The Out-Of-Left-Field Dark Comedy On Netflix That’s Bursting With Cameos

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

This Is the End

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson star in This Is the End, but the film’s starting lineup is only the beginning. The movie is packed with hilarious cameos, and since the film is now available to stream on Netflix, fans can relive them all.

The gimmick of This Is the End is that every celebrity in the movie plays a fictionalized version of themselves. Actors and other celebrities gather for a crazy Hollywood party at James Franco’s house. Michael Cera harasses Rihanna and gets slapped; Mindy Kaling thirsts over Michael Cera; Christopher Mintze-Plasse gets cocaine blown in his face – you know, normal Hollywood stuff.

This Is the End starts off with a Hollywood party filled with stars playing themselves, and it only gets stranger from there when the Rapture occurs.

That is until the apocalypse begins. It is a disaster of Biblical proportions as people around town are raptured into the sky, and an earthquake opens in James Franco’s yard to swallow Aziz Ansari and other celebrity guests.

This Is the End kicks into gear when its main cast is forced to take shelter in Franco’s house. They gather supplies, which are promptly wasted by Danny McBride, the secret house guest who slept through the apocalypse.

The celebrities conflict with each other while weathering an onslaught of demons and humans trying to infiltrate their shelter. In the quest for survival, they encounter a feral Emma Watson, a sex slave Channing Tatum, a cannibal tribe led by Danny McBride, and more.

This Is the End marks the directorial debuts of Seth Rogen and his frequent collaborator, Evan Goldberg. The pair wrote the screenplay based on their 2007 short film Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse.

James Franco, Emma Watson, and Seth Rogen in This Is the End

Celebrities playing themselves in the context of an extraordinary event was the core concept the filmmakers were intrigued by. An earlier version of the story followed Seth Rogen and Busta Rhymes fighting for survival when an army of creatures from the earth’s core invades the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City.

The set of This Is the End generated its own wild stories. Emma Watson reportedly left the set when some of the improvisations from other actors became so graphic that it made her uncomfortable. Seth Rogen has since acknowledged the blunder, apologizing and noting it as a valuable learning experience.

Despite the out-of-control production, This Is the End was a minor success at the box office, bringing in $126 million and earning $50 million in profit.

On a lighter note, Michael Cera and Seth Rogen have recently expounded on the famous moment in which Rihanna slaps Cera silly. The script for This Is the End had Michael Cera slapping Rihanna’s butt at the party. 

On the day, Cera asked the pop star if he could do the slap for real. She agreed, as long as she could return in kind. Rihanna retaliated with a hit so hard that Michael Cera had to go lie down. While promoting Barbie, Cera told Entertainment Weekly that he has no regrets, commenting that immortalizing the hilarious moment was well worth the pain.

Michael Cera in This Is the End

This Is the End was originally titled The Apocalypse but was going to be released as The End of the World. Simon Pegg called Seth Rogen asking if the title could be changed, as it was similar to Pegg’s upcoming collaboration with Edgar Wright, The World’s End.

To minimize confusion, Rogen obliged, and This Is the End was officially born. It hit theaters in 2013, grossing more than $126 million worldwide. After factoring in production, print, and advertising costs, This Is the End reportedly earned a $50 million profit.

Seth Rogen said a sequel is unlikely, but that if it did happen, they would call it No, THIS Is the End.

Critics and audiences both approved of the film’s crass cast and insane premise. This Is the End carries an impressive 83 percent Tomatometer and 71 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The financial and critical success of This Is the End was certainly enough to warrant a sequel. Goldberg has teased over the years that ideas for a follow up have been kicked around, including a version where the apocalypse takes place during the premiere of the first film. Seth Rogen said a sequel is unlikely, but that if it did happen, they would call it No, THIS Is the End.

The stars of This Is the End were big in 2013, but they are even bigger now. Goldberg expressed skepticism about the possibility of gathering the cast again with all of their busy and conflicting schedules. Seth Rogen and James Franco have also cooled their working relationship since allegations of inappropriate behavior were levied against Franco in 2018.

This Is the End unites the comic forces of a generation for a film unlike any other. This apocalyptic comedy may chronicle the end of the world, but streaming the film on Netflix means the party never ends.