The comedy, written by Seth Rich and based on his 2013 short story Sell Out, was originally planned for a theatrical release by Sony Pictures. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was claimed by WarnerMedia and rerouted for streaming. It joins the likes of The Lovebirds, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, and My Spy, starring Dave Bautista. Those will be going to Netflix and Amazon, respectively, after initially being scheduled for theaters.
An American Pickle is directed by Brandon Trost and produced through Rogen and long-standing business partner Evan Goldberg’s production company, Point Grey Pictures. It has a high-concept plot with Rogen playing dual roles. He stars as Herschel Greenbaum, an immigrant factory worker in 1920s New York. He ends up inside a pickle vat and becomes preserved. Waking up unaged in contemporary Brooklyn, Greenbaum looks for his family. However, his one existing relative is his great-grandson, Ben Greenbaum, who Rogen also plays. The differences between the preserved immigrant worker and the computer coder are painfully clear.
View this post on Instagram
I’m thrilled that my next film “An American Pickle” is coming to HBO Max this summer. I play an immigrant in 1920’s New York who falls in a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. When I wake up, I seek out my only family, my great grandson, an app developer named Ben, who I also play in the film. That old story… Can’t wait for you to see it. Also this is an actual Tin Type photo.
Produced by Rogen, Goldberg, and James Weaver, with executive producer credits for Rich and Alex McAtee and Ted Gidlow of Point Grey, An American Pickle will be the inaugural film shown on HBO Max via the Warner Max film banner. It was announced as part of the second wave of original programming for the service. Others in this wave include children’s series Karma, premiering June 18, and Amy Schumer’s docuseries Expecting Amy, premiering July 9, Deadline reported. Santa Inc., an adult animated series starring Rogen and Sarah Silverman, was also previously announced.
Warner Max, which was unveiled in February, looks to provide HBO Max viewers with between eight and 10 mid-budget features each year. So far, no other feature films for the service, launching May 27, have been announced.
HBO Max subscribers will have access to many classic films in the Warner library, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gone with the Wind, and Singin’ in the Rain, Collider reported. With no trailer released yet, it’s unclear how similar An American Pickle will be to other Rogen-Goldberg comedies, such as Superbad, This Is the End, and The Interview.
Last year, Rogen portrayed warthog Pumbaa in Disney’s blockbuster remake of The Lion King. He also starred in romantic comedy Long Shot with Charlize Theron and had a headlining role in Zeroville, directed by and starring frequent collaborator James Franco. He’s also executive-produced the Don Cheadle-starring Showtime comedy Black Monday, with Goldberg and Weaver.