2011), a surprisingly dramatic and touching independent film based on the experiences of their mutual friend and co-writer Will Reiser, who suffered from spinal cancer at the age of 25. The film received two Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Feature.
However, the duo's return to studio comedy with "The Watch" (2012), an action-comedy with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn as neighborhood watch members who discover an alien invasion, was roundly panned by critics. Goldberg rebounded the following year as executive producer for "The Guilt Trip" (2012), which teamed Rogen with Barbra Streisand as a mother and son ironing out their complicated relationship on a cross-country business trip. In 2013, Rogen and Goldberg expanded "Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse," a 2007 short film they made after completing "Knocked Up." The project, which found Rogen and Baruchel questioning their friendship against the backdrop of a global disaster, was expanded into the feature "This is the End" (2013), which imagined Rogen, Baruchel and frequent collaborators James Franco and Jonah Hill as survivors of a supernatural apocalypse. In addition to writing and co-producing, Goldberg and Rogen served as co-directors on the film, which received largely positive reviews and a solid box office return.