Charlize Theron was nervous to make a romantic comedy.
While she is a proven force to be reckoned with in drama, having bagged an Oscar for Monster, and a charming presence in comedies such as A Million Ways To Die In The West and even TV series Arrested Development, she was unsure about adding an emotional element into the mix.
“I just wanted to make sure that we would have two characters that felt modern and that we would focus on a relationship that felt real,” she says as she leans forward in her chair in a London hotel room.
“I struggle with that sometimes in romantic comedies. I feel like I’m the only loser who has never experienced the third act of most romantic comedies and it just makes me feel very bitter.
“So I just wanted to feel like I could bring something to the table and I think it’s hard for me to do that kind of fantasy love stuff.”
Seth Rogen is more blunt about his own concerns.
“They are usually bad, that was my fear.”
But luckily their new film together is a different kind of romantic comedy.
In Long Shot, Theron, 43, plays Charlotte Field, a US secretary of state forced to kowtow to an egomaniacal president who got elected after playing the commander in chief on a TV show.
Rogen, 37, plays Fred Flarsky, the idealistic journalist she hires to work on her speeches when she decides to run for the top job.
The American political arena might not seem like a rich environment for laughs at the moment but Rogen was convinced this was not the case.
“If anything, as people who make comedy it was a really great opportunity to be able to make a very current, timely film,” he says.
“I think we are the first people to even attempt to make a comedy that is remotely reflective of the times that we live in, at least as a movie.
“It was mostly just a fun backdrop that gave us a lot of chances to make jokes that we thought the audience would really appreciate and enjoy and it gave us a good way to show off the characters and to create situations where their chemistry could work well.”
The film includes playful parodies of familiar figures, such as a billionaire media mogul, Fox News hosts, and even a handsome Canadian prime minister, and the double standards imposed on women in the public eye and the work they are obliged to put in to seem composed and calm at all times.
“We always looked at it as, ‘Is this a fact?’” Theron says.
“Which party you belong to doesn’t really matter — it’s just factual, this is really happening.
“It is a cold, hard fact that women, not just in politics, but in a lot of workplaces, they have to endure way more scrutiny than their male counterparts.
“So it would have been impossible to tell this story and not address that and it was nice to be able to touch upon things that I think people are really responding to.”
Rogen, who has been married to actress, writer and director Lauren Miller since 2011, nods in agreement.
“Yeah, and he doesn’t get it,” Rogen says. “I’ve had those conversations in real life.
"I’ve been married a long time to a woman who is also in the entertainment industry and I’ve seen first hand the insane double standards that exist but I still need constant explanation all the time.
“And I welcome it and I’m more than happy to have the women in my life explain to me how I don’t understand anything.”
Long Shot is in cinemas tomorrow